Depletion, moral identity, and unethical behavior: Why people behave unethically after self-control exertion.
School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China. Electronic address: [email protected]
School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China.
- Published Article
Consciousness and Cognition
- Publication Date
Nov 01, 2017
Self-control enables people to resist short-term temptations in the service of long-term goals. Previous exertion of self-control leads to a state of ego depletion. Three studies demonstrated that ego depletion leads to a high level of unethical behavior. These studies also hypothesized and confirmed that depleted individuals behave unethically because of low moral identity. Study 1 found that depleted participants were more likely to over-report their performance than non-depleted participants. Study 2 revealed that depletion reduced people's moral identity, which in turn increased their propensity to engage in unethical behavior. Study 3 proved that priming moral identity eliminated the effect of depletion on cheating. Findings suggest that reduced moral identity accounts for the effect of self-control depletion on unethical behavior.
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This record was last updated on 06/09/2018 and may not reflect the most current and accurate biomedical/scientific data available from NLM.
The corresponding record at NLM can be accessed at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28966038