What Makes A Hero? The Impact of Integrity on Admiration and Interpersonal Judgment


concerning this article may be addressed to Barry R. Schlenker, Department of Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611. E-mail: schlenkr@ufl.edu


ABSTRACT Principled and expedient ideologies affect self-regulation and guide people along divergent ethical paths. A more principled ideology, indicative of higher claimed integrity, involves a greater personal commitment to ethical beliefs, standards, and self-schemas that facilitate positive social activities and help resist the temptation of illicit activities. Two studies showed that differences in reported integrity are related to people's preferences for and judgments of others. Those higher in integrity spontaneously described their heroes as more principled, honest, spiritual, and benevolently oriented toward others (Study 1). In addition, integrity was related to people's evaluations of characters who made ethical or unethical career decisions (Study 2). The judgments of those higher in integrity were greatly influenced by whether or not the decision was ethical but were largely unaffected by the consequences (career success or failure), whereas those lower in integrity were less influenced by whether the decision was ethical and more influenced by the career consequences.