Protect Thyself: How Affective Self-Protection Increases Self-Interested Behavior
46 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2014
Date Written: July 16, 2014
In this research, we draw on the characteristics of disgust — an affective state that prompts a self-protection response — to demonstrate that experiencing disgust can also increase self-interested, unethical behaviors such as cheating. This series of studies contributes to the literature demonstrating context-specific effects on self-interested, unethical behavior. Specifically, we show that innocuous emotion-eliciting cues can elicit a focus on the protection of one’s own welfare, leading people to engage in self-interested behaviors that are unethical. This research provides evidence that the importance of clean physical environments may extend beyond visual beautification of surroundings to include economic behaviors.
Keywords: self-interested behavior; unethical behavior; self-protection; disgust; emotion; cleansing
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