1st Edition

Behavioral Ethics in Practice Why We Sometimes Make the Wrong Decisions

By Cara Biasucci, Robert Prentice Copyright 2021
    278 Pages 50 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    278 Pages 50 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

      This book is an accessible, research-based introduction to behavioral ethics. Often ethics education is incomplete because it ignores how and why people make moral decisions. But using exciting new research from fields such as behavioural psychology, cognitive science, and evolutionary biology, the study of behavioural ethics uncovers the common reasons why good people often screw up.

      Scientists have long studied the ways human beings make decisions, but only recently have researchers begun to focus specifically on ethical decision making. Unlike philosophy and religion, which aim to tell people how to think and act about various moral issues, behavioral ethics research reveals the factors that influence how people really make moral decisions. Most people get into ethical trouble for doing obviously wrong things. Aristotle cannot help, but learning about behavioral ethics can. By supplementing traditional approaches to teaching ethics with a clear, detailed, research-based introduction to behavioral ethics, beginners can quickly become familiar with the important elements of this new field. This book includes the bonus of being coordinated with Ethics Unwrapped – a free, online, educational resource featuring award-winning videos and teaching materials on a variety of behavioral ethics (and general ethics) topics.

      This book is a useful supplement for virtually every ethics course, and important in any course where incorporating practical ethics in an engaging manner is paramount. The content applies to every discipline –business ethics, journalism, medicine, legal ethics, and others – because its chief subject is the nature of moral decision making. The book is also highly relevant to practitioners across all sectors.


    PART ONE: Why It’s Hard to Be the Kind of Person Your Dog Thinks You Are

    1. Making Moral Judgments

    2. How Emotions Influence Ethics

    3. Moral Action Decisions and Moral Reasoning Flaws

    External Pressures

    4. Obedience to Authority

    5. Conformity Bias

    Internal Biases

    6. Overconfidence Bias

    7. Self-serving Bias

    8. Framing

    9. Incrementalism

    10. Loss Aversion

    11.. Role Morality

    12. Moral Equilibrium

    13. The Tangible & The Abstract

    14. In-group Bias

    15. Implicit Bias

    16. Cognitive Dissonance

    Situational Forces

    17. General Situational Factors

    18. Temporal Situational Factors

    19. Fundamental Attribution Error

    PART TWO: How to Improve Your Chances of Living a Life You’ll Be Proud Of

    20. Being Your Best Self

    21. Rationalizations and Other Mechanisms of Moral Disengagement

    22. Giving Voice to Your Values

    23. Creating a Culture That Makes It Easier to Do the Right Thing


    Cara Biasucci is Creator of Ethics Unwrapped, and Director of Ethics Education

    for the Center for Leadership and Ethics, University of Texas at Austin. For more

    than a decade, she made films for (among others) American Public Television, Discovery Times, New

    England Patriots, National Gallery of Art, and Johns Hopkins.

    Robert Prentice has for 40 years taught business law and ethics at the McCombs

    School of Business, University of Texas at Austin. He is also Chair of the Business,

    Government & Society Department and Faculty Director of Ethics Unwrapped.