October 11th, 2014| Topic: RaMbLeS | 2


Ethics and coffee. Java-inspired honesty has just been demonstrated.

Scientists from the University of Washington, University of Arizona, and University of North Carolina have established the moral effects of caffeine! Yup, that’s what we need. More coffee. And we can live happily ever after.

In a new study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, aforementioned researchers show how caffeine aids sleep-deprived volunteers to resist unethical influences from higher-ups.

Coffee fights this lack of sleep and the resulting immorality.

Said David Welsh, a psychology professor at the University of Washington.

When you’re sleep deprived at work, it’s much easier to simply go along with unethical suggestions from your boss because resistance takes effort and you’re already worn down. However, we found that caffeine can give sleep-deprived individuals the extra energy needed to resist unethical behavior.”

All you need is the equivalent of a large cup of coffee to keep you honest, bolstering control over your behavior and helping you resist unethical temptations.

Michael Christian, another prof in the study, from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School asserted:

Caffeine can help you resist by strengthening your self-control and willpower when you’re exhausted.”

The chemical does so by attenuating some of the physiological effects of sleep deprivation. And apparently sleep deprivation contributes to unethical behavior at work by making one susceptible to the dishonest influences of others: lack of sleep adversely affects the functioning of the prefrontal cortex that is involved in self-regulation (aka “executive control over behavior”). Because lack of sleep depletes one’s ability to regulate thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, there is increased likelihood of engaging in dishonest acts.

All of this is described in the article: “Building a Self-Regulatory Model of Sleep Deprivation and Deception: The Role of Caffeine and Social Influence.”

OK, so the bottom line is not about caffeine and honesty, but sleep and honesty. Sleep more and be more honest!

Remarked Welsh:

Employers need to be recognize that today’s employees are working longer hours and getting less sleep. Establishing an ethical code of conduct might not be sufficient if employees are too worn down to align their behavior with organizational standards.”

Yup, sleep more. Or, drink more coffee if you haven’t slept enough.

So the authors recommend that companies do the following for their employees:

  • Provide caffeine in the workplace.
  • Reduce long hours with scheduling, overtime restrictions, and frequent breaks.
  • Avoid scheduling tasks that require a great deal of self-control and ethical decision-making when looming deadlines make long hours unavoidable.
  • Provide workplace napping and sleep awareness training.

I like that. Workplace napping. I’ll have to talk to the powers-that-be at Dallas Seminary.

For, you see, say the researchers, cultures at the workplace reinforce the myth that long hours and not sleeping is effective. But apparently sleep (or coffee) deprivation ain’t good for the individual or for the organization.

Gimme more coffee. And more sleep. Easy morality!

Yeah, right!

In any case, there is no doubt that God delights in honesty in business practices.

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

Indeed, to enjoy divine presence in a special way, to walk in God’s light, calls for integrity in life.

O LORD, who may abide in Your tent?
Who may dwell on Your holy hill?
He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness,
And speaks truth in his heart.
Psalm 15:1–2

“Truthing” is an indicator of Christian maturity:

Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up
in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.
Ephesians 4:15

Wonder why Paul didn’t just tell us to sleep more or consume more caffeine ….


  1. Caroline October 12, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Please do. Talk to the Powers that be. AT DTS. A sofa in every office would suffice. 🙂 C.


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