After leaving the hospital, I began conducting experiments that simulated both of these tearing methods. And I found that the nurses were wrong: a quick tear turned out to be more painful than a slow rib. In my experiences, I discovered a collection of tricks that could have been used to relieve pain or treat it more effectively. For example, they could have started with the most painful part of the treatment and moved to less painful areas to give me a sense of improvement; They could have given me breaks in between to recover. There are great lessons to be learned from these experiences, which apply to the economy, markets, policy-making and even our personal lives. Well, if we have this fudge factor, we thought we should be able to increase or decrease it [to affect the amount of fraud someone does]. So we tried to make it smaller by getting people to recite the Ten Commandments before taking the test. And it turns out that it completely reduces the fudge factor. He eliminates it. And it`s not that people who are more religious or remember more commandments are less likely to cheat. Even if we get atheists to swear by the Bible, they don`t cheat afterwards.
So it`s not about the fear of God; It`s about reminding people of their own moral standards. I would like to give a personal example. I live next door to a self-service farmers` market stall that relies on selling products under the honor system (without any payment oversight, you simply anonymously put money in a hidden bucket). When I was at the market yesterday, I picked up a few vegetables for $4 in total, but as you can guess from my gestures, I decided to pay only $3. I only share this example because I want to convey that we ALL make decisions similar to the ones I`ve experienced (whether it`s buying something, falsifying numbers at work, or even being involved in infidelity). Our human behavior causes us to cheat “just a little” while making us feel that our actions are socially acceptable. But why? WHY do we cheat?!?! However, the test group was ordered to destroy their tests before declaring their total number to see if they would falsify the number if no one could confirm their claim. Not surprisingly, many people in the latter group deceived them. But they cheated only a small amount.
And the amount they cheated didn`t change when they were offered more money per question. That didn`t change when they were told to pay themselves with a bowl of money. So why do we have to go a little faster than the speed limit (pun intended)? Ariely points out the elements that can change the size of the fudge factor (i.e., internal and external influences on why we choose to make bad irrational decisions). These factors include: Conventional wisdom assumes that people cheat based on their public opinion and the penalty they receive. But Ariely says other factors come into play. Now, I don`t want to say that`s the only factor that`s happening. Take what happened at Enron. There was partly a social norm emerging there. Someone started cheating a little, and then it became more and more part of the social norm. You see someone behaving a little more extremely, and you take that path. If you stopped and thought about what you`re doing, it would be clear that it was crazy, but for now, you`re just accepting this social norm. “Maybe there`s a certain level of cheating that we can`t overcome, but we can still benefit from small-scale cheating as long as it doesn`t change our impressions of ourselves,” Ariely says.
“We call it a personal fudge factor.” An example of someone who has used the fudge factor to excel in his career is Joe Papp, a professional cyclist from Cleveland, Ohio. He was a cyclist during his studies and took a break to focus on studies. When he returned to the sport, he found that the races were different and much faster than he remembered. How did he cope with the performance of other athletes? He doped. This EPO drug improved its performance by more than 12-13%. Was it worth it in the end? Obviously not, he explained that his decision to take the EPA had many consequences. He used several justifications for cheating, such as everyone is complicit (everyone does), everyone has a common interest in keeping silent about using drugs to enhance performance by supporting each other (lying to others), and there were social norms surrounding the common use of these drugs within the cycling community. These are all examples of psychological and situational factors that contributed to his fraud. In the end, Mr.
Papp showed results of regret, shame, loss of social status, and loss of trust within the cycling community (and I`m sure his privacy was affected as well).