So last night, I was watching a lecture video about dishonesty. They’ve conducted an experimental study to determine people’s propensity to lie, and to employ Fudge Factor, an ad hoc quantity used to justify a certain error or incident.
In the conduct of the study, participants were asked to answer relatively easy questions, and were deliberately placed in a time-constrained environment to prevent them from accomplishing the test.
They were then asked to take their papers to the shredding machine and report the number of questions they’ve met in exchange of money. Some reported 6 or 7, others as high as 20.
The thing is: the answer sheets were not shredded at all. And on average, participants were only able to pin down 3-4 questions. The researchers were robbed in the process — but this is, of course, the core of their inquiry. To determine the rationale behind dishonestly, and in the process, to curb the behavior.
The study found that various Fudge Factors play a pertinent role in its existence. Say, those who willfully commit dishonesty tend to justify their behavior: (1) Everyone is doing it anyway; (2) I was genuinely convinced that I was doing it for the welfare of my child; (3) I only took a small amount, unlike the others, which made my action relatively legitimate; and (4) etc.
Findings revealed that, in the macro-settings, the collective total of those who took small amount of money and justify their dishonesty using Fudge Factors is significantly higher than those who took large sum in one go.
This is due to the fact that the number of individuals who genuinely fail to see the grave misconduct in their act due to Fudge Factors is higher than those who recognize their crimes at the onset.
It is interesting.
But it’s more interesting in the micro-settings, especially when you stand witness to it: the Fudge Factors, the dishonesty, the small amounts in small pockets, and the brazen face of swindling.