Study: Dishonesty increases as lights dim

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By Evergreen,
Portland writer

A fascinating study shows the effect of light, or lack of light, on our ethics . This applies not to just our homes but our work and our schools.  Even a little dimming seems to give people a sense of anonymity — even when they can be clearly seen.  Check it out from Yahoo news.

Dim lights can make it seem as if no one is watching, triggering moral transgressions in many people, a new study suggests. Past research has shown that when people are concealed from view by others, say when they are wearing hoods, these individuals will be more likely to commit criminal acts and other bad behaviors. But what about times when we’re not actually anonymous – people can see us – yet we feel like we’re hidden? The researchers of the new study describe it as the adult version of hide-and-seek: Kids often believe no one can see them when they cover their eyes even though they are hiding in plain sight. Turns out, a dark room can have a similar psychological effect on adults.

The results could play out in real-life office behavior, the researchers say. “Imagine that a person who is alone in a closed room is deciding whether to lie to a total stranger in an e-mail. Clearly, whether the room is well lit would not affect the person’s actual level of anonymity,” Chen-Bo Zhong of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and colleagues write in a recent issue of the journal Psychological Science.  Read more here.