Dan Ariely, in this great talk, describes some of his surprising research on cheating.
He finds that almost everyone will cheat, but only a little bit. People are less likely to steal money, than other things (e.g., office supplies). “Priming” works, too: If people are reminded to be moral, they are less likely to cheat.
If we see people we think are like us cheat, we are more likely to cheat than we would have otherwise (but we have the opposite reaction to cheaters that we see as not like us). Ariely then applies his findings to the Enron scandal.
A fun and fascinating 16 and a half minutes:Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.