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People With This Personality Trait Are More Likely to Cheat

By on June 22, 2015
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Let’s establish this base line: We’re going to assume that cheating (at work, in relationships, at trivia night) is not your status quo. But in those moments when majorly breaking the rules starts to look attractive, new research suggests that likelihood you’ll cheat might be determined by…your anxiety level.

Based on six small studies that examined angst in the workplace, a new paper titled Anxious, Threatened, and Also Unethical: How Anxiety Makes Individuals Feel Threatened and Commit Unethical Acts suggests that feeling threatened leads to making immoral decisions.

In one very telling experiment, the researchers asked 63 students to listen to calm music, then switched it up and played Bernard Herrmann’s Psycho score. If you’ve ever seen the classic Hitchcock flick, you already know those chords are unnerving enough to make a completely sane person feel a little crazy.

Sure enough, the participants played a simple computer game in which there was an obvious way to cheat, and those who listened to the Psycho tunes felt more anxious and were more likely to deceive. Feeling threatened can make us place our own best interest ahead of everything else—even the rules.

Though researchers didn’t hint that this same conclusion applies to our personal lives, it’s certainly an interesting thought: Could feeling threatened cause us to cheat not just on a game but also on our boyfriends? That’s another study for another day—but there is probably a Scandal episode or two suggesting just that.

Original Post self.com

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