The influence of shame on deceptive behavior: The role of self-control
FAN Wei1,REN Mengmeng1,XIAO Junze1,JIAN Zengdan1,DU Xiaoming1,FU Xiaolan2,3()
1. Cognition and Human Behavior Key Laboratory of Hunan Province, Hunan Normal University, Changsha 410081, China 2. State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101 China 3. Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101 China
Shame, as a typical moral emotion, has an influence on individual behavior that is both complex and controversial. Previous studies have found that shame produces both an unpleasant experience and a moral emotion that encourages individuals to produce positive behaviors. In recent years, Hooge’s research has proceeded from the perspective of motivation. He believes that, no matter how shame makes individuals perform, their motivation is to restore and protect the damaged self. Therefore, based on Hooge's theory, this research will examine this typical immoral behavior as an example to discuss the impact of shame upon it and its ways.
In this study, students from a university were randomly selected as participants, and the number of each experiment’s participants was arranged according to the experimental requirements. Questionnaires and behavioral experiments were used throughout the experiment, and the experimental procedures were completed in accordance with the regulations of each experiment. The requirements for each experiment were different and the procedures for conducting the experiment were different. The statistical methods of the study were also based on the requirements of each experiment.
Experiment 1 examines whether shame has an effect on deceptive behavior. Its results show that the number and tendency of deception in the shamed group were significantly lower than in the control group. To more fully explore the impact of shame on deceptive behavior in different contexts, Experiment 2 improved upon the deficiencies of Experiment 1 and divided shame situations into two types: moral anomie and lack of ability. It was found that the number of deceptions in the moral anomie shamed group was significantly lower than that in the control group, and the number of deceptions in the lack of ability shamed group was significantly higher than that in the control group. To examine the specific methods and mechanisms of shame in affecting deception, we propose that shamed individuals increase their self-control resources and, thus, reduce the theory of fraud. Experiment 3a examined the impact of shame on self-control resources and found that the self-control resources of the shamed group were significantly higher than those of the control group. Experiment 3b explored the specific mechanisms of shame affecting deceptive behavior. It was found that self-control resources played a complete mediating role in the process of shame in affecting deception.
In summary, these findings suggest that shame can deter deception under certain conditions. The condition is that shame is caused by moral disorder rather than lack of ability; the mechanism of shame in affecting behavior may be: Individuals who feel shame will restore and protect the damaged moral self by mobilizing more self-control resources to influence behavior.
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FAN Wei,REN Mengmeng,XIAO Junze,JIAN Zengdan,DU Xiaoming,FU Xiaolan. (2019). The influence of shame on deceptive behavior: The role of self-control. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 51(9), 992-1006.
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