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Isabel Thielmann

Isabel Thielmann
Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime Security and Law

Ph. D.

About

87
Publications
49,809
Reads
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1,941
Citations
Citations since 2017
74 Research Items
1850 Citations
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Introduction
Research Group Leader of the independent research group "Personality, Identity, and Crime" at the Department of Cognitive at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law, Freiburg, Germany | Interest in personality & individual differences, (un)ethical behavior, cooperation, trust, crime, self-knowledge, personality assessment | Loves challenges | Is addicted to sports
Additional affiliations
February 2014 - September 2014
Universität Mannheim
Position
  • Research Assistant

Publications

Publications (87)
Article
Full-text available
Decades of research document individual differences in prosocial behavior using controlled experiments that model social interactions in situations of interdependence. However, theoretical and empirical integration of the vast literature on the predictive validity of personality traits to account for these individual differences is missing. Here, w...
Article
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Based on lexical studies, the HEXACO Model of Personality has been proposed as a model of basic personality structure, summarizing individual differences in six broad trait dimensions. Although research across various fields relies on the HEXACO model increasingly, a comprehensive investigation of the nomological net of the HEXACO dimensions is mis...
Article
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A recurrent observation in personality judgments is that individuals’ ratings of others’ personalities are positively linked to their self-description, and that such “assumed similarity” effects appear to be trait-specific. However, the extent of and explanations for assumed similarity have been addressed only insufficiently. To close this gap, we...
Article
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Previous research has established that higher levels of trait Honesty-Humility (HH) are associated with less dishonest behavior in cheating paradigms. However, only imprecise effect size estimates of this HH-cheating link are available. Moreover, evidence is inconclusive on whether other basic personality traits from the HEXACO or Big Five models a...
Article
Objective: Among basic personality traits, Honesty-Humility yields the most consistent, negative link with dishonest behavior. The theoretical conceptualization of Honesty-Humility, however, suggests a potential boundary condition of this relation, namely, when lying is prosocial. We therefore tested the hypothesis that the association between Hone...
Article
Populism and beliefs in conspiracy theories fuel societal division as both rely on a Manichean us-versus-them, good-versus-evil narrative. However, whether both constructs have the same dispositional roots is essentially unknown. Across three studies conducted in two different countries and using diverse samples (total N = 1,888), we show that popu...
Article
Objective: There is an ongoing debate in personality research whether the common core of aversive ("dark") traits can be approximated by or even considered equivalent to one of the constructs that have been labeled "Agreeableness". In particular, it has been suggested that the low pole of (what we term) AG+, a broad blend of Big Five Agreeableness...
Article
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Parochial altruism suggests that humans are intrinsically motivated to harm out-groups, and that this is tightly connected to a preference for benefitting their in-group. Yet, there is little evidence for the kind of unconditional out-group harm suggested by this account, nor for the assertion that it would be associated with in-group cooperation....
Article
Zusammenfassung In der Wissensgrundlage der kriminologischen Forschung bestehen gegenwärtig beachtliche Lücken: Es mangelt an wirklich interdisziplinärer Forschung; das Verständnis, wie Persönlichkeitseigenschaften mit kriminellem Verhalten zusammenhängen, ist begrenzt; dem Potenzial neuer Technologien, die helfen können, ein besseres Verständnis f...
Article
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Personality and social relationships influence each other in multiple and consequential ways. To understand how people differ from each other in their personality and social behavior, how these differences develop, and how this affects further life outcomes, we need to better understand the interplay of personality and social relationships. Here, w...
Article
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Individuals differ in how they weigh their own utility versus others'. This tendency codefines the dark factor of personality (D), which is conceptualized as the underlying disposition from which all socially and ethically aversive (dark) traits arise as specific, flavored manifestations. We scrutinize this unique theoretical notion by testing, for...
Article
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Whereas research focusing on stable dispositions has long attributed ethically and socially aversive behavior to an array of aversive (or ‘dark’) traits, other approaches from social-cognitive psychology and behavioral economics have emphasized the crucial role of social norms and situational justifications that allow individuals to uphold a positi...
Article
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Evolutionary Psychology has considered a Fast Life History Strategy (FLHS), denoting an individual’s tendency to invest more resources in proliferation than in child-rearing, to be responsible for the emergence of aversive traits. Empirical evidence for this notion has been inconsistent, however. Herein, we tested whether FLHS is an adequate repres...
