'Unethical amnesia' could explain some of Donald Trump's forgetfulness

President-elect Donald Trump made headlines last week for admitting that he forgot a campaign promise.

While giving a speech in Indiana, Trump said he forgot he'd promised to save jobs at a United Technologies owned Carrier gas furnace factory. He said he found out about the promise when he saw a Carrier employee speaking about it on TV.

Trump said, "And I never thought I made that promise. Not with Carrier. I made it for everybody else. I didn't make it really for Carrier."

Related: Donald Trump's 'USA thank you' tour

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Donald Trump's 'USA thank you' tour
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump throws a cap to the audience as he speaks during a "Thank You USA" tour rally in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., December 9, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar 
Supporters of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump attend a USA Thank You Tour event at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., December 1, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Supporters of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump attend a "Thank You USA" tour rally in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S., December 9, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Supporters of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump attend a USA Thank You Tour event at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., December 1, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks at a rally as part of their "USA Thank You Tour 2016" in Cincinnati, Ohio, December 1, 2016 . REUTERS/William Philpott
A protester walks out of the U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence at a rally as part of their "USA Thank You Tour 2016" in Cincinnati, Ohio, December 1, 2016 . REUTERS/William Philpott
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence hold a rally in Cincinnati, Ohio, December 1, 2016 as part of their "USA Thank You Tour 2016". REUTERS/William Philpott
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Cincinnati, Ohio, December 1, 2016 as part of their "USA Thank You Tour 2016". REUTERS/William Philpott
Supporters of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump attend a USA Thank You Tour event at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., December 1, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 01: Guests listen as President-elect Donald Trump speaks at U.S. Bank Arena on December 1, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Trump took time off from selecting the cabinet for his incoming administration to celebrate his victory in the general election. (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son speak to the press after meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks at a USA Thank You Tour event at Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, North Carolina, U.S., December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Supporters cheer for U.S. President-elect Donald Trump at a USA Thank You Tour event at Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, North Carolina, U.S., December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Republican presidential then nominee Donald Trump and Ben Carson walk to Carson's childhood home in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. September 3, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/ File photo
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump greets members of the press at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
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Trump had in fact pledged to keep Carrier jobs in the US, rather than let them be moved to Mexico, several times during his campaign.

Now, a Business Insider opinions article is proposing a theory for why Trump sometimes forgets things.

The opinion article cites social science research on what's called 'unethical amnesia' from professors at Northwestern and Harvard.

The research shows some people have poor memories when they engage in dishonest behavior, which the article likens to people making campaign promises.

A Forbes article on the same research gives other examples. It mentions rapper Lil Wayne-- who said in a 2012 deposition that he did not recall pleading guilty to criminal possession of a weapon in 2009.

The researchers say quote: "after engaging in unethical behavior, individuals' memories of their actions become more obfuscated over time because of the psychological distress and discomfort such misdeeds cause."

The Business Insider piece says the way to prevent unethical amnesia before bad behavior becomes a habit, is to reflect.

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