Sunday, November 4, 2018

Participants who cheat and experience subsequent "close calls" with punishment reduce their cheating in levels comparable to cheaters who are punished

When close calls curb crime: almost getting caught reduces future unethical behavior. Permut, Stephanie; Saccardo, Silvia; Downs, Julie; Loewenstein, George. In Society for Judgment and Decision Making 2018, 39th Annual Conference. http://carter.psych.upenn.edu/programs/2018-program.pdf

Abstract: We investigate the applications of near - miss effects to theories of deterrence and risk. Across several experimental studies, we study how individuals behave after getting away with a first instance of cheating. We show that participants who cheat and experience subsequent "close calls" with punishment reduce their cheating in levels comparable to cheaters who are punished. By contrast, participants who avoid punishment by wider margins do not decrease their cheating. We present converging evidence that these effects are cognitive in nature. Participants believe that their distance from undesirable outcomes contains information about outcome - likelihoods and about the structure of the task itself.