What makes unethical behavior contagious? A series of experiments by Duke professor Dan Ariely (author of Predictably Irrational) and others published in the current issue of Psychological Sciences testing the conditions under which students would cheat found social norms can exert a strong influence over behavior. An article on this study in Newsweek says the findings reveal that "our inner moralist doesn't really want to cheat. Yet it also appears that dishonesty can be contagious—if we witness one of our own committing the public act of dishonesty."
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