Study: Morning Is When People Are Most Ethical


Looking to catch your fellow humans on their very best behavior? New research suggests you’d be well served to try them in the morning. Which is ironic, since I’d mug a schoolchild for an egg sandwich and a cup of coffee right now.

This claim comes via Scientific American, reporting on a series of studies at Harvard and the University of Utah:

327 men and women participated in tasks designed to measure cheating or lying behavior either in the morning or in the afternoon. For instance, in one study the subjects attempted to solve math problems, some of which were impossible, knowing they would be paid five cents for every solved problem. They reported their own scores, giving them an opportunity to lie and thus receive more money. The people who participated in the afternoon sessions in all the experiments were more likely to cheat than those who took part in the morning sessions.

SciAm points to previous research that making ethical choices requires self-control, and suggests there’s a link with being well-rested. So go ahead and order those stupidly expensive pillows that’ve been sitting in your Amazon cart for weeks; you’re welcome!

Photo via Shutterstock.

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