Do you consider yourself an ethical person? Chances are you answered "yes," but new research suggests that our ability to act honestly in a given situation is dependent, in part, on the time of day. A study forthcoming in the journal Psychological Science finds that early-risers, or "larks," are more likely to act dishonestly in the late evening hours. Night-owls, on the other hand, exhibit a tendency toward ethical lapses early in the morning.
Most of us are hard-wired to go to sleep and wake up at certain times of day. Some of us are early-to-bed-and-early-to-risers, while others prefer to stay up late and wake up late. Many of us fall somewhere in between. Researchers refer to this preference for sleep times as our "chronotype."
Chronotype is "largely determined genetically," explains Sunita Sah, one of the authors of the Psychological Science study. "But it can change over time. Teen-agers and students might find their chronotype shifts as they get older." But it's quite difficult to deliberately reset your body's sleep clock in a short period of time, as any new parent knows.