We test experimentally a prediction of the ‘moral credit model’, in which committing a virtuous act creates moral credits that can license immoral behaviour in a succeeding decision. We use a basic cheating experiment that was either preceded by a virtuous deed or not in a developing country context. We found that people who previously achieved a good deed cheat more. Gender and origin are also significant explicative variables for cheating.
Smug Alert! Exploring self-licensing behaviour in a cheating game
13 March 2014