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Out of Character: Surprising truths about the Liar, Cheat, Sinner (and Saint) lurking in all of us.  By David DeSteno and Piercarlo Valdesolo (Part II)

DeSteno and Valdesolo in their book talk about how we are in a constant battle with ourselves sometimes andwe act like a “grasshopper” in that we are concerned with short term results and sometimes we are influenced like the “ant” which is “considering” the long term implications.

The authors maintain and illustrate, through a wide variety of social psychological studies, how character varies with emotions and situations, for example when we are angry or pressured we are less likely to behave in way that would show that we have good character. The book points out that our reactions will also change based on recent experience.  To make this point, the authors refer to a Saturday Night Live skit, when people to responded differently than those who had not seen the skit.

DeSteno and Valdesolo demonstrate how we sometimes do “the right thing” because we feel like we should not be cause we think we should. In this instance we look to our feelings to guide us. They then point out how people “reason themselves” into behaving in an ethical manner. The point here is that character sometimes comes from our emotions and sometimes comes from the logical part of our brains

In my next blog I will talk about other things that influence our character, that once it is discussed, it will become evident that many more things than we might have initially thought influences our character.

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