uit: Association for Psychological Science (2010, March 1). Darkness increases dishonest behavior, study shows. ScienceDaily.
New research in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, shows that darkness may also induce a psychological feeling of illusory anonymity, just as children playing "hide and seek" will close their eyes and believe that other cannot see them, the experience of darkness, even one as subtle as wearing a pair of sunglasses, triggers the belief that we are warded from others' attention and inspections.
Across all three experiments, darkness had no bearing on actual anonymity, yet it still increased morally questionable behaviors. The researchers suggest that the experience of darkness may induce a sense of anonymity that is disproportionate from actual anonymity in a given situation. Zhong explains, "Imagine that a person alone in a closed room is deciding whether to lie to a total stranger in an email. Clearly, whether the room is well-lit or not would not affect the person's actual level of anonymity. Nevertheless, darkness may license unethical behavior in such situations."