Episode 363: Why People Do Bad Things

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 (Adam Cole)
(Adam Cole)

Traditionally, when we think about bad behavior, we think about character.

But psychologists who study bad behavior — who study, say, fraud in the business world — have found that that character doesn't explain everything. They've found that a lot of unethical behavior can be explained by cognitive errors — errors that affect almost everyone.

On today's show, we talk to a man who started out as a respectable businessman and went on to commit bank fraud involving millions of dollars. This fraud drove several companies out of business and resulted in the loss of around a hundred jobs.

We try to figure out why he did it, and what it means for the rest of us.

Note: Today's show originally aired in April 2012.

Music: Nick Jaina's "All The Best Fakers" and Feist's "The Bad In Each Other." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook/ Spotify/ Tumblr.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright NPR. View this article on npr.org.