Time vs. Money
Despite what Benjamin Franklin said, time is not money, reports the Economist (10/5/13). In fact, according to new research, time and money are just about diametrically opposed – at least where ethical behavior is concerned. A study by Francesca Gino of Harvard and Cassie Mogilner of the University of Pennsylvania finds that if your mind is focused on time, you are far more likely to behave in an ethical way than if you are thinking about money. The study was based on a test where three groups of people were first asked to work on word puzzles involving money, time or neither.
Each group was then given mathematical problems and told they could reward themselves with a dollar for each correct answer. The test was set up in such a way that the participants believed that researchers didn’t audit their work – so they thought they were free to cheat. Of course, the researchers used hidden codes to identify cheating. The result: "88% of those who had been primed with money-related words in the first test cheated," while just 42% of those "primed with time-related words" cheated. Sixty-seven percent of those given neutral words cheated.
A similar test was given that didn’t involve monetary rewards. Instead, participants were told the test was either to gauge intelligence or personality. Those primed with money words were more likely to cheat on the intelligence test than the personality test. In a third test, half of the subjects primed with money words were placed in a room with a mirror – and cheated just 39% of the time versus 67% of those in a room without a mirror. The mirror had no significant effect on those primed with time words. The results were similar when subjects were asked to evaluate a self-reflective statement such as "I am thinking about who I am as a person," before taking the test.