The interpersonal costs of dishonesty: How dishonest behavior reduces individuals’ ability to read others’ emotions

By: Julia Lee, Ashley Hardin, Bidhan Parmar, Francesca Gino


Lee, J. J., Hardin, A. E., Parmar, B., & Gino, F. (2019). The interpersonal costs of dishonesty: How dishonest behavior reduces individuals’ ability to read others’ emotions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 148(9), 1557-1574. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000639

Abstract:

In this research, we examine the unintended consequences of dishonest behavior for one’s interpersonal abilities and subsequent ethical behavior. Specifically, we unpack how dishonest conduct can reduce one’s generalized empathic accuracy—the ability to accurately read other people’s emotional states. In the process, we distinguish these 2 constructs from one another and demonstrate a causal relationship. The effects of dishonesty on empathic accuracy that we found were significant, but modest in size. Across 8 studies (n = 2,588), we find support for (a) a correlational and causal account of dishonest behavior reducing empathic accuracy; (b) an underlying mechanism of reduced relational self-construal (i.e., the tendency to define the self in terms of close relationships); (c) negative downstream consequences of impaired empathic accuracy, in terms of dehumanization and subsequent dishonesty; and (d) a physiological trait (i.e., vagal reactivity) that serves as a boundary condition for the relationship between dishonest behavior and empathic accuracy. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)