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Taking shortcuts: Cognitive conflict during motivated rule-breaking

Roland Pfister, Robert Wirth, Lisa Weller, Anna Foerster and Katharina A. Schwarz

Journal of Economic Psychology, 2019, vol. 71, issue C, 138-147

Abstract: Deliberate rule violations have typically been addressed from a motivational perspective that asked whether or not agents decide to violate rules based on contextual factors and moral considerations. Here we complement motivational approaches by providing a cognitive perspective on the processes that operate during the act of committing an unsolicited rule violation. Participants were tested in a task that allowed for violating traffic rules by exploiting forbidden shortcuts in a virtual city maze. Results yielded evidence for sustained cognitive conflict that affected performance from right before a violation throughout actually committing the violation. These findings open up a new theoretical perspective on violation behavior that focuses on processes occurring right at the moment a rule violation takes place.

Keywords: Rule breaking; Optimizing violations; Cognitive conflict; Cheating (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 D81 D91 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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