A new study from Columbia University and published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology claims that traveling often can lower your moral character and possibly even make you a cheater.
The study followed 215 students and asked them to do various tasks before and after an international trip at six-month intervals. Interestingly, 30.1 percent of participants cheated on the first exam, but 46.1 percent cheated on the second, and 47.7 percent cheated at the last test. This was just one of several studies that researched the correlation between travel and cheating.
"The present research casts caution on the widespread approbation of foreign experiences, and suggests that a dark side may lurk in these experiences,” the study reads. “While foreign experiences empower people to break mental rules, they may also drive people to bend moral rules, thereby increasing their tendency to behave immorally.”
Well, indeed, travel experience seemed to make these students more likely to cheat... but on exams. Does this really speak to their relationship behavioral patterns too?
“The study correlates traveling abroad with cheating on games, score-keeping, or money earning situations,” says relationship expert and psychologist Antonia Hall.
Again, in the study, there's no direct link to cheating of the relationship sort. But Hall suggests that traveling abroad could indeed lead to these other indiscretions.
“Being in another country can create a feel of being worlds away from everyday life and the responsibilities one normally carries. One might become enchanted with the tone of a new culture, where you know no one and what you do will never be known to others back home," she said. "But I feel this study warrants further more closely tied correlations to romantic infidelity before coming to any conclusions."
Fair enough. So if you're the one in the room with the stamped-up passport... you may be a cheater. But we won't make that assumption official just yet.
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