Dan Ariely tells the Truth about Dishonesty

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Behavioral economist Dan Ariely explores how unethical behavior works in the personal, professional, and political worlds, and he argues that irrational forces often determine whether we behave ethically or not. In The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone—Especially Ourselves Ariely shows why some things are easier to lie about; how getting caught matters less than we think; and how business practices pave the way for unethical behavior, both intentionally and unintentionally.


Dan Ariely

Comments [14]

Assefa WM from NJ

very fascinating topic!
The world feels like those who d'ont lie are doomed to stay watching when a lie is accepted or tolerated as truth. Instead of straight lie, now the underlined phrase is make it sound like truth and back it up with good lie. For the rich ( politicians and business men) as they part and parcel in US, it is easy to lie and back it through money via media(the enablers). For the middle class and poor, the lie is less hurting to the public as the lie is connected to their daily survival, and is for those living in cities. That been said, has their been any study which compares the educated and/or elite vis-a-vis the less educated (high school drop outs). I am more interested to see the comparison between the rural-uneducated-farmers and the all urban dwellers. I suspect the rural is much more honest than us living in cities.
My question to the author will be where will this epidemic, "if can use that word" would be in future. I know it won't be cured, but we might legislate one day certain lies are close to truth, so accept it. To say the least, everything in commercial is a lie or an exaggeration. The latter is also a lie as far as I am concerned.

Jun. 06 2012 04:09 PM
Henry from Manhattan

Re: “Why do you think the Ten Commandments were written into the Bible?”

Four out of the Ten Commandments are propaganda to further monotheistic religion and range from morally worthless to outright harmful in pluralistic societies.

1 No Gods before God.
2 Make no images of God or any other stuff for that matter.
3 Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain.
4 Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. (Note: Jews and Christians disagree on what day it is on.)

Moses couldn’t convince God to use those slots for something useful like defining basic human rights? Slavery, women’s rights, freedom of speech, gay rights, social equality, discrimination, etc?

The remaining commandments; a couple are good ideas but hardly mandatory to being a good person (or can be reasonably debated, nothing wrong with coveting per se, it makes up ambition) and the reminder are obvious that don’t really need to be written down. However, if you consider source context, “Thou shall not kill!” is one where Yahweh condones all sorts of killing by his followers anyway. Just read the Good Book.

Honestly, something like The Boy Scouts’ Twelve Scout Laws are a better set of personal commandments,

Not that I’m a fan of the organization or anything, just pulling up an example. Notice how they are positive and affirming, what you should do. Also notice how it doesn’t say obvious things like, “Don’t kill people, stupid.”

They even have one law reserved for God or “the holy” (instead of four silly commandments) and even extend it to respect others’ beliefs.

Jun. 06 2012 02:02 PM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

tom LI

I didn't say that the Ten Commandments (not to mention the other 603) solved the problem - just that the problem was recognized that long ago. Too bad we haven't changed for the better, but, unfortunately, that is human nature.

Jun. 06 2012 12:56 PM
The Truth from Becky

TOM, annnd I dont "bend" the rules for myself or anyone else. I know my defects, cheating is not one of them.

Jun. 06 2012 12:51 PM
The Truth from Becky

TOM - no. Apparently you have never read previous posts from me, I never had a need to diet,genetics I suppose but I have never been overweight. Simply not a cheater or liar.

Jun. 06 2012 12:47 PM
John A.

Ariely has been used by Paul Solomon on the PBS Newshour to help describe how voter self deception allows for political advances. I'll have to listen to (download) this one.

Jun. 06 2012 12:47 PM
tom LI

To - the truth from Becky. You never cheated on a diet? Or similar...?

Another rule - anyone who claims not to have bent the rules for themselves is lying.

Jun. 06 2012 12:43 PM
tom LI

To - Truth and beauty - 1. The 10 C's predate the Bible. 2. It hasn't worked. Xtians have been writing loopholes since they sprung up.

Words to live by, those who claim a moral superiority based on religion are usually not adhering to the tenets.

Jun. 06 2012 12:39 PM
Miriam from Teaneck, NJ

I have been quite upset by charities that call asking for me to match my contribution of last year when I know that I did not contribute the amount they mention. Even though it's for a good cause, it's deception.

Jun. 06 2012 12:27 PM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

One of the worst things about this is, if a person is dishonest, s/he assumes everyone around them is, too, and then can self-justify. And if everyone is assumed to be dishonest, then they can just go about fulfilling the assumption.

Very depressing, but it's been going on for millenia. Why do you think the Ten Commandments were written into the Bible? There's nothing new under the sun.

Jun. 06 2012 12:25 PM
Esther from Baltimore

Like the movie Ground Hog Day... we're here to keep trying until we get it right.
This is the spiritual struggle, unless you think morality is subjective, and then what's wrong with lying if it serves you well and you can get away with it?

Jun. 06 2012 12:22 PM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

I think Professor Ariely's work is sooo important and touches on so much on both our private lives and the public sphere.

The older I get, the more I see how delusional, and intellectually dishonest (by which I mean selective memory, etc.) and how easily to vilify others, while we give ourselves and our ilk the benefit of the doubt.

Double standards abound!

Jun. 06 2012 12:16 PM
The Truth from Becky

One of the things myy grandmother used to say is: if you will cheat, you will lie, if you will lie you will steal, if you will steal you will kill.

I am not a cheater.

Jun. 06 2012 12:15 PM
Larry from Brooklyn

What causes a group of people to go along with a lie for a colleage?

Jun. 06 2012 12:11 PM

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