Behavioral Ethics Meets Legal Ethics
Posted: 11 Nov 2015
Date Written: November 2015
Research on behavioral ethics is flourishing, providing new insight into the cognitive, situational, and social factors that influence ethical decisions. Although many common approaches to dealing with legal ethics assume that unethical behavior is a result of conscious decision making driven by economic self-interest, the psychology of behavioral ethics makes clear that ethical decision making is far more complex than bad actors making conscious decisions to act unethically for their own economic advancement. This article reviews recent work on behavioral ethics, bringing together research findings about cognitive and social factors that influence ethical decision making and focusing on those with particular application to the legal context. The ethical issues faced by lawyers provide a rich context within which to apply the findings of existing research and to conduct new research that explores both the unexceptional and unique structures and pressures on ethical decision making in legal practice.
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