Previous work has focused on the factors that might lead to unethical behavior. In earlier research, Gino had found that encouraging out-of-the-box thinking can lead people toward more dishonest decisions when confronted with an ethical dilemma.
This research, however, focuses on the consequences of dishonesty:
“We turned the relationship upside down, in a sense,” says Gino. “Our research raises the possibility that one of the reasons why dishonesty seems so widespread in today’s society is that by acting dishonestly we become more creative — and this creativity may allow us to come up with original justifications for our immoral behavior and make us likely to keep crossing ethical boundaries.”
Gino and Wiltermuth are following up on these findings by investigating how people respond when dishonesty and creativity are combined in the form of “creative” cheating. Their initial findings suggest that people may give cheaters a pass if they cheat in particularly creative ways.
Surely these results are unrelated to the number and depth of research scandals in psychology. Or is that insufficiently nuanced? 😉
One wonders whether great scientists could have shown more creativity by cheating. Well, yes, but …
Note: Other research found that creative people were more likely to cheat, suggesting that creativity made it easier to rationalize their actions. That is, to fool themselves while fooling others.
One is reminded of physicist Feynman’s warning:
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.
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