Honesty-Humility, beliefs, and prosocial behaviour: A test on stockpiling during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Description: Increasing evidence links personality to prosocial behaviour. HEXACO Honesty-Humility, in particular, has been linked to prosocial behaviour when it comes with a personal cost. Yet, evidence for such a link is mostly limited to the laboratory, although social dilemmas abound in daily life. Emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic pose salient conflicts of interests between individual and societal welfare. One example is the run on many basic goods in the anticipation of lockdowns. Such social dilemmas afford the expression of personality traits associated with individual differences in prosocial behaviour. Indeed, across two studies (N = 601), Honesty-Humility was positively, albeit weakly associated with refraining from stockpiling in the past and intentions to do so in the future. Causal mediation analysis shows that this was not due to differences in beliefs that others would refrain from stockpiling. Instead, results suggest that faced with a social dilemma, individuals high in Honesty-Humility may have been willing to forego individual benefit. This provides rare evidence on the relationship between Honesty-Humility and prosocial behaviour in a field setting.

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