Why do cheaters cheat? Perhaps because they can think up original ways to avoid work: a new study finds that creativity is tied to a willingness to cheat. The work is in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. [Francesca Gino and Dan Ariely, "The dark side of creativity: Original thinkers can be more dishonest"]
The teacher hands back copies of a multiple-choice test where you circled your answers. She then tells you to transfer your answers to a sheet where you fill in circles next to each answer. But your copy of the test includes her marks for the correct answers. If you were paid per correct answer, would you fill in the bubbles with your answers or the right ones?
The researchers used a variety of tests like this one to determine if the study’s participants were willing to cheat. In addition to integrity tests, the subjects underwent standard psychological evaluations to measure their creativity. The researchers found a significant correlation between innovative minds and a willingness to bend the rules for personal gain. Now, intelligence alone did not indicate dishonesty. But it may be creativity that puts the art in a con artist.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]