Self-Interest, Automaticity, and the Psychology of Conflict of Interest
- Cite this article as:
- Moore, D.A. & Loewenstein, G. Social Justice Research (2004) 17: 189. doi:10.1023/B:SORE.0000027409.88372.b4
This paper argues that self-interest and concern for others influence behavior through different cognitive systems. Self-interest is automatic, viscerally compelling, and often unconscious. Understanding one's ethical and professional obligations to others, in contrast, often involves a more thoughtful process. The automatic nature of self-interest gives it a primal power to influence judgment and make it difficult for people to understand its influence on their judgment, let alone eradicate its influence. This dual-process view offers new insights into how conflict of interest operate and it suggests some new avenues for addressing them or limiting some of their greatest dangers.