Uncontrolled cheating out of no choice

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London, Feb 3 (UNI) Peter cheater cheated because he thought he was not in control of his destiny.

At least researchers offer this explanation to the cheating phenomenon, saying it is ''free will'' and not mothers and grandmothers or the laws and governments that keep people honest.

It has been established in earlier studies that changing sense of responsibility could change people's behavior.

But in first of its kind of experiment, it was explored what would happen if people started believing that their behaviour was the inevitable product of a causal chain beyond their control -- a predetermined fate beyond the reach of free will.

Researchers Kathleen Vohs and Jonathan Schooler conducted a mathematics exam and the subjects were told that a computer glitch would cause the answers to appear on the screen as well. To prevent the answers from showing up, the students had to hit the space bar as soon as the problems appeared.

Prior to the test, some students were taught that science disproves the notion of free will and that the illusion of free will was a mere artifact of the brain's biochemistry whereas others got no such indoctrination.

It was revealed that people with weaker convictions about their power to control their own destiny were more apt to cheat when given the opportunity as compared to those whose beliefs about controlling their own lives were left untouched.

Although the results of this study published in Psychological Science point to a significant value in believing that free will exists, it clearly raises some significant societal questions about personal beliefs and personal behaviour.

UNI XC SYU HS1238

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