Article
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We respond to the comments (https://doi.org/10.5964/ps.9227) on our “Ten Steps” paper (https://doi.org/10.5964/ps.6029), focusing on the most prominent themes: (1) What motivates scientists?, (2) Consensus-building (Is our field ready? May there be adverse side-effects? How shall we do it?), (3) How may institutional change be facilitated?, (4) Div...
Article
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This target article is part of a theme bundle including open peer commentaries (https://doi.org/10.5964/ps.9227) and a rejoinder by the authors (https://doi.org/10.5964/ps.7961). We point out ten steps that we think will go a long way in improving personality science. The first five steps focus on fostering consensus regarding (1) research goals, (...
Article
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Prosocial behavior is crucial for the flourishing of human societies and it comes along in a beautiful variety of expressions. Humans help strangers they will never meet again, they volunteer and donate for a good cause, and they care intensively about their friends and family. The richness of theories, perspectives, and methodological approaches d...
Article
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For decades, a recurring question in person perception research has been whether people’s perceptions of others’ personality traits are related to how they see themselves on these traits. Indeed, evidence for such “assumed similarity” effects has been found repeatedly, at least for certain characteristics. However, recent research suggests that the...
Preprint
For decades, a recurring question in person perception research has been whether people’s perceptions of others’ personality traits are related to how they see themselves on these traits. Indeed, evidence for such “assumed similarity” effects has been found repeatedly, at least for certain characteristics. However, recent research suggests that the...
Article
Individual differences in prosocial behavior have been consistently observed in a variety of contexts. Here, we summarize and critically discuss recent developments in two research agendas on the dispositional basis of human prosociality: a personality approach, proposing a variety of trait concepts and corresponding measures to predict prosocial b...
Article
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In clinical psychopathology research, up to seven traits have been suggested as instances of antagonistic psychopathology. Those antagonistic traits, in turn, are commonly viewed as reflections of low Agreeableness as per the Big Five (BF‐AG). However, specific theoretical differences between antagonistic traits suggest that other broad and basic d...
Article
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Despite the widespread use of the HEXACO model as a descriptive taxonomy of personality traits, there remains limited information on the test-retest reliability of its commonly-used inventories. Studies typically report internal consistency estimates, such as alpha or omega, but there are good reasons to believe that these do not accurately assess...
Article
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Deception of research participants has long been and remains a hot-button issue in the behavioral sciences. At the same time, the field of psychology is fortunate to have an ethics code to rely on in determining whether and how to use and report on deception of participants. Despite ongoing normative controversies, a smallest common denominator amo...
Article
Im Leitartikel „Replikationskrise, p-hacking und Open Science – Eine Umfrage zu fragwürdigen Forschungspraktiken in studentischen Projekten und Impulse für die Lehre“ werden wichtige empirische Befunde präsentiert, die aufzeigen, inwieweit sich die Weiterentwicklung der psychologischen Wissenschaft aufgrund der Replikationskrise in der deutschsprac...
Article
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The study of volitional personality change has received increasing attention in recent years, suggesting that individuals want to change for the better particularly on those socially desirable characteristics that they lack. However, individuals do not want to change for the better on all (even socially desirable) traits alike. In a meta-analytic s...
Article
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Does giving behavior in economic games reflect true prosocial preferences or is it due to confusion? Research showing that trait Honesty-Humility accounts for giving behavior suggests the former, whereas research showing that participants give money to a computer might suggest the latter. In three preregistered, well-powered studies, we examined th...
Article
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The deception of research participants remains a controversial issue in the behavioral sciences. Current ethics codes consistently limit the use of deception to cases in which non-deceptive alternatives are unfeasible and, crucially, require that participants subjected to deception be debriefed correspondingly along with an option to withdraw their...
Article
Full-text available
Gossip—a sender communicating to a receiver about an absent third party—is hypothesized to impact reputation formation, partner selection, and cooperation. Laboratory experiments have found that people gossip about others' cooperativeness and that they use gossip to condition their cooperation. Here, we move beyond the laboratory and test several p...
Article
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Samenvatting De COVID-19 pandemie kan opgevat worden als een situatie waarin een specifieke vorm van trekactivatie plaatsvindt waarbij persoonlijkheid de kans op besmetting met het COVID-19 virus kan beïnvloeden. In dit onderzoek wordt gekeken naar de relatie tussen HEXACO persoonlijkheid en COVID-19 vermijdingsgedrag, dat wil zeggen het omgaan met...
Preprint
Does giving behavior in economic games reflect true prosocial preferences or is it due to confusion? Research showing that trait Honesty-Humility accounts for giving behavior suggests the former, whereas research showing that participants give money to a computer might suggest the latter. In three preregistered, well-powered studies, we examined th...
