Behavior analysis: State Versus Trait studies.

We meet every other Sunday and “shoot the breeze” at a JCC breakfest, liberals, conservative and in-between, some are serious folks and some like to tell jokes. For the serious ones an issue came up today that I would characterize as: Why some bad people behave good and some good people behave bad. I said, “Go to Google and type STATE VERSUS TRAIT studies.” Here is a short summary so you won’t have to spend hours to figure out the findings:

The first study of a series of State Versus Trait studies found out that if you seat “A” students who never cheated on an exam next to students who cheated on exams, noncheaters will cheat on the exam if the trusting teacher announced a surprise test and left the room! Today, after many studies of the sort, it is an established fact that HONESTY IS SITUATIONAL AND NOT A TRAIT!

This didn’t come up in the lively JCC discussion, but let me tell you a little secret about Traits. They are usually activated in your personality only when the situation is right. So you never have to worry about alcoholism, drug abuse, violence, gluttony, rape, suicide, homicide, or lying to your teeth if you are alone on an island or you live in a perfect community. Take the best psychological test of Traits (cost $300) and find out yours. Let me put you to work, it’s called the EPPS. Go to Google again. Have a psychological week. At your service, Dr. Elior kinarthy. Shalom.

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