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1. chinaXiv:202101.00060 [pdf]

Haze Blocks the Windows to the Soul: The Role of Anonymity in the Unethical Effects of Air Pollution

Kailin CHENG; Chuanjun Liu; Jiangqun Liao
Subjects: Psychology >> Social Psychology

Objective: Air pollution is a global concern with both health and psychological costs. Drawing upon the unethical impacts of air pollution, this paper proposes that haze could give rise to immoral tendencies through enhanced anonymity. Methods & Results: Big data analysis of daily web searches across a period of three years revealed that an increase in web searches for immoral words was associated with hazy days. Three subsequent experiments established the causal effects of psychologically experiencing haze or personally experiencing hazy days on immoral intentions and cheating behaviors. Moreover, these effects were mediated by perceived anonymity, intensified by the low visibility in haze. In support of deindividuation, masking, which could boost perceived anonymity, amplified the unethical effects of air pollution. Conclusions: Taken together, these findings suggest that perceived anonymity was a key psychological process underlying the unethical effects of haze. The findings of the study provide insights for researchers and policy makers to tackle the adverse effects of anonymity, especially on polluted days.

submitted time 2021-01-15 Hits1074Downloads249 Comment 0

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