Why people cheat: The psychology of dishonesty

Lois M. Collins of the Deseret News recently published this article exploring why people cheat. It is interesting to think about the reasons behind people's poor behavior and will give you some insight into how to deal with someone who maybe fluffs one too many lies or takes some generous gimmies. Below is an exept from the srticle. Read the whole story here https://bit.ly/whypeoplecheat

"Aurora University explored the psychology of cheating. “Research about the role of moral identity and regret in cheating in sports has provided evidence that anticipated regret, counterfactual regret and moral identity are all significant factors in decisions about cheating. Researchers found that moral identity was associated with attitudes towards cheating through the mechanism of anticipated regret.”

Daidone said cheating is not itself a mental illness, but can indicate a personality disorder, especially if the person is unapologetic and doesn’t feel remorseful. “Those with narcissistic or antisocial personality disorders may be more likely to cheat without feeling guilt or shame.”

He said countering cheating “requires a supportive environment that promotes healthy competition and an open dialogue to identify the underlying causes so they can be addressed.” Some people benefit from working with a mental health professional to address underlying causes. And those who feel inadequate or insecure can benefit from resources and tools to help cope and build self-confidence, he adds.

Tucker refers to a study on cheating in sports published in the Baltic Journal of Sport and Health Sciences in which Lithuanian researchers concluded that moral identity is an important factor in whether people cheat or dope. Athletes with high moral values were less likely to, while goal-oriented athletes, who focused on winning rather than playing the sport, were more likely to be dishonest.

That same study found Machiavellianism, narcissism and psychopathy  — what researchers called the “dark triad” — increased cheating.

The study said that when parents and coaches create “an ego-oriented climate”, cheating increases. Social environment and an athlete’s personality both play a role.

Michelle English, a licensed clinical social worker who cofounded Healthy Life Recovery in San Diego, California, says highly competitive environments can put identity on display, so pressure to win spawns cheating. “Those who compete with an ego-oriented attitude toward success are more likely to engage in unethical behavior,” she said. Monitoring that is challenging “as it can bring both material and psychological rewards“ to participants.

Michelle Giordano is a sociologist, psychologist, counselor and outreach specialist for Live Another Day, connecting people to substance abuse, mental health and related resources. She emphasizes that “not all forms of cheating are equal and the reasons behind cheating can vary depending on context and situation.”

Read the full article here.

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