Psychology Today features Professor Oliver Sheldon's research on resisting temptation to cheat

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015
New York, NY

Psychology Today

Temptations are everywhere in life, from the rich chocolate torte in the gleaming bakery case to the possibility of finally hooking up with a neighbor or co-worker you’ve been interested in for years. You think to yourself, “What’s wrong with just one small piece?” or in the case of the hookup (assuming you’re in a committed relationship) “How bad would it be to go out for one little drink?”

You might also be tempted, on occasion, to behave in a way that violates your sense of right and wrong.

The study of temptation tends to examine how people behave unethically when they truly desire to be ethical. Less frequently studied are the factors that lead people to resist temptation when it’s staring them in the face.

Rutgers Business School assistant professor and psychologist Oliver Sheldon and University of Chicago’s Ayelet Fishbach (2015) believed that people would be more likely to resist temptation if they could be encouraged to take the long view of seeing one piece of unethical behavior as tied to an entire series of actions that are all interconnected.

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TAGS: Ethics Management and Global Business Oliver Sheldon The Institute for Ethical Leadership