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人在下午更爱撒谎 因自控能力变差
People lie and cheat more during afternoon

[ 2013-10-31 14:22] 来源:中国日报网     字号 [] [] []  
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人在下午更爱撒谎 因自控能力变差

People are more likely to lie or cheat during the afternoon because self control diminishes during the day, according to researchers.

Volunteers taking part in two experiments where they could benefit by cheating were more likely to do so if the tests took place after midday, researchers found.

The findings back up previous studies which have shown that our capacity for self-control declines during the day, due to tiredness and repeatedly making decisions.

Psychologists from Harvard University first showed a group of volunteers various patterns of dots on a computer screen, asking them to decide whether there were more dots on the left or the right hand side.

Instead of being rewarded for getting the answer right, the participants were paid based on which side they chose, earning ten times as much for choosing the right hand side as the left.

People who were tested after midday were significantly more likely to select the right hand side, even if there were clearly more dots on the left, than those who took part during the morning.

In a second test, participants were shown a series of word fragments, such as "--ral" and "e---c--" and asked which words they associated with them.

In morning experiments, participants were more likely to form the words "moral" and "ethical" while during the afternoon the words "coral" and "effects" were most common.

Further tests conducted online showed that people were more likely to send dishonest messages or claim to have solved an unsolvable problem in the afternoon than the morning.

Writing the Psychological Science journal, the researchers said the difference was particularly pronounced in people with higher ethical standards, who always behaved morally during the morning but slipped during the afternoon.

In contrast, those who were able to "morally disengage", or behave unethically without feeling guilty, were prone to cheating whatever the time of day.

Dr Maryam Kouchaki, one of the lead authors, said: "Unfortunately, the most honest people, such as those less likely to morally disengage, may be the most susceptible to the negative consequences associated with the morning morality effect."

The findings could be relevant to organisations who should be more vigilant about the behaviour of customers and employees during the afternoon, she added. “Our findings suggest that mere time of day can lead to a systematic failure of good people to act morally.”


(中国日报网英语点津 陈丹妮 编辑)