Article
Full-text available
Models of basic personality structure are among the most widely used frameworks in psychology and beyond, and they have considerably advanced the understanding of individual differences in a plethora of consequential outcomes. Over the past decades, two such models have become most widely used: the Five Factor Model (FFM) or Big Five, respectively,...
Article
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[Invited commentary]. I see great potential in the approach proposed by Rouder and Haaf. First, using an example from unethical decision making, I demonstrate that considering quantitative individual differences alone can make us overlook important psychological phenomena that are only visible at the individual level. Thus, we should by default com...
Article
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The field of prosociality is flourishing, yet researchers disagree about how to define prosocial behavior and often neglect defining it altogether. In this review, we provide an overview about the breadth of definitions of prosocial behavior and the related concept of altruism. Common to almost all definitions is an emphasis on the promotion of wel...
Preprint
The field of prosociality is flourishing, yet researchers disagree about how to define prosocial behavior and often neglect defining it altogether. In this review, we provide an overview about the breadth of definitions of prosocial behavior and the related concept of altruism. Common to almost all definitions is an emphasis on the promotion of wel...
Preprint
Full-text available
Participation in intergroup conflict is often framed as a matter of ‘in-group love’ or ‘out-group hate’. Indeed, theoretical accounts including social identity theory and parochial altruism suggest that such group-based preferences are inextricably linked. According to this view, individuals engage in intergroup conflict, including harmful behaviou...
Article
Social desirability (SD) scales have been used for decades in psychology and beyond. These scales are sought to measure individuals’ tendencies to present themselves overly positive in self‐reports, thus allowing to control for SD biases. However, research increasingly questions the validity of SD scales, proposing that SD scales measure substantiv...
Article
Full-text available
The outbreak of a global pandemic such as COVID-19 poses a challenge for societies across the world. Lacking both vaccination and medical treatment, the only way to combat the spread of a virus in its early stages are behavioral measures, particularly physical distancing behavior. The present work proposes three pillars of individuals’ engagement i...
Article
Full-text available
Prosocial behaviors constitute vital ingredients for all types of social interactions and relationships as well as for society at large. Corresponding to this significance, the study of prosocial behaviors has received considerable attention across scientific disciplines. A striking feature of this research is that most disciplines rely on economic...
Article
Prior research using economic games has shown that personality drives cooperation in social dilemmas. In this study, we tested the generalizability of these findings in a real-life social dilemma during the COVID-19 pandemic, namely stockpiling in the presence of low versus high resource scarcity. Honesty-Humility was negatively related to stockpil...
Preprint
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The HEXACO model of personality is currently one of the most widely-used in its field. While numerous studies report HEXACO facet and domain alpha reliabilities (), few have examined its test-retest reliability (rTT)—a fundamental property of psychological tests. We thus report 12-day rTT of the 100-item HEXACO-PI-R domains, facets, and items and c...
Preprint
Prior research using economic games has shown that personality drives cooperation in social dilemmas. In this study, we tested the generalizability of these findings in a real-life social di-lemma during the COVID-19 pandemic, namely stockpiling in the presence of low versus high resource scarcity. Honesty-Humility was negatively related to stockpi...
Article
Full-text available
In light of the recent rise of right-wing populist parties across Europe, it is an intriguing question under which conditions people agree with right-wing political statements. The present study investigates whether mere labelling of political statements as endorsed by a right-wing populist party influences people’s agreement with such statements....
Article
Unethical behavior is often accompanied by others covering up a transgressor’s actions. We devised a novel behavioral paradigm, the Unethical Loyalty Game, to specifically study individuals’ willingness to lie to cover up others’ dishonesty. Specifically, we examined (i) whether and to what extent individuals are willing to lie to cover up others’...
Article
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Objective: Although dark traits as studied in mainstream personality research and socially aversive psychopathology as studied in abnormal psychology intend to account for the same classes of behavior, their degree of conceptual and, consequently, empirical correspondence has remained limited at best. We aim to overcome this divide by demonstrating...
Preprint
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In February 2020, the Personality and Diagnostics Chapter (DPPD) of the German Psychological Society (DGPs) tasked this group of authors with outlining what should be considered “good personality science”, as a positive vision of how to improve the credibility of research in the field. We argue in favor of working toward greater consensus about (1)...
Preprint
In February 2020, the Personality and Diagnostics Chapter (DPPD) of the German Psychological Society (DGPs) tasked this group of authors with outlining what should be considered “good personality science”, as a positive vision of how to improve the credibility of research in the field. We argue in favor of working toward greater consensus about (1)...
