Washington, Sept 6 (ANI): A new study suggests that people who get away with cheating when they believe no one is hurt by their dishonesty are more likely to feel upbeat than remorseful afterward.
Although people predict they will feel bad after cheating or being dishonest, many of them don't, the study said.
"When people do something wrong specifically to harm someone else, such as apply an electrical shock, the consistent reaction in previous research has been that they feel bad about their behavior," study lead author, Nicole E. Ruedy, of the University of Washington, said.
"Our study reveals people actually may experience a 'cheater's high' after doing something unethical that doesn't directly harm someone else," she said.
Even when there was no tangible reward, people who cheated felt better on average than those who didn't cheat, according to results of several experiments that involved more than 1,000 people in the US and England.
A little more than half the study participants were men, with 400 from the general public in their late 20s or early 30s and the rest in their 20s at universities.
Participants predicted that they or someone else who cheated on a test or logged more hours than they had worked to get a bonus would feel bad or ambivalent afterward.
When participants actually cheated, they generally got a significant emotional boost instead, according to responses to questionnaires that gauged their feelings before and after several experiments.
The research is published online by the American Psychological Association in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. (ANI)