There’s new study in the journal of Psychological Science claiming that people are more moral in the morning. The researchers (stretching their creative muscles) have dubbed this phenomena the Morning Moral Effect. What’s most interesting is the implication of this effect on our understanding of decision making and the impact it has on our brain.
In this study, undergraduate students were asked to describe whether dots on a computer screen were clustered on the left, or on the right side. If they said the right side, then they were given a small financial reward, even if they were lying. Results showed that subjects lied 25% more in the afternoon than in the morning.
Lead researchers believe that this is directly linked to “cognitive tiredness,” or the tendency to make poorer decisions when our brains are more worn out. In other words, at the end of a long day of thinking, we lack good judgment, but mankind has known this since the very first one-night stand… so what is the greater implication here?
The answer lies in a similar study showing that subjects are more likely to cheat after making a big decision or resisting temptation. Basically, decisions and acts requiring great self-control or thought take a hefty cognitive toll, leaving us with less brain power to make “good” decisions.
The Main Takeaway
Our brain is like a battery: cognitive power depletes throughout the day as we think more. The more decisions we make, the less we can think, and when we can’t think clearly, temptation doesn’t just come knocking, she barges right on in. Try to minimize the amount of decisions you make in a day and you may just end up making better ones overall.