• Final Mile

I am not a Cheater…

“Please don’t cheat “ vs “ Please don’t be a cheater”  – which of the above statements do you think will actually influence your actions? They seem to say the same thing but surprisingly the latter has a higher potential of making you stick to your morals.

Subtle differences in language can affect people’s attitudes and perception of both themselves and others (Banaji & Walton, 1994). As humans we constantly  strive to be a part of group or a clan and this constant desire can deeply affect out behavior. One can stimulate this sense of identity just by the construct of their question or statement. Research ( Bryan, Adams, & Monin, in press) has shown that noun vs. verb framing of sentences has implications on preventing unethical behavior. Take the first two sentences, for instance – these are inspired from noun vs. verb manipulation. The first sentence uses a verb or action (cheat) and the later emphasizes on using a noun or personality trait (cheater) which invokes group identity. When ‘Please don’t cheat’ (verb form) was used in the instructions, participants in a group resorted to the same amount of cheating as a baseline group, whereas using ‘Please don’t be a cheater’ (noun) eliminated cheating completely.

Why should this happen? People can downplay instances of cheating and convince themselves that these occasional lapses do not make one a dishonest person – this is harder to do with the use of a self-relevant noun that clearly states the implications of cheating.

The implications of this subtle influence on pro-social behavior is huge. If “Don’t be a drunk driver” is more effective that “Don’t drink and drive” and “Don’t be a litter-bug” more effective that “Please don’t litter”, all signage world-wide can be made more effective by taking these framing effects into account.

#nounversusverb #groupidentity #drunkdriving #Cheater #framing #socialbehaviour #cheating

4 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Delinquency management in a post-COVID world

The current COVID-19 situation is bound to create an immediate impact on delinquency rates in the financial services sector. Financial institutions around the world will need adopt proactive strategic

Sustaining Newly Acquired Hand-wash Behaviors

In the current context of social distancing driven by COVID-19, we’ve picked up or amped up a few behaviors – increased hand-washing is probably one. But will these newly acquired habits sustain when

Blameless driverless cars (and their consequences)

On 18 March evening, as 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg was crossing a road in Tempe, Arizona, she got hit by a car and died of her injuries. She became the first pedestrian to be killed by an autonomous