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

Abstract

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.

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Correspondence to Don A. Moore.

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Moore, D.A., Loewenstein, G. Self-Interest, Automaticity, and the Psychology of Conflict of Interest. Social Justice Research 17, 189–202 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:SORE.0000027409.88372.b4

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  • conflict of interest
  • dual process
  • self-interest
  • professionalism