Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Morality and Social Science: Time, Money, Ethics

Time, Money, and Morality 
Francesca Gino & Cassie Mogilner 
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract: Money, a resource that absorbs much daily attention, seems to be involved in much unethical behavior, which suggests that money itself may corrupt. This research examined a way to offset such potentially deleterious effects - by focusing on time, a resource that tends to receive less attention than money but is equally ubiquitous in daily life. Across four experiments, we examined whether shifting focus onto time can salvage individuals' ethicality. We found that implicitly activating the construct of time, rather than money, leads individuals to behave more ethically by cheating less. We further found that priming time reduces cheating by making people reflect on who they are. Implications for the use of time primes in discouraging dishonesty are discussed.

Money, Moral Transgressions, and Blame 
Wenwen Xie et al. 
Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract: Two experiments tested participants' attributions for others' immoral behaviors when conducted for more versus less money. We hypothesized and found that observers would blame wrongdoers more when seeing a transgression enacted for little rather than a lot of money, and that this would be evident in observers' hand-washing behavior. Experiment 1 used a cognitive dissonance paradigm. Participants (N = 160) observed a confederate lie in exchange for either a relatively large or small monetary payment. Participants blamed the liar more in the small (versus large) money condition. Participants (N = 184) in Experiment 2 saw images of someone knocking over another to obtain a small, medium, or large monetary sum. In the small (versus large) money condition, participants blamed the perpetrator (money) more. Hence, participants assigned less blame to moral wrong-doers, if the latter enacted their deed to obtain relatively large sums of money. Small amounts of money accentuate the immorality of others' transgressions.


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Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?