Research output

Frankly, We Do Give a Damn: The Relationship Between Profanity and Honesty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Associated researcher

  • Feldman, G.
  • Lian, H.
  • Kosinski, M.
  • Stillwell, D.

Associated organisations

Abstract

There are two conflicting perspectives regarding the relationship between profanity and dishonesty. These two forms of norm-violating behavior share common causes and are often considered to be positively related. On the other hand, however, profanity is often used to express one's genuine feelings and could therefore be negatively related to dishonesty. In three studies, we explored the relationship between profanity and honesty. We examined profanity and honesty first with profanity behavior and lying on a scale in the lab (Study 1; N = 276), then with a linguistic analysis of real-life social interactions on Facebook (Study 2; N = 73,789), and finally with profanity and integrity indexes for the aggregate level of U.S. states (Study 3; N = 50 states). We found a consistent positive relationship between profanity and honesty; profanity was associated with less lying and deception at the individual level and with higher integrity at the society level.

    Research areas

  • Journal Article
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Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)816-826
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Volume8
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017