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Polish Psychological Bulletin

The Journal of Committee for Psychological Sciences of Polish Academy of Sciences

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CiteScore 2016: 0.33

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Volume 47, Issue 3


When Dishonesty Leads to Trust: Moral Judgments Biased by Self-interest are Truly Believed

Konrad Bocian
  • Corresponding author
  • SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Sopot, Department of Psychology, Sopot Campus, Polna 16/20, 81-745 Sopot, Poland
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/ Wieslaw Baryla / Bogdan Wojciszke
Published Online: 2016-10-20 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ppb-2016-0043


Research has shown that cheating is perceived as immoral when it serves the cheater’s interests, though it can be seen as moral when it serves the interests of the perceiver. However, are such biased moral judgments real, or are they merely lip service? To answer the question of whether biased moral judgments actually inform behavior, the authors asked participants to observe a confederate who either cheated for money or did not cheat, which benefited either the confederate alone or both the confederate and the participating observer. Then, participants evaluated the confederate and, finally, played a one shot trust game with her. Cheating influenced moral judgments and decreased behavioral trust, but this only occurred when self-interest was not involved. When self-interest was involved, participants showed no significant differences in trust levels, independent of whether the confederate had cheated or not. Implications for the dual process theory in moral psychology are discussed.

Keywords: moral judgments; self-interest bias; cheating; trust


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About the article

Published Online: 2016-10-20

Published in Print: 2016-09-01

Citation Information: Polish Psychological Bulletin, Volume 47, Issue 3, Pages 366–372, ISSN (Online) 1641-7844, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ppb-2016-0043.

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© Polish Academy of Sciences, Committee for Psychological Sciences. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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