Protect Thyself: How Affective Self-Protection Increases Self-Interested Behavior

46 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2014

See all articles by Karen Page Winterich

Karen Page Winterich

Pennsylvania State University - Mary Jean and Frank P. Smeal College of Business Administration

Vikas Mittal

Rice University

Andrea Morales

Arizona State University (ASU)

Date Written: July 16, 2014

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Winterich, Karen Page and Mittal, Vikas and Morales, Andrea, Protect Thyself: How Affective Self-Protection Increases Self-Interested Behavior (July 16, 2014). Winterich, K., Mittal, V., & Morales, A. Protect Thyself: How Affective Self-Protection Increases Self-Interested Behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Forthcoming., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2467034

Karen Page Winterich (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University - Mary Jean and Frank P. Smeal College of Business Administration ( email )

University Park, PA 16802
United States

Vikas Mittal

Rice University ( email )

6100 South Main Street
250 McNair
Houston, TX 77005-1892
United States

Andrea Morales

Arizona State University (ASU) ( email )

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