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Roundtable Discussion: Rethinking Research on Honesty Using a New Conceptual Framework
In this 90-minute roundtable discussion, we argue that our knowledge of honesty has remained limited despite the explosion of research on dishonesty over the past 15 years. We contend that studying lying, cheating, and unethical decision-making is not the same as studying honesty. Instead, we put forth a new framework to define honesty and organize future research. In our framework, honesty is composed of three distinct components: (1) communicating truthfully (belief-speaking), (2) seeking out truthful information (truth-seeking), and (3) attempting to foster true beliefs in others (fostering understanding). Taya Cohen and Emma Levine will begin our discussion by elaborating on this new definition of honesty (15 minutes). Then, our panelists will discuss each of these components in greater depth, based on their own research, in an effort to identify fruitful avenues for future work. First, Maurice Schweitzer will speak about strategic forms of belief-speaking that may help avoid negative repercussions of honest disclosures, such as paltering and deception (10-15 minutes). Next, Daniel Effron will discuss motivated belief formation and obstacles to the truth-seeking process, such as encounters with misinformation (10-15 minutes). Finally, Julia Minson and Juliana Schroeder will discuss research related to successfully fostering understanding in others, which is a necessary, but often overlooked, component of honesty (20-25 minutes). Elizabeth Huppert and Binyamin Cooper will facilitate questions in relation to each component and conclude the roundtable discussion with a focus on both the theoretical and practical implications of this new honesty framework for the field of conflict management (15 minutes).