In a recent Canadian study, researchers asked participants how many people they’d have to ask to tell a white lie or deface a library book before they could get three people to agree to the dastardly deed. In both scenarios, participants overestimated; they only had to approach half as many people as they expected to in order to recruit three willing accomplices. The researchers say this demonstrates that we don’t appreciate the power of our own negative influence—nor how much easier it can be to go along with a dishonest plan than say “no.”

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