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Two-Faced Morality: Distrust Promotes Divergent Moral Standards for the Self Versus Others.
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2018 12; 44(12):1712-1724.PS

Abstract

People do not trust hypocrites, because they preach water, but drink wine. The current research shows that, ironically, when we distrust, we become moral hypocrites ourselves. We argue that experiencing distrust alerts us to the possibility that others may intent to exploit us, and that such looming exploitation differentially affects moral standards for the self versus others. Four studies (N = 1,225) examined this possibility and its underlying motivational dynamic. Study 1 established a relationship between dispositional distrust and flexible, self-serving moral cognition. In Studies 2 and 3, participants experiencing distrust (vs. trust) endorsed more lenient moral standards for themselves than for others. Study 4 explored the role of the motivation to avoid exploitation in these effects. Specifically, participants' dispositional victim sensitivity moderated the effect of distrust on hypocrisy. Together, these findings suggest that individuals who distrust and fear to be exploited show self-serving, and hence untrustworthy, moral cognition themselves.

Authors+Show Affiliations

1 University of Cologne, Germany.1 University of Cologne, Germany.1 University of Cologne, Germany. 2 London Business School, UK.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

29804510

Citation

Weiss, Alexa, et al. "Two-Faced Morality: Distrust Promotes Divergent Moral Standards for the Self Versus Others." Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, vol. 44, no. 12, 2018, pp. 1712-1724.
Weiss A, Burgmer P, Mussweiler T. Two-Faced Morality: Distrust Promotes Divergent Moral Standards for the Self Versus Others. Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2018;44(12):1712-1724.
Weiss, A., Burgmer, P., & Mussweiler, T. (2018). Two-Faced Morality: Distrust Promotes Divergent Moral Standards for the Self Versus Others. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 44(12), 1712-1724. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167218775693
Weiss A, Burgmer P, Mussweiler T. Two-Faced Morality: Distrust Promotes Divergent Moral Standards for the Self Versus Others. Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2018;44(12):1712-1724. PubMed PMID: 29804510.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Two-Faced Morality: Distrust Promotes Divergent Moral Standards for the Self Versus Others. AU - Weiss,Alexa, AU - Burgmer,Pascal, AU - Mussweiler,Thomas, Y1 - 2018/05/28/ PY - 2018/5/29/pubmed PY - 2019/6/27/medline PY - 2018/5/29/entrez KW - distrust KW - exploitation avoidance KW - moral hypocrisy KW - moral judgment KW - trust KW - victim sensitivity SP - 1712 EP - 1724 JF - Personality & social psychology bulletin JO - Pers Soc Psychol Bull VL - 44 IS - 12 N2 - People do not trust hypocrites, because they preach water, but drink wine. The current research shows that, ironically, when we distrust, we become moral hypocrites ourselves. We argue that experiencing distrust alerts us to the possibility that others may intent to exploit us, and that such looming exploitation differentially affects moral standards for the self versus others. Four studies (N = 1,225) examined this possibility and its underlying motivational dynamic. Study 1 established a relationship between dispositional distrust and flexible, self-serving moral cognition. In Studies 2 and 3, participants experiencing distrust (vs. trust) endorsed more lenient moral standards for themselves than for others. Study 4 explored the role of the motivation to avoid exploitation in these effects. Specifically, participants' dispositional victim sensitivity moderated the effect of distrust on hypocrisy. Together, these findings suggest that individuals who distrust and fear to be exploited show self-serving, and hence untrustworthy, moral cognition themselves. SN - 1552-7433 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/29804510/Two_Faced_Morality:_Distrust_Promotes_Divergent_Moral_Standards_for_the_Self_Versus_Others_ L2 - https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0146167218775693?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub=pubmed DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -