Friday, March 16, 2012

Creative people easily rationalize their dishonest behavior

Study finds men suffer mental decline when around, or even just thinking about women. Same doesn't hold true for females, researchers say Comments (30) BY RHEANA MURRAY NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Tuesday, March 13, 2012 Seen in movies like "The 40 Year-Old Virgin," sometimes men don't know what to say in the presence of a woman.
Men just can’t think straight when women are around. Researchers are studying how males can actually experience a mental decline when interacting with women, Scientific American magazine reported. A study from Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands showed that while heterosexual men’s cognitive performance was impaired when they were around someone from the opposite sex, the same didn’t hold true for women. Just the anticipation of interacting with a woman could impair mental performance, according to the study, first published online last November.
Researchers compared the findings to a scene in Tolstoy’s novel “Anna Karenina,” in which a male character, Levi, becomes so nervous trying to think of something to tell a woman, Kitty, that he doesn’t recognize a friend who walks by the pond where they’re standing. Such temporary lapses in memory or mindfulness are more common “if the woman is attractive and men report trying to impress her,” according to the study’s authors. And they happen in real life, too…
Men who were told a woman would be watching them performed worse on subsequent tests of cognitive ability, even when there was no actual face-to-face contact with a woman. Women showed no change.
Researchers suggest the findings could be attributed to “evolutionary pressures” that have shaped men to be more likely to sexualize otherwise neutral situations, but say further study is necessary.

Creative people more dishonest, Harvard study finds - Daily Dose 2 Dec 2011 – By Deborah Kotz, Globe Staff - But are creative types more likely to lie, cheat, and steal?
“There’s been a lot of anecdotal evidence linking creativity with dishonesty, but without much empirical evidence,” said Francesca Gino, an associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. She decided to conduct a series of experiments with several hundred college students to determine whether creativity and intelligence play a role in lowering ethical standards when it comes to making money. The findings were published in the recent issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
“When you’re a creative person, you can use that creativity to come up with reasons for why unethical behaviors may be okay,” said Gino. “Crossing ethical boundaries may not be as problematic.”
Interestingly, all of the study participants wanted to maintain a positive view of themselves: In anonymous surveys, nobody admitted being a cheater, and all considered cheating to be wrong. But when faced with ethical dilemmas where they weighed self-interest against the desire to maintain their high self-image, the creative participants were better able to rationalize their dishonest behavior, so they could still see themselves as honest human beings.
They figure what’s the harm in cheating, just a little? “One might reason that other people would cheat under the same circumstances or that a little cheating will not hurt anyone,” wrote Gino in the paper.
Other research suggests we all start to self-rationalize more when we’re in a creative mindset -- looking for ways to lower our tax bill, for example, or coming up with a new idea for an advertising campaign. “Anyone who’s thinking creatively at [the] moment, may be more likely to engage in unethical behavior,” Gino told me.
Of course, we shouldn’t try to avoid being creative, but we may want to be a little more self-aware. “Knowing that creativity can have this side effect,” Gino said, “should make us stop and think more carefully when we’re faced with an ethical decision.” Deborah Kotz can be reached at

People from privileged, wealthy backgrounds are more likely to be dishonest and unethical than their poorer counterparts, a study has found. Wealthy more likely to lie, cheat: Study - Indian Express Washington, Tue Feb 28 2012
They may be the more respectable and upstanding members of society, but the rich are also more likely to lie, cheat and engage in other kinds of unethical activities than those in lower classes, claims a new study. But these findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, do not mean that everyone of high status behaves unethically, nor that everyone in lower society behaves ethically, scientists cautioned. 'Wealthy class more likely to lie, cheat' - Times Of India
However, the researchers suggested that the rich's view of the world may be clouded by self-absorption and greed. As a result, they have fewer scruples than those who have less money to burn.

The fallacy of mood affiliation by Tyler Cowen on March 31, 2011 at 8:43 am in Philosophy Permalink Recently I wrote:
It seems to me that people are first choosing a mood or attitude, and then finding the disparate views which match to that mood and, to themselves, justifying those views by the mood.  I call this the “fallacy of mood affiliation” 
Let’s not count the poor from Kafila by Shivam Vij
As someone recently commented on a Kafila post, we live in a post-fact world where there are no facts. Everyone believes what they want to. 1:47 PM

We are all salespersons to different degrees, and use fallacies Why Politicians are Liars, Darrell Williams author's web site September 19, 2007
These are complex deceitful statements that are used to sell an idea by misleading claims. This is done by different individuals to different degrees for different purposes. Some are harmless but some are dangerous and illegal. There are over 166 different ways in which a person can use fallacies to deceive or mislead someone. 5:36 PM

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Neat People vs. Sloppy People":
Oh well, it is not so much her questionable sense of humour that bothers me here; it is not the fact that she is painting a very two-dimensional black and white picture either. It is that people relate to it: "Oh yes, everything in my life can be defined so simply. One line, two kinds of people." Seriously? I don't recognize any sloppy nor any neat people I know in this essay. Why not stick to the definition? (Oxford) neat: arranged in a tidy way; in good order. sloppy: careless and unsystematic; excessively casual.
I see nothing about waste or attachment to things here.
When you want to put people in boxes, the larger your boxes are, the more judgmental and wrong you get. And it doesn't get any funnier... Evergreen Essays at 7:15 PM, March 17, 2012

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