Rules Versus Consequences

By Truth About Deception

When you do something wrong, there are two ways of looking at it.

You can take a rules-based approach:

  • I screwed up.
  • I did something wrong.
  • I didn’t follow the rules.
  • I should NOT do that again.

Or you can look at your actions in terms of the consequences:

  • I screwed up.
  • I did something wrong.
  • No one really got hurt – or found out.
  • I can do that again.

New research shows that people, who take a rules-based approach when it comes to cheating, were less likely to cheat again.  People, who take a consequences-based approach, were more likely to cheat again.

Although the study on cheating did not look at infidelity in particular, the findings probably apply.

If you can rationalize cheating on your spouse in terms of the consequences, rather than in terms of right versus wrong, you are probably more likely to do it again.


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