Out of Character: Surprising truths about the Liar, Cheat, Sinner (and Saint) lurking in all of us. By David DeSteno and Piercarlo Valdesolo (Part I)
Being a Couples / Marriage Counselor the idea of people having good character or being out of character comes up all the time, especially when we are dealing with infidelity. A common response that partners have when they find out they’ve been cheated on is that is so much not like me or conversely that is so much like him / her.
Thinking about character is complicated thing. It is possible that good people do bad things and on the other side that bad people do good things. It is made even more complex when often times we like to think of ourselves as being of good character, that is not being liars or someone who would cheat someone. What adds to this complex issue is how outraged we become when we are cheated, lied to or stolen from.
The authors have cited and conducted numerous studies where people’s character was tested with some interesting results. The bottom line to their findings is that we humans do not always behave in a way that shows that we will always do the right thing. For me, I would like to think that given moral choices that I will always take the high road and so the findings of this book apply to other people, but to be really honest, I’m not always sure that my choices / decisions will always show that my character is a good one The best I can say is that we are all “works in progress” and though we may stumble sometimes, we try to do it better next time.
In my next blog I will talk about how the authors have taken a scientific perspective on good and bad character.