Politicians and trustworthiness: Acting contrary to self-interest enhances trustworthiness

David J.Y. Combs, Peggy S. Keller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Trustworthiness is an important characteristic for politicians to possess. However, politicians are perceived as manifestly untrustworthy. One way politicians might build trustworthiness is to behave in a manner that seems contrary to self-interest. Three studies examined whether acting contrary to self-interest can help build trustworthiness. In each study, participants reacted to political content in which a politician acted contrary to self-interest (praised an opponent) or acted in a more common and self-serving manner (e.g., attacked opponent or praised the self). Participants perceived the candidate who acted contrary to self-interest as more trustworthy than candidates who acted in a more self-serving manner. Participants were also more willing to consider voting for such a candidate. These results were not constrained by party affiliation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-339
Number of pages12
JournalBasic and Applied Social Psychology
Volume32
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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