Episode 363: Why People Do Bad Things : Planet Money We sit down with a psychologist and a mortgage broker who committed large-scale fraud to try to figure out why respectable people commit fraud.
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Episode 363: Why People Do Bad Things

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Episode 363: Why People Do Bad Things

Episode 363: Why People Do Bad Things

Episode 363: Why People Do Bad Things

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/419543470/419567710" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Adam Cole
An illustration by Adam Cole
Adam Cole

Traditionally, when we think about bad behavior, we think about character.

But psychologists who study bad behavior — who study, say, fraud in the business world — have found that that character doesn't explain everything. They've found that a lot of unethical behavior can be explained by cognitive errors — errors that affect almost everyone.

On today's show, we talk to a man who started out as a respectable businessman and went on to commit bank fraud involving millions of dollars. This fraud drove several companies out of business and resulted in the loss of around a hundred jobs.

We try to figure out why he did it, and what it means for the rest of us.

Note: Today's show originally aired in April 2012.

Music: Nick Jaina's "All The Best Fakers" and Feist's "The Bad In Each Other." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook/ Spotify/ Tumblr.