'People cheat more when their belief in determinism is encouraged'

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New York, Feb 19 (UNI) Cheating is a human tendency but people are more likely to cheat when they are encouraged to believe that their behaviour is predetermined by genes or by environment, a research shows.

The report, in an issue of Psychological Science, describes two studies by Kathleen D Vohs of the University of Minnesota and Jonathan W Schooler of the University of British Columbia.

According to the researchers , the findings raised questions about how human behaviour might change if the belief in free will continue to decrease, the New York Times reported today.

In one of the studies, 30 college students were asked to solve math problems on a computer. Some were first asked to read a passage arguing that most educated people do not believe in free will. The volunteers were told that owing to a computer glitch, the answer would pop up after the problem if they did not the hit the space bar. They were asked to do so but told that no one would know. Members of the group encouraged to doubt free will were more likely to let the answer appear.

In the other study, about 120 students were asked to answer problems on a sheet of paper, with the promise of 1 dollar for each right answer. Those who had read statements skeptical about free will, when allowed to grade themselves and then shred the answer sheet, took more money than they should have, the researchers said.

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