Why People Cheat

An article, “Cheating’s Surprising Thrill”, by Jan Hoffman, appeared on the NY Times website Oct. 7, 2013. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/07/in-bad-news-cheating-feels-good/?ref=health?src=dayp&_r=0
The first sentence is a question, “When was the last time you cheated?” I thought of the philosophy of the TV Dr. House, which is, “Everyone lies.”
The next question is, “And how did you feel afterward?” This is followed by the answer, “But new research shows that as long as you didn’t think your cheating hurt anyone, you may have felt great.”
Like everything else these days, the reason for cheating has been studied. “…some behavioral ethics researchers were startled by a study published recently in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology by researchers at the University of Washington, the London Business School, Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania. The title: “The Cheater’s High: The Unexpected Affective Benefits of Unethical Behavior.”
“One reason for pervasive garden-variety cheating is “that we have so many ways to cheat anonymously, especially via the Web,” Professor Wiltermuth said. The exhilaration, he added, may come from “people congratulating themselves on their cleverness.”
“The fact that people feel happier after cheating is disturbing, because there is emotional reinforcement of the behavior, meaning they could be more likely to do it again,” said Nicole E. Ruedy, the study’s lead author and a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Washington’s Center for Leadership and Strategic Thinking.
“…the researchers found that those who cheated experienced thrill, self-satisfaction, a sense of superiority. The effect persisted even when subjects cheated indirectly.”

Ole Petter Pedersen left this comment to my previous post: “Well, hard to blame white for Black’s losing moves, as in this game… I think people only look at a player’s rating and goes, hey, he must have cheated. However, computers do affect the way we play, and the term ‘human move’ has always sounded stupid to me. Good move or bad move, that is the question, to paraphrase Mr. Hendricks.”
This was my answer: I looked at the game and did not want to use it as an example, realizing someone may consider the game, as you have done, in lieu of looking at the big picture, which is that it has now become impossible to know for certain whether or not a player has availed himself of a 3000+ rated program. A decade ago there was speculation Topalov and his manager, Danilov, were using signals. Some still believe they accused Kramnik of cheating to throw suspicion off themselves. The Discman was incredulous when learning FIDE still allowed gizmo’s into the playing hall of their tournaments, as well he should be. In chess, the threat is stronger than the execution, is it not?

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2 thoughts on “Why People Cheat

  1. Ole Petter Pedersen says:

    Honoured to be mentioned 😉 Let us hope Kasparov can actually win the FIDE presidency, though he must probably beat a culture of bribes to do so, so don’t hold your hopes up. Professionalising FIDE and chess can only be good, also in the fight against cheating. As one is playing for money, cheating is actually fraud and a criminal offense…

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