Protect thyself: How affective self-protection increases self-interested, unethical behavior

Karen Page Winterich, Vikas Mittal, Andrea Ketcham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-161
Number of pages11
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Volume125
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

Keywords

  • Cleansing
  • Disgust
  • Emotion
  • Self-interested behavior
  • Self-protection
  • Unethical behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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