Your Cheatin' Heart: How Emotional Intelligence and Selfishness Impact the Incidence of Consumer Fraud

Jonathan Hasford, Blair Kidwell, David M. Hardesty, Adam Farmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Consumers routinely engage in fraudulent behaviors toward companies including returning products under false pretenses, lying when making insurance claims, and committing petty theft. However, research has been relatively limited in examining the psychological mechanisms that contribute to such behavior. Based on dual-processing models of morality, differences in an individual's emotional intelligence and selfishness are predicted to impact the likelihood of committing consumer fraud. In a departure from previous research highlighting the prosocial benefits of emotional intelligence, seven studies show that consumers with higher levels of emotional intelligence and greater selfishness are more likely to commit fraud. Highly selfish and emotionally intelligent consumers possess the motivation and ability to suppress feelings of embarrassment that normally deter consumers from committing various routine, less severe forms of consumer fraud.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-131
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Journal of Consumer Research, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • consumer fraud
  • embarrassment
  • emotional intelligence
  • selfishness
  • theft

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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