Dishonest Deed, Clear Conscience: When Cheating Leads to Moral Disengagement and Motivated Forgetting
Lisa L. Shu1, Francesca Gino1, and Max H. Bazerman1 Abstract
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 37(3) 330–349 © 2011 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc
Reprints and permission: sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav DOI: 10.1177/0146167211398138 http://pspb.sagepub.com
People routinely engage in dishonest acts without feeling guilty about their behavior. When and why does this occur? Across four studies, people justified their dishonest deeds through moral disengagement and exhibited motivated forgetting of information that might otherwise limit their dishonesty. Using hypothetical scenarios (Studies 1 and 2) and real tasks involving the opportunity to cheat (Studies 3 and 4), the authors find that one’s own dishonest behavior increased moral disengagement and motivated forgetting of moral rules. Such changes did not occur in the case of honest behavior or consideration of the dishonest behavior of others. In addition, increasing moral saliency by having participants read or sign an honor code significantly reduced unethical behavior and prevented subsequent moral disengagement. Although dishonest behavior motivated moral leniency and led to forgetting of moral rules, honest behavior motivated moral stringency and diligent recollection of moral rules.
Will reminding jurors of their oath just before they retire for deliberation make them less susceptible to consciously or unconsciously relying on extra legal matters or bias? In other words, will reminding jurors of their oath make them more likely to decide the case solely on the evidence as the instructions require? Here is the cite for the article: