Extra Thinking Time Leads to Ethical Decisions

Another piece that fails to capture the whole picture: the finding is cross sectionally true but life dynamically lame. You have to consider life propensity and issue specific propensity before coming to conclusions like this. For those fundamentally unethical even thinking for a decade would not help. The danger of this finding is that people may heed the advice and impose extra time for decisions. But time is precious and we really cannot afford the extra of it. Problem is life time dynamics is hard to implement in a single experiment.

Research in the new issue of the Academy of Management Journal finds that, confronted with clear choices between right and wrong, people are more than five times more likely to do the right thing when they have some time to think about the matter than they are when they have to make a snap decision.

Prof. Murnighan adds: “Immediate, automatic moral intuitions tend to be selfish, given that self-interest is a basic, instinctual response to external stimuli. In contrast, conscious, deliberative thought adds social concerns, setting off a battle within the individual that pits the strength of self-interested intuitive desires against the constraints established by social learning.”

via AOM Press Release — Full Display.

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