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Viewing Pornography Increases Unethical Behavior, According to New Research

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Two quick questions, both potentially embarrassing: Have you watched any porn today? And, aside from indulging in that naughty pleasure, have you done anything unethical?

New research suggests that an affirmative answer to the first question makes it more likely you also answered yes to the second.

Researchers from Brigham Young University offer evidence that the more porn a person is exposed to, the more likely he or she is to act in an unscrupulous manner. This finding appears to reflect that viewing such material leads the viewer to dehumanize others, which presumably makes it easier to cheat or steal from them.

Viewing porn can lead to “increased moral disengagement,” conclude researchers Nathan Mecham, Melissa Lewis-Western, and David Wood. Their study is published in the Journal of Business Ethics.

The researchers describe two experiments, the first of which featured 1,083 adult participants—a representative sample of the United States population. They read a scenario in which they purchased an expensive chair from a local store, but damaged it “through [their] own misuse” while transporting it home. Using a one-to-five scale, participants indicated how likely they were to lie to the store owner and claim the issue had been “a defect in manufacturing” so they could get their money back.

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Thanks !

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