There are a lot of terrible things that people do to one another. A husband kills his pregnant wife and unborn child. A woman kills another woman she met on the Internet and kidnaps an 8-month fetus she cut from its mothers womb.
At the same time, there are a lot of minor moral and legal violations that people engage in as well -- violations such as speeding, cheating on tests, etc. But what factors influence a persons willingness to engage in various minor moral and legal violations? A lack of conscience? The thrill and excitement of the risk involved? A Kansas State University professor who has previously examined social-emotional behaviors in children and adults, has completed a study examining these dynamics.
Mark Barnett, a K-State professor of psychology, queried 178 K-State undergraduates on 40 different "minor moral and legal violations." Some of the violations the students were asked about on the questionnaire were illegal infractions; some were immoral but not illegal. "Some of these behaviors would get you in trouble with the law -- like speeding down the highway, and others were like cheating on an exam or cheating on a game of golf," Barnett said. "Youre not going to get arrested for the latter behaviors, but still, obviously its not morally acceptable to do those sorts of things."
Mark Barnett | EurekAlert!
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