Why we are nicer and more ethical before lunch

WE are all more likely to commit immoral acts in the afternoon than in the morning.

That’s the conclusion of a new study from Harvard University, where researchers have determined that personal ethics and moral behaviour tend to diminish later in the day.

After lunch, more people fail to resist the temptation of cheating, stealing, and lying.

A newly published paper entitled The Morning Morality Effect suggests we’re more likely to act unethically later in the day. It provides further evidence that self-control is a finite resource that gradually gets depleted, and can’t be easily accessed when our reserves are low.

“Our findings suggest that mere time of day can lead to a systematic failure of good people to act morally,” write Maryam Kouchaki of Harvard University and Isaac Smith of the University of Utah. Their study is published in the journal Psychological Science

“As ethics researchers, we had been running experiments examining various unethical behaviors, such as lying, stealing, and cheating,” she said in a press release. “We noticed that experiments conducted in the morning seemed to systematically result in lower instances of unethical behavior.”



5 thoughts on “Why we are nicer and more ethical before lunch

  1. More than anything, that sounds like a good reason for sleeping in. 🙂

    I’m more inclined to wonder why, if people like these are so clever, they’ve still got to go to school……


  2. Surely it’s well known that a morning cup of coffee sweetens our dispositions and brightens the world? But by afternoon, all those cups of coffee turn toxic and so do we. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. Not guilty your honour. 🙂


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