The implicit honesty premium: Why honest advice is more persuasive than highly informed advice


Recipients of advice expect it to be both highly informed and honest. Suspecting either one of these attributes reduces the use of the advice. Does the degree of advice use depend on the reason for suspecting its accuracy? Five experiments tested the effect of the type of suspicion on advice taking. We find that recipients of advice discount it more severely when they suspect intentional bias than when they suspect unintentional error, for example, due to the advisor’s insufficient knowledge. The effect persisted when we controlled for, and disclosed, the actual accuracy of the advice; it persisted when participants' own evaluations of the quality of the advice, as well as their desire to receive it, were equally high under both types of suspicion. Finally, we find the effect of suspicion on advice use stems from the different attributions of uncertainty associated with each type of suspicion. The results suggest people place an implicit premium on advisors' honesty, and demonstrate the importance of establishing reputation for advisors' success.

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General