Overall, my research examines the dynamics of strategic social interactions where individuals are motivated by both economic self-interest and impression management considerations. In particular, I am interested in how people make decisions about whether to mislead or deceive others, how they respond to others' ethical transgressions, and how they strategically communicate through nonverbal channels. I examine these issues in contexts such as negotiations, advice markets, and other interactive tasks.
ethical decision making
Profit-maximizing motives and impression management considerations can motivate people to provide others with misleading information. My research not only considers how the salience of these motives can cause people to exaggerate and tell outright lies, but also how characteristics of their targets (such as gender) can impact dishonesty.
Kray, L. J., Kennedy, J. A., & Van Zant, A. B. (2014). Not competent enough to know the difference? Gender stereotypes about women’s ease of being misled predict negotiator deception. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 125(2), 61-72.
Van Zant, A. B., & Kray, L. J. (2014). “I can’t lie to your face”: Minimal face-to-face interaction promotes honesty. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 55(1), 234-238.
Van Zant, A. B. Certainty posturing: Evidence of inauthentic certainty in advice.
Van Zant, A. B., Kunreuther, H., & Michel-Kerjan, E. Insensitivity to the unit of analysis predicts patterns in deception about probabilities.
JUDGING OTHERS' ETHICS
In addition to making their own ethical choices, people frequently make inferences about others' moral character. My research examines how these inferences influence evaluations of leaders and impact the negotiation process; it also considers the role of uncertainty and gender in shaping strategic decisions about whether to trust others.
Van Zant, A. B., & Moore, D. A. (2015). Leaders’ use of moral justifications increases policy support. Psychological Science, 26(6), 934-943.
Haselhuhn, M. P., Kennedy, J. A., Kray, L. J., Van Zant, A. B. , & Schweitzer, M. E. (2015). Gender differences in trust dynamics: Women trust more than men following a trust violation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 56(1), 104-109.
Van Zant, A. B., Kray, L. J., & Kennedy, J. A. Deception undermines the subjective value of deceivers and their counterparts in negotiation.
strategic NONVERBAL BEHAVIOR
Though verbal channels are the most unambiguous means of communicating information, people strategically use nonverbal channels to influence others and signal their own motives. My research finds that this has important implications for the communication of certainty, for the