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Can stress management training make you more honest?

May 5, 2014|Counseling & Psychotherapy

Are you less honest in the afternoon? According to researchers at Harvard and University of Utah, the answer is probably yes.  

Their research has shown the people are 20 to 50% more likely to be dishonest or unethical in the afternoon.

One explanation for being more likely to be dishonest, cheat or engage in unethical behavior later in the day is that our psychological resources are drained over the course of a day. As this “psychological depletion” occurs, we lose the mental energy needed to manage our impulses and behavior.

So, if you are faced with moral or ethical decisions, it might be best to tackle them in the morning.

And, it’s possible that developing better stress management skills by participating in stress management training could help people better manage their psychological depletion and maintain psychological resources over the day.

Excerpt from related article:

The study: Harvard’s Maryam Kouchaki and a colleague, Isaac H. Smith of the University of Utah, enlisted participants for what was ostensibly a decision-making experiment but was really a study of dishonest behavior. If subjects lied, they could earn more money. People’s tendency to be untruthful was greater in the afternoon than in the morning, the researchers found. They attributed this result to the “psychological depletion” people experience as a day wears on, which makes them cognitively weaker.

via In the Afternoon, the Moral Slope Gets Slipperier – Harvard Business Review.

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