Ethics, Rationalizations and Human Fallibility

Image of Laptop Computer with Expert Bret Hood Talking on Screen
Course Level
Delivered via
2 Credits
Ethics Rationalizations and Human Fallibility Expert Insights Self Study


Acting ethically seems easy. In theory, an individual can assess a decision, consider the ramifications, and reach a conclusion that conforms with their own ethical code. In reality, acting ethically is a constant battle against your subconscious, reactionary brain.

As a fraud examiner, it is important to understand how your subconscious can lead you astray and how fraudsters fall prey to common rationalizations and justifications for unethical acts. The same issues that lead to ethically dubious decisions can affect you in the course of your investigation. Fraud examiners must recognize these issues, develop ways to deal with them, and help organizations create more-ethical cultures. In this course, Bret Hood, CFE, discusses the blind spots of our reactionary subconscious and the ways fraud examiners can remain ethically conscious. 



You Will Learn How To:

Recognize how our subconscious minds affect ethical decision-making

Describe psychological blind spots that impede ethical decision-making

Develop methods to prevent unconscious biases from impacting ethical decision-making

Table of Contents

Unit 1 Ethics and Our Reactionary Brain (Video length - 17:42 minutes)
Unit 2 Motivated Blindness (Video length - 14:28 minutes)
Unit 3 Indirect Blindness (Video length - 11:32 minutes)
Unit 4 Psychological Distancing (Video length - 13:27 minutes)
Unit 5 Organizational Ethics (Video length - 16:24 minutes)
Unit 6 Insight into the Expert (Video length - 4:59 minutes)

CPE Information

This course fulfills the annual ethics CPE requirement for CFEs. Learn more about the ethics CPE requirements for CFEs.
CPE Credit: 2
NASBA Information: Behavioral Ethics
Advanced Preparation: None
Last Updated: January 2023
Delivery Method: QAS Self-Study

About the Expert

Bret Hood, CFE - Expert


Hood served 25 years as an FBI special agent before becoming a member of the ACFE faculty, as well as an adjunct professor of forensic accounting for the University of Virginia and Mt. St. Mary’s University. During his tenure with the FBI, Hood worked many complex financial crime, money laundering, corruption, and major cases, such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the HealthSouth fraud, and the Maricopa Investments case.


CPE Credit

Please note: To be eligible for CPE credit, you must complete the final exam within one year of purchase date. You may only claim CPE credit for a course once.

ACFE Expert Insights Self-Study Courses


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System Requirements:

  • Internet access: High-speed connection recommended
  • Speakers required for video sound

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, Inc. is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website:


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