Looking for honesty: The primary role of morality (vs. sociability and competence) in information gathering
Article first published online: 8 MAY 2010
Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
European Journal of Social Psychology
Volume 41, Issue 2, pages 135–143, March 2011
How to Cite
Brambilla, M., Rusconi, P., Sacchi, S. and Cherubini, P. (2011), Looking for honesty: The primary role of morality (vs. sociability and competence) in information gathering. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 41: 135–143. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.744
- Issue published online: 21 FEB 2011
- Article first published online: 8 MAY 2010
- Manuscript Accepted: 19 JAN 2010
- Manuscript Received: 8 JUL 2009
Research on the two fundamental dimensions of social judgment, namely warmth and competence, has shown that warmth has a primary and a dominant role in information gathering about others. In two studies we examined whether the sociability and morality components of warmth play distinct roles in such a process. Study 1 (N = 60) investigated which traits were mostly selected when forming impressions about others. The results showed that, regardless of the task goal, traits related to morality and sociability were differently processed. Furthermore, participants were more interested in obtaining information about morality than about sociability when asked to form a global impression about others. Study 2 (N = 98) explored the adoption of asymmetric/symmetric strategies when asking questions to make inferences on others. As predicted, participants adopted an asymmetrically disconfirming strategy on morality traits, while they looked for more symmetrical evidence on sociability or competence traits. Overall, our findings indicated a distinct and a dominant role of the moral component of warmth in the information-gathering process. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.