Optimism, pessimism, mood swings and dishonest behavior

Erez Siniver, Gideon Yaniv

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present paper reports the results of two experimental studies designed to examine the effects of optimism, pessimism, and mood swings on dishonest behavior. In Study 1, optimistic and pessimistic moods were exogenously induced to two classes of economics students who subsequently performed the die-under-the-cup task. Subjects experiencing an optimistic mood were found to exhibit greater dishonesty than those experiencing a pessimistic mood. In Study 2, economics students were asked, before and after taking a much-feared exam, to indicate on an optimism/pessimism mood scale how they felt about their success in it, subsequently performing the die-under-the-cup task. Dishonesty was found to be positively (negatively) correlated with post-exam optimism (pessimism) as well as with mood upswings (downswings) occurring between the post and pre-exam points of time. A side study ruled out the possibility that post-exam optimism induced a sense of entitlement which could have driven greater dishonesty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-63
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Economic Psychology
Volume72
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2019

Keywords

  • 2260
  • 2340
  • 2360
  • Dishonest behavior
  • Mood swings
  • Optimism
  • Pessimism

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