Honesty!

May 6th, 2017| Topic: RaMbLeS | 0

Honesty!

You have to admit that we live in a world filled with lies, deceit, and fraud, engaged in by humanity at every level: from the princes to the paupers.

Is there any incentive, though, to be honest? There is!

“Moral Transgressions Corrupt Neural Representations of Value,” say researchers from Oxford and Yale, in a paper published in Nature Neuroscience.

It appears that there is a simple reason to be honest: we feel better about it. Decency trumps deception at a very physical level!

Not only that, but we are more likely to harm ourselves, than others, for gain. We are more considerate of others than of ourselves … because our brains respond positively to such actions.

The scholars studied 28 pairs of participants; in each pair one was randomly assigned to be a “decider” or a “receiver.” The former could make money by giving “mildly but tolerably painful” electric shocks, either to themselves or their paired “receiver.” All this while those “deciders” were in an functional MRI brain scanner. And guess what? A brain network called the striatum responded less to money gained by shocking the “receiver,” than by “deciders” shocking themselves.

Said lead author, Molly Crockett:

When we make decisions, a network of brain regions calculates how valuable our options are. Ill-gotten gains evoke weaker responses in this network, which may explain why most people would rather not profit from harming others.”

Seemingly, there is no deep satisfaction to ill-gotten gains at the expense of others. Yup, crime doesn’t pay.

Added Crockett:

When we make decisions, a network of brain regions calculates how valuable our options are. Ill-gotten gains evoke weaker responses in this network, which may explain why most people would rather not profit from harming others. Our results suggest the money just isn’t as appealing.”

Senior author Ray Dolan agreed:

What we have shown here is how values that guide our decisions respond flexibly to moral consequences. An important goal for future research is understanding when and how this circuitry is disturbed in contexts such as antisocial behavior.”

Of course, the study does not answer why we feel better about honesty, or why that is inbuilt in human nature. It is not far from the truth to assert that honesty is part of humanity, because mankind was created in the image of a God who is Truth.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”
John 14:6

Augustine (354–430) said of God:

… the Trinity, one God, alone, great, true, truthful, the truth!

And God’s word is the Truth:

“Your word is truth.”
John 17:17

The sum of Your word is truth.
Psalm 119:160

Made in the image of this God of truth …

… we have regard for what is honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
2 Corinthians 8:21

In fact, God is disgusted with untruth and lack of integrity.

A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, But a just weight is His delight.
Proverbs 11:1

Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, But those who deal faithfully are His delight.
Proverbs 12:22

Abomination!

And so:

Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices.
Colossians 3:9

Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.
Ephesians 4:25

To God we go to find the truth and to abide by it.

Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth.
Psalm 86:11

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