Social Justice Research

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 189–202 | Cite as

Self-Interest, Automaticity, and the Psychology of Conflict of Interest

  • Don A. MooreEmail author
  • George Loewenstein


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.

conflict of interest dual process self-interest professionalism 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Carnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburgh

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