Article
Full-text available
We reflect on Ashton and Lee’s reasoning concerning one of the major criticisms that have been voiced against the HEXACO model, namely, that it merely splits Big Five Agreeableness into two related sub-factors. Although the distinction between Honesty-Humility and Agreeableness is reasonable from a theoretical viewpoint, more evidence on the double...
Article
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The HEXACO Personality Inventory-Revised (HEXACO-PI-R) has evolved into one of the most heavily applied measurement tools for the assessment of basic personality traits. Correspondingly, the inventory has been translated to several languages for use in cross-cultural research. However, formal tests examining whether the different language versions...
Article
Previous research consistently showed a negative link between Honesty-Humility (HH) and dishonest behavior. However, most prior research neglected the influence of situational factors and their potential interaction with HH. In two incentivized experiments (N = 322, N = 552), we thus tested whether the (subjective) utility of incentives moderates t...
Article
Full-text available
The Standardized Assessment of Severity of Personality Disorder (SASPD) is a 9-item self-report screening instrument and was developed to assess personality disorder (PD) severity according to the initial proposal of ICD-11. Our aim was to investigate the psychometric properties of the German version of the SASPD in nonclinical and clinical samples...
Preprint
The outbreak of a global pandemic such as COVID-19 poses a challenge for societies across the world. Lacking both vaccination and medical treatment, the only way to combat the spread of a virus in its early stages are behavioral measures, particularly physical distancing behavior. The present work proposes three pillars of individuals’ engagement i...
Article
Full-text available
People’s general tendencies to view others as cold-hearted and manipulative (rather than affectionate and trustworthy) may explain defection in social dilemma situations. To capture idiosyncratic tendencies in other-perceptions, we collected mutual judgments in groups of unacquainted individuals in two studies (N1 = 83, N2 = 413) and extracted perc...
Preprint
Full-text available
Gossip—a sender communicating to a receiver about an absent third party—is hypothesized to impact reputation formation, partner selection, and cooperation. Lab experiments have found that people gossip about others’ cooperativeness and that they use gossip to condition their cooperation. Here, we move beyond the lab and test several predictions fro...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter outlines how the objective and subjective interdependence structure of social situations can, together with personality, influence behavior. We first review the premises of Interdependence Theory which suggests that six dimensions describe objective characteristics of interdependent situations: mutual dependence, power, conflict, coord...
Article
Full-text available
Individual differences in prosocial behaviour are well‐documented. Increasingly, there has been a focus on the specific situations in which particular personality traits predict prosocial behaviour. HEXACO Honesty‐Humility—the basic trait most consistently linked to prosocial behaviour in prior studies—has been found to predict prosociality most st...
Article
Full-text available
Individuals’ punishment goals depend on the perceived cause of the misbehavior. However, a corresponding attributional model of punishment goals has only been studied in legal domains—but was largely ignored in others, such as the educational domain, in which student misbehavior is a main stressor for both teachers and students. Thus, we investigat...
Preprint
Full-text available
The Standardized Assessment of Severity of Personality Disorder (SASPD) is a nine-item self-report screening instrument and was developed to assess personality disorder (PD) severity according to the initial proposal of ICD-11. Our aim was to investigate the psychometric properties of the German version of the SASPD in non-clinical and clinical sam...
Article
Full-text available
The six dimensions of the HEXACO Model of Personality are most commonly measured via the HEXACO Personality Inventory(-Revised) (HEXACO-PI(-R)), which comes in three versions (60, 100, and 200 items) and is available as a self- and observer report form in several languages. The present study meta-analytically investigates the psychometric propertie...
Article
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Lu, Lee, Gino, and Galinsky (2018; LLGG) tested the hypotheses that air pollution causes unethical behavior and that this effect is mediated by increased anxiety. Here, we provide theoretical and empirical arguments against the generality of the effects of air pollution and anxiety on unethical behavior. First, we collected and analyzed monthly lon...
Article
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The Social Value Orientation (SVO) Slider Measure allows a differentiation between two prosocial motivations: minimizing inequality versus maximizing joint gains. In two studies (N = 1202), we investigated the relation between this suggested continuum from Inequality Aversion (IA) to Joint Gain Maximization (JGM), the HEXACO personality dimensions,...
Article
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Objective: Across all subfields of psychology, it is common practice to use different indicators of allegedly the same personality constructs, resting upon the (often implicit) assumption that the indicators measure equivalent constructs. However, there is a lack of approaches allowing for a strict and comprehensive test of the equivalence assumpti...
