Dishonest responding or true virtue? A behavioral test of impression management

Ingo Zettler (Corresponding Author), Benjamin E. Hilbig, Morten Moshagen, Reinout E. de Vries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Impression management or social desirability scales have been used widely to assess and control for self-favoring biases in self-reports, both in low and high demand situations. Recently, however, substantive interpretations of impression management scores have surfaced, including the simple but troubling proposition that high scores in impression management scales actually reflect honesty rather than dishonest responding. In line with findings indicating that respondents answer to personality questionnaires rather accurately in typical low demand situations, we herein suggest that high impression management scores indeed reflect true virtues rather than dishonesty under such conditions. We found support for this idea by replicating previous correlations between impression management scores and virtue-related basic personality traits (including honesty-humility), and additionally provided conclusive behavioral evidence: We linked scores on an impression management scale administered under typical low demand condition to behavior in an incentivized, anonymous cheating task. The results clearly indicate that low scores in impression management are associated with more cheating. That is, high - and not low - scores on the impression management scale of the Balanced Inventory of Desirable Responding are aligned with more virtuous, honest behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-111
Number of pages5
JournalPersonality and individual differences
Volume81
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Personality
Social Desirability
Self Report
Equipment and Supplies
Behavior Rating Scale
Surveys and Questionnaires
Self-Control

Keywords

  • Honesty
  • Impression management
  • Social desirability
  • Socially desirable responding
  • Cheating

Cite this

@article{e83e108ceea14749946f1bd2f1bba608,
title = "Dishonest responding or true virtue?: A behavioral test of impression management",
abstract = "Impression management or social desirability scales have been used widely to assess and control for self-favoring biases in self-reports, both in low and high demand situations. Recently, however, substantive interpretations of impression management scores have surfaced, including the simple but troubling proposition that high scores in impression management scales actually reflect honesty rather than dishonest responding. In line with findings indicating that respondents answer to personality questionnaires rather accurately in typical low demand situations, we herein suggest that high impression management scores indeed reflect true virtues rather than dishonesty under such conditions. We found support for this idea by replicating previous correlations between impression management scores and virtue-related basic personality traits (including honesty-humility), and additionally provided conclusive behavioral evidence: We linked scores on an impression management scale administered under typical low demand condition to behavior in an incentivized, anonymous cheating task. The results clearly indicate that low scores in impression management are associated with more cheating. That is, high - and not low - scores on the impression management scale of the Balanced Inventory of Desirable Responding are aligned with more virtuous, honest behavior.",
keywords = "Honesty, Impression management, Social desirability, Socially desirable responding, Cheating",
author = "Ingo Zettler and Hilbig, {Benjamin E.} and Morten Moshagen and {de Vries}, {Reinout E.}",
year = "2015",
month = "7",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.paid.2014.10.007",
language = "English",
volume = "81",
pages = "107--111",
journal = "Personality and individual differences",
issn = "0191-8869",
publisher = "Elsevier",

}

Dishonest responding or true virtue? A behavioral test of impression management. / Zettler, Ingo (Corresponding Author); Hilbig, Benjamin E.; Moshagen, Morten; de Vries, Reinout E.

In: Personality and individual differences, Vol. 81, 01.07.2015, p. 107-111.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Dishonest responding or true virtue?

T2 - A behavioral test of impression management

AU - Zettler, Ingo

AU - Hilbig, Benjamin E.

AU - Moshagen, Morten

AU - de Vries, Reinout E.

PY - 2015/7/1

Y1 - 2015/7/1

N2 - Impression management or social desirability scales have been used widely to assess and control for self-favoring biases in self-reports, both in low and high demand situations. Recently, however, substantive interpretations of impression management scores have surfaced, including the simple but troubling proposition that high scores in impression management scales actually reflect honesty rather than dishonest responding. In line with findings indicating that respondents answer to personality questionnaires rather accurately in typical low demand situations, we herein suggest that high impression management scores indeed reflect true virtues rather than dishonesty under such conditions. We found support for this idea by replicating previous correlations between impression management scores and virtue-related basic personality traits (including honesty-humility), and additionally provided conclusive behavioral evidence: We linked scores on an impression management scale administered under typical low demand condition to behavior in an incentivized, anonymous cheating task. The results clearly indicate that low scores in impression management are associated with more cheating. That is, high - and not low - scores on the impression management scale of the Balanced Inventory of Desirable Responding are aligned with more virtuous, honest behavior.

AB - Impression management or social desirability scales have been used widely to assess and control for self-favoring biases in self-reports, both in low and high demand situations. Recently, however, substantive interpretations of impression management scores have surfaced, including the simple but troubling proposition that high scores in impression management scales actually reflect honesty rather than dishonest responding. In line with findings indicating that respondents answer to personality questionnaires rather accurately in typical low demand situations, we herein suggest that high impression management scores indeed reflect true virtues rather than dishonesty under such conditions. We found support for this idea by replicating previous correlations between impression management scores and virtue-related basic personality traits (including honesty-humility), and additionally provided conclusive behavioral evidence: We linked scores on an impression management scale administered under typical low demand condition to behavior in an incentivized, anonymous cheating task. The results clearly indicate that low scores in impression management are associated with more cheating. That is, high - and not low - scores on the impression management scale of the Balanced Inventory of Desirable Responding are aligned with more virtuous, honest behavior.

KW - Honesty

KW - Impression management

KW - Social desirability

KW - Socially desirable responding

KW - Cheating

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84939957167&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.paid.2014.10.007

DO - 10.1016/j.paid.2014.10.007

M3 - Article

VL - 81

SP - 107

EP - 111

JO - Personality and individual differences

JF - Personality and individual differences

SN - 0191-8869

ER -