Nina Mazar: “We want to be sincere“


Humans are good. Certain situations, however, tempt us to act without integrity. Behavioral scientist Nina Mazar explains in her ted talk how circumstances can be changed. In January 2018 Mazar will be speaking at the GDI.

Western civilisations assume that people will forget their moral principles as soon as they gain an advantage. This makes us hypocritical. Additionally, we are very good at making our actions look good afterwards. For example:

  • Many people are in favour of organ donations – but few actually register.
  • Many people wouldn’t steal – a 20 dollar bill though, found on the street, is stuffed right into their pockets.
  • Many people wouldn’t cheat – but try to keep their taxes low by not listing all assets.

To Nina Mazar behaving upon one’s own values is similar to behaving authentic. But how can people be encouraged to behave more authentically?

A possible solution would be to address people personally, as this would make a topic concrete and self-relevant. A personal approach would make people stop and think. Mazar claims that a brief pause would help to become aware of one’s own values and therefore would increase the probability of acting accordingly.

On 25 January 2018, Nina Mazar has spoken at the Academy of Behavioral Economics in the GDI.