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Getting high on lies

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Posted at 7:07 AM, Sep 10, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-10 09:07:50-04

(CNN)– Are you doing something wrong — like cheating or cutting corners dishonestly — to get ahead? There’s some interesting new research suggests that we get a little thrill from these unethical acts, no matter how small.

Its been called a “cheaters high.” New information shows that for a lot of us, we get a little mood boost when we don’t play fair.

The new study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psycology, concludes that — at least in the short term– being deceitful brings delight.

The researchers gave participants the opportunity to cheat — on things like word games and puzzles. Some were offered money in exchange for cheating. Up to half ended up cheating and most of the participants said they felt better afterwards than those who were honest.

The new research contradicts other studies which had previously shown that doing something dishonest makes people feel bad about themselves.

The resarchers say the difference could be that this study only looked at the immediate effects of cheating. They believe, perhaps, that cheating creates what they dub a “short lived euphoria.” Over time that may turn into guilt.

But here’s more — this research also shows the high you get by cheating could prompt more cheating, what the researchers call a “vicious cycle of increasing dishonesty.”