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Can Cheating Boost Your Mood?

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Can Cheating Boost Your Mood?


We usually associate cheating with feelings of guilt, shame, and distress. So the results of a recent study published by researchers at the University of Washington, the London Business School, Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania's are surprising. The study titled, "The Cheater’s High: The Unexpected Affective Benefits of Unethical Behavior," found that as long as people felt no one would be directly hurt by their cheating, they felt a thrill or high after doing so.

Participants had their baseline moods assessed and then were given word-unscrambling tests. Once complete they were asked to grade their own work using an answer key. They were told that they would be paid $1 for every correct answer. What they didn't know was that researchers could see when they cheated by changing their response to the correct one. The results were surprising: 41% of participants changed their answers. Even more shocking was that those who cheated felt better after taking the test than those who were honest!

What does this elated emotional response to cheating say about human nature? Is it worth cheating to get a boost in mood and get ahead if you feel no one will be hurt by your actions? Let us know what you think in the comments!

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