Problem
Set 1

Danielle
Long

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Western
Washington University

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Target
Article

Mead,
N. L., Baumeister, R. F., Gino, F., Schweitzer, M. E., & Ariely, D. (2009).
Too tired to tell the truth: Self-control resource depletion and dishonesty. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,
45(3), 594-597. doi: http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.library.wwu.edu/10.1016/j.jesp.2009.02.004 

In this study, the
authors examined the effects of ego depletion on self-control and honesty. The
authors of this study asked what determines a person’s act of honesty or
dishonesty when they can profit from cheating. Previous research found that we
have a resource for self-control, referred to as the “moral muscle”, which can
become depleted with usage. Two experiments were performed. The first was a
sample of eighty-four undergraduate students, forty of which were female, the
second was a sample of seventy-eight undergraduates, fifty of which were
female. In experiment one, the participants were randomly assigned to four
different groups, two of these groups were put into a depletion condition, and
two were in a non-depletion condition. As a second part to this experiment,
each group completed a matrices task which was then experimenter-scored or self-scored.
A depletion group and a non-depletion group was assigned to each type of
scoring. The experimenter-scored groups set a baseline for how many matrices a
participant would typically complete. The self-scored groups were given the
opportunity to cheat by taking more quarters than they had truly earned when
totaling their completed matrices. For the second experiment, participants
participated in either a depletion task or a non-depletion task. The second
part of this experiment took place when the participants were leaving the study
and were approached by another researcher. The participants completed a quiz
and were given the opportunity to cheat by choosing to use a bubble sheet that
had pre-filled answers, or they could use a blank bubble sheet which did not
provide the answers, receiving 10 cents for every correct answer. In both
experiments, the groups that were assigned to the depletion task were more
likely to act dishonestly later to profit. The depleted participants who
self-scored their matrices rewarded themselves with more than double the amount
of quarters than the experimenter scored participants, which confirms the researcher’s
hypothesis that depletion of self-control can lead to dishonesty. Results were
similar in the second experiment; depleted participants were more likely to act
dishonestly when give the opportunity to profit from dishonest behavior. A
future study could examine behaviors of depleted participants when there is no
reward and they do not profit from dishonesty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research Article

Gino, F., Schweitzer, M. E., Mead, N. L., & Ariely, D.
(2011). Unable to resist temptation: How self-control depletion promotes
unethical behavior. Organizational
Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 115(2), 191-203. doi: http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.library.wwu.edu/10.1016/j.obhdp.2011.03.001 

The authors of this study
performed four studies to answer the question of how and why ethical and moral
participants engage in unethical and dishonest behaviors. They explore the part
self-control plays in the act of ethical or unethical behaviors. In the first
study had 100 university students, fifty-eight were male. They used random
assignment to assign participants to a depletion task, or non-depletion task,
they then were given a problem-solving task in which they could cheat, and
finally, they were given a questionnaire. As the experimenters predicted, the
participants assigned to the depletion group were more likely to be dishonest
in regard to the problem-solving task. The second study consisted of
ninety-seven students, fifty of which were male, and again they were randomly
assigned to a depletion or non-depletion condition. Participants then performed
a problem-solving task in which they could cheat, a word completion task in
which the experimenters could assess the presence or absence of morality, and
finally a questionnaire. Once again, the depleted participants were more likely
to cheat on the problem-solving task. Also, the hypothesis for study two, that
depletion will reduce moral awareness, was supported by the results of the word
completion task, which showed that the depleted participants came up with less
ethically related words than the non-depleted participants. The third study
consisted of sixty-five undergraduates, twenty-nine of which were male. The
researchers predicted that unethical behaviors would increase with depletion
more in participants with low moral identity, but not in participants with high
moral identity. They participated in either a depletion or non-depletion task,
problem-solving task, word completion task, and finally filled out a 7-point
Likert scale to measure moral identity. Participants with low moral identity
who were in the depletion condition engaged in unethical behaviors, but
participants with high moral identity in the depletion condition were not
significantly engaged in unethical behaviors. The results supported the
researcher’s hypothesis. Finally, the fourth study consisted of ninety-two
undergraduate students, forty-eight of which were male. The researcher’s
predicted that refraining from cheating and practicing self-control depletes
the participants moral muscle. Participants baseline measurement for
self-control was found using an initial Stroop task, this was followed by an
unrelated questionnaire, which was followed by a matrices task in which they
had the opportunity to cheat. After the matrices task they completed another
Stroop task. The participants who practiced self-control and refrained from
cheating on the matrices task, later did significantly worse on the following
Stroop task, showing their self-control had been depleted. The results
supported the researcher’s hypothesis. This study as a whole was extremely
thorough and in depth. This relates very closely to the target article not only
because it involves some of the same authors, but because it focused on
cheating for personal gain, and depletion of the self-control resource.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review Article

