Popular behavioural economist Dan Ariely explains how people can be dishonest and honest at the same time. Rationalization and small actions lead people to accept themselves as good people and feed their ego gratification, even while they may commit small acts of dishonesty.

Ariely explains through the results of science experiments and social psychology, big cheaters and crimes are far less common than we might think – it’s the cumulative effect of many small acts of cheating that really cost our society.

This is a fascinating and fun-to-watch animated excerpt from a lecture, one of the entertaining and informative RSA Animate series.

Learn more in his recent book, “The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty,” and check out this interview with Ariely on the same subject.