The psychologist Dan Ariely has become famous for his study of irrationality and how it affects us. That study has led him to become interested in the desire and by the lie. It’s been a couple of years ago that was published in Spain his book why we lie (a translation is quite free of original The (honest) truth about dishonesty), that he has only fallen into my hands recently.
After two years, what’s smart commentary about it can I do that has not been done already? Because of the implications that Ariely found in his studies to our lives, I am left with just one that unfortunately is very fashionable.
Since a few years ago, we are in an economic crisis especially cruel in the countries of southern Europe. The magnitude of purely economic has been to add a crisis of faith in politics, fueled by cases of corruption, more or less severe, in areas very different. Some analysts suggest that one way to fight corruption (not only political, but also business) would be the establishment of policies of transparency, according to which public representatives would be required to give explanations and to give an account of their proceedings to the general public. Ariely puts in doubt the effectiveness of such policies of transparency.
According to him, the policies of transparency are based on a model of dishonesty under which we lie at the basis of a rational calculation on the basis of three factors: 1) the possible benefit; 2) the possibility that we may discover; 3) the possible punishment. However, throughout his work, Ariely shows that people tend to lie not on the basis of a rational calculation, but, thanks to our ability to rationalize: we want to take advantage of the dishonesty, but at the same time we want to consider ourselves honest people. And that ability to remain watching with good eyes, even though we have lied, is affected by factors such as tiredness, conflicts of interest, the environment and how we relate with him, the reminder of the codes of conduct,… In the end, a multitude of factors that have little to do with the rational calculation.
A couple of videos for you to judge the arguments of Ariely: first, a summary of your book thanks to the initiative RSA Animate; in the second place, a lecture by Ariely on how the knowledge of the factors that contribute to dishonesty could affect the way in which it governs (in this link you have a good summary of the talk).
Image via Maine Freedon Forum