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The person is hungry, is tired, is exhausted and there is some truth to that.There is some changes that happen to us internally that make us cheat more or less.But, for the companies this is really bad, the companies can go bankrupt.
So, there's lots of examples like this when individuals are misbehaving dishonestly in the short-term and not thinking about the long-term and companies are not sufficiently successful in regulating this behavior.
In terms of being honest and it backfiring, it depends on what you mean by “backfiring”.
And actually, one of our findings is that people's standards for morality are dramatically influenced by the behavior of people around them and I think that if you have a situation where bankers are friends with bankers and politicians are friends with politicians and they see people in their social circle misbehaving in a dishonest way there is basically a temptation to match that behavior and find a similar behavior, find it socially acceptable, follow up on it and continue behaving this way.
And of course, the really sad thing about it is that those things have a propensity for a slippery slope and escalation, which I think is exactly what we've seen over the past few years and sadly I have not seen any serious attempt to stop this escalation and even to reset it, but we have to because we are getting into a worse and worse situation over time.
In particular, one of the things we find is being mentally exhausted gets people to cheat more, and here is the finding: There is something called depletion.
Depletion is the idea that when we exercise self control, when we try to resist temptation, we try to resist a cake and a cookie and Facebook and Youtube and saying something nasty to someone and so on.
So, of course, if you work in a bank and your bank people are perfectly honest, and then you have other banks where people try all the funny procedures and they don't have Chinese walls and they sell stocks that are not good to their clients to take them off of their hands and so on.
All of a sudden if you're honest, you would do well by your clients, but you would be less wealthy.
Why do students cheat on tests when it will effect them later on in their lives?
So first of all, I think that students for sure, but most people in general, don't think much about what will happen later in lives, we have this general problem of thinking about short-term and not thinking about long-term and this is everywhere, right, it's about why we over-eat and under-exercise, and under-save and text and drive, don't take our medication on time and have unprotected sex, all of those behaviors are due to the fact that we don't think about long-term.