Fraudulent business practices, such as those leading to the Enron scandal and the conviction of Bernard Madoff, evoke a strong sense of public outrage. But fraudulent or dishonest actions are not exclusive to the realm of big corporations or to evil individuals without consciences. Dishonest actions are all too prevalent in everyone’s daily lives, because people are constantly encountering situations in which they can gain advantages by cutting corners. Whether it’s adding a few dollars in value to the stolen items reported on an insurance claim form or dropping outlier data points from a figure to make a paper sound more interesting, dishonesty is part of the human condition. Here, we explore how people rationalize dishonesty, the implications for scientific research, and what can be done to foster a culture of research integrity.
Nina Mazar, Dan Ariely
Submitter: Shashi Seshia | email@example.com
University of Saskatchewan, 107, Hospital Drive, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, S7N 0W8, Canada
Published December 7, 2015
Mazar & Ariely’s paper (1) is of crucial relevance in the efforts to improve the quality of evidence that informs healthcare; our recent publications complement their message (2, 3). We need to reclaim the integrity, dedication and code of honor Sir Austin Bradford Hill considered essential to the practice of Medicine (4, 5), otherwise patients will continue to be placed at risk (6). Mazar & Ariely provide some urgently needed suggestions for reforms.
1. Mazar N, Ariely D. Dishonesty in scientific research. J Clin Invest. 2015;125(11):3993-3996.
2. Seshia SS, Makhinson M, Phillips DF, Young GB. Evidence-informed person-centered healthcare part I: Do 'cognitive biases plus' at organizational levels influence quality of evidence? J Eval Clin Pract. 2014;20(6):734-747.
3. Seshia SS, Makhinson M, Young GB. 'Cognitive biases plus': Covert subverters of healthcare evidence. Evid Based Med. 2015,Nov.26. doi: 10.1136/ebmed-2015-110302. Epub ahead of print].
4. Hill AB. Medical ethics and controlled trials. Br Med J. 1963;1(5337):1043-1049.
5. Seshia SS, Young GB. The evidence-based medicine paradigm: Where are we 20 years later? part 2. Can J Neurol Sci. 2013;40(4):475-481.
6. Seshia SS, Makhinson M, Young GB. Evidence-informed person-centred health care (part II): Are 'cognitive biases plus' underlying the EBM paradigm responsible for undermining the quality of evidence? J Eval Clin Pract. 2014;20(6):748-758.