Article
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Psychological accounts of dishonesty propose that lying incurs subjective costs due to threatening individuals’ moral self-image. However, evidence is restricted to indirect tests of such costs, thus limiting strong conclusions about corresponding theories. We present a more direct test of the costs of lying. Specifically, if lying is psychological...
Article
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Recent evidence suggests that judgment biases may diminish when a problem is presented in a foreign language. This foreign-language effect has primarily been examined with emotional materials such as risky-choice problems and moral dilemmas. In two experiments, we investigated the effect of foreign-language processing on an emotionally neutral judg...
Article
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According to seminal utility-based theories of norm-violating and unethical behavior, the decision to lie involves trading-off the potential benefits of dishonesty against the potential costs if caught. However, even in paradigms with zero risk of sanctions, individuals do not consistently cheat. Still more strikingly, most of the few findings avai...
Article
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From the perspective of basic personality models, the HEXACO Honesty-Humility factor has yielded most consistent evidence in accounting for inter-individual variation in prosocial behavior in game-theoretic paradigms. However, both the Honesty-Humility scale and game-theoretic paradigms involve a strong reference to money; thus, the observed link m...
Article
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We argue that in addition to the positive effects and functionality of morality for interactions among in-group members as outlined in the target article, morality may also fuel aggression and conflict in interactions between morality-based out-groups. We summarize empirical evidence showing that negative cognitions, emotions, and behaviors are par...
Article
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Over the past decades, there has been considerable interest in individual differences in cooperative behaviour and how these can be explained. Whereas the Honesty–Humility dimension from the HEXACO model of personality has been identified as a consistent predictor of cooperation, the underlying motivational mechanisms of this association have remai...
Article
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Social mindfulness has recently been introduced as a type of prosocial behavior that emphasizes the importance of a skill to see other people’s needs beyond the will to act accordingly. Correspondingly, social mindfulness has been proposed to involve processes of executive functioning and thus of deliberate thinking. In four studies, we tested the...
Article
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Recent developments in personality psychology led to the proposition of two alternative six-factor trait models, the HEXACO model and the Big Six model. However, given the lack of direct comparisons, it is unclear whether the HEXACO and Big Six factors are distinct or essentially equivalent, and whether corresponding inventories measure similar or...
Article
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Current theories of dishonest behavior suggest that both individual profits and the availability of justifications drive cheating. Although some evidence hints that cheating behavior is most prevalent when both self-profit and social justifications are present, the relative impact of each of these factors is insufficiently understood. This study pr...
Article
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Most approaches to dishonest behavior emphasize the importance of corresponding payoffs, thus implying that dishonesty might increase with increasing incentives. However, prior evidence does not confirm this intuition. Strikingly, extant findings are based on relatively small payoffs, the potential effects of which are solely analyzed across partic...
Article
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Under certain circumstances, well-known others (so-called informants) may possess unique insights into targets’ personality traits beyond the targets’ self-views. Specifically, as proposed by the Self-Other Knowledge Asymmetry (SOKA) model, an incremental predictive ability of informants is most likely for traits and corresponding behaviors that ar...
Article
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Despite much research on the determinants of trust among strangers, its mechanisms are understood only rudimentarily. Recently, it has been proposed that people trust strangers because they believe they should, thus complying with an injunctive norm even if it conflicts with their preferences. However, given the boldness of this claim and in light...
Chapter
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Article
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Prior research on the participation in intergroup conflict suggests that pro-social individuals are parochial cooperators who escalate intergroup conflict. However, evidence on this conjecture is currently inconclusive. We provide a critical empirical test of the link between individuals’ pro-social tendencies (operationalized via Social Value Orie...
Article
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Cooperation requires a tendency for fairness (versus exploitation) and for forgiveness (versus retaliation). Exactly these tendencies are distinguished in the HEXACO model of personality which attributes the former to Honesty-Humility (HH) and the latter to Agreeableness (AG). However, empirical dissociations between these basic traits have primari...
Article
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Economic games offer a convenient approach for the study of prosocial behavior. As an advantage, they allow for straightforward implementation of different techniques to reduce socially desirable responding. We investigated the effectiveness of the most prominent of these techniques, namely providing behavior-contingent incentives and maximizing an...
Article
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Trustworthiness is a vital pillar of various social interactions hinging upon trust. However, the underlying determinants of trustworthiness-especially in terms of (basic) personality traits-are insufficiently understood. Specifically, three mechanisms underlying trustworthiness have been proposed: unconditional kindness, positive reciprocity, and...