Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Taking shortcuts: Cognitive conflict during motivated rule-breaking

Pfister, Roland and Wirth, Robert and Weller, Lisa and Foerster, Anna and Schwarz, Katharina (2018): Taking shortcuts: Cognitive conflict during motivated rule-breaking. Published in: Journal of Economic Psychology , Vol. 71, (2019): pp. 138-147.

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Deliberate rule violations have typically been addressed from a motivational perspective that asked whether or not agents decide to violate rules based on contextual factors and moral considerations. Here we complement motivational approaches by providing a cognitive perspective on the processes that operate during the act of committing an unsolicited rule violation. Participants were tested in a task that allowed for violating traffic rules by exploiting forbidden shortcuts in a virtual city maze. Results yielded evidence for sustained cognitive conflict that affected performance from right before a violation throughout actually committing the violation. These findings open up a new theoretical perspective on violation behavior that focuses on processes occurring right at the moment a rule violation takes place.

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