Murdock, T. B., & Anderman, E. M. (2006). Motivational
perspectives on student cheating: Toward an integrated model of academic
dishonesty. Educational Psychologist, 41(3),
129-145. doi: http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.library.wwu.edu/10.1207/s15326985ep4103_1 

The authors of this article
focused on the topic of students and academic cheating, including the three
questions students may ask themselves prior to cheating; they ask what the
purpose of cheating is, consider if they can successfully cheat, and weigh the
potential cost of cheating. Surveys were done by students to assess the
likelihood of cheating. The primary reason given for cheating was to raise a
grade. Students who viewed education as mandatory for a successful future,
oppose to students who viewed education as an opportunity for personal
development, were 40% more likely to cheat. A student’s goal orientation
determines the likelihood of their cheating as well as how harshly they judge
others who have cheated. This was shown in an experiment where participants
read a story of someone cheating and decided on an appropriate punishment for
the culprit. When a student is considering if they can successfully cheat or
not, their self-efficacy comes into play as well as the portrayed competence of
the instructor. On a task in which a student feels they have low efficacy they
are more likely too cheat. When students are spaced farther apart for testing,
less cheating occurs, but having multiple versions of the test did not result
in any less cheating than only using one version of the test. In conclusion,
there are many reasons a student may cheat; raise a grade, to appear competent
compared to other students, the student feels they have low self-efficacy on a
certain task, and so on. This info is hard to generalize to all students, in
all situations. There is not just one set of characteristics that makes a
student cheat, and a cheating student may not cheat on every task. When the
cost of cheating is high, the likelihood of cheating lowers. For future
research, it would be beneficial to measure these variables in the real world.
Experiments and surveys can provide less accurate info than observing an
unknowing subject. Also, a longitudinal study would be beneficial, to study how
students cheating habits may change over time. This relates to the topic
article because it focuses on cheating and why a person might cheat and act
dishonestly or unethically. This focus is interesting because the participants
are not receiving a monetary benefit, although they receive benefits in other forms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Citation Article

Cantarero, K., & Van Tilburg, W. A. P. (2014). Too tired to
taint the truth: Ego-depletion reduces other-benefiting dishonesty. European Journal of Social Psychology, 44(7),
743-747. doi: http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.library.wwu.edu/10.1002/ejsp.2065 

The researchers in this study acknowledge
the previous work that showed ego-depletion increases unethical behaviors, and
decided to put a twist on this focus. The researchers ask if ego-depletion will
decrease dishonesty in a situation where others would benefit from your
dishonesty, oppose to previous research in which dishonesty increased for
self-benefit. The study consisted of 153 undergraduate students, fifty of which
were men. Participants were randomly assigned into two groups, either
ego-depletion or control. Participants filled out a self-control questionnaire
to get a baseline of individual differences of self-control. Participants were
then shown a drawing done by a child and made several judgements about it, such
as quality, if they like it, how old they think the artist is, etc. Participants
then performed an ego-depletion task. Finally, they were told the age of the
child and were asked to write down what they would say to the child about their
drawing, measuring the similarities in what they said before and after the
depletion task. The researchers hypothesized that after the depletion task
participants would be less likely to respond to the picture dishonestly to
benefit others. In other words, a depleted participant will not lie to avoiding
hurting the child’s feelings, as they would if they responded honestly. The
results showed that the non-depleted participants provided more positive
feedback on the drawing than the depleted participants, but the results were
not very significant. Overall, ego-depletion did result in less action to benefit
other’s, compared to the significant self-benefitting behavior observed in
other research. This is closely related to the target article because it
focuses on the effects of ego-depletion and self-control. This was a very
interesting take on the topic. For future research the participants could judge
the work or writing of an adult, oppose to that of a child. This may provide
different results because an adult is less inclined to help benefit another
adult oppose to benefiting a child.