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Can Specific Prosocial Goals Motivate Either Kind Lies or Benevolent Honesty?

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title
Can Specific Prosocial Goals Motivate Either Kind Lies or Benevolent Honesty?
author
Hardin, Benjamin
abstract
The purpose of this thesis was to test the hypothesis that, in many situations when honesty is perceived to conflict with benevolence, people tell lies when they are motivated by a short-term benevolent goal, whereas people tell the truth when they are motivated by a long-term benevolent goal. This hypothesis was tested in two scenarios in which the decision to tell the truth is consequential. In Study 1, participants were given an opportunity to deliver negative feedback to an underperforming target. We predicted that participants would give dishonest positive feedback when they were motivated to protect the target’s feelings, whereas participants would honestly provide negative feedback when they were motivated to help the target be successful. In Study 2, participants were given the opportunity to tell the truth about a supposedly random outcome to initiate a conflict conversation with their romantic partner. We predicted that participants would tell the truth to have the conflict when they were motivated to make their relationship stronger in the long run, whereas participants would lie to instead have a more pleasant conversation when they were motivated to have fun with their partner in the moment. In both studies, results did not support our hypothesis. Theoretical and methodological implications of these null findings are discussed.
subject
Benevolence
Honesty
Morality
Motivation
contributor
Kammrath, Lara K (advisor)
Jayawickreme, Eranda (committee member)
Greene, Heath (committee member)
Miller, Christian B (committee member)
date
2023-09-08T08:35:27Z (accessioned)
2023 (issued)
degree
Psychology (discipline)
embargo
2024-09-07 (terms)
2024-09-07 (liftdate)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/102622 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
type
Thesis

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