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Science!: Locust Swarms and Shoplifting

Lauren Admire | 31 May 2010 21:00
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Shoplifters Are Jerks

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Leicester show that shoplifters may have more than just sticky fingers in common: They are also unpleasant, antisocial, disorganized and unreliable.

Dr. Vincent Egan and postgraduate student David Taylor, show that a person's personality may be an indicator of their tendency to shoplift. They asked 114 shoppers from ages 16 to 80 to complete a personality questionnaire that focused on consumer ethical beliefs, shoplifting attitudes and demographics. Analysis shows that those who were emotionally unstable, outgoing and lacking in agreeableness, intellect and conscientiousness were more accepting of the idea of shoplifting. Of those who completed the questionnaire, 68 had never shoplifted, 30 had shoplifted in the past, and 16 had shoplifted that year. Those who were still stealing items were younger than those who had never shoplifted or stopped shoplifting. Almost all of the active shoplifters were male.

"My results suggest dishonest consumer behavior is narrowly associated with how unpleasant and disorganized you are," explains Dr. Egan. "Separate to this, people who commit fraudulent crimes associated with benefiting at the expense of the seller may simply be younger and more outgoing so they are carried away by the moment."

Source: Science Daily

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