Love watching movies with violent content? You may be more likely to lie, cheat or steal, according to a new study which found that exposure to violence could make people less ethical. The study found that exposure to human violence is strongly linked to an increase in cheating for monetary gain.
Josh Gubler, professor at Brigham Young University (BYU) in US, and David Wood, professor at the Marriott School of Management at BYU, carried out three experiments with roughly 1,000 participants for the study. In the first experiment, participants were paid to review sentences and edit those with mistakes. Half of the participants were given sentences with violent language.
Subjects were told they would be paid whether or not they were correct, providing an incentive to mark all sentences “correct” to earn money quicker. Those who reviewed violent sentences were 24% more likely to cheat.
In another experiment, participants were hired to watch and evaluate movie clips. They were told they needed to watch the entirety of all the clips to be paid.
One clip consisted of 10 minutes of a blue screen with a monotone voice over. The researchers found those who viewed violent movie clips were more likely to lie about watching all the videos.
While both male and female test subjects responded to violently worded media, only the men’s ethics were negatively influenced by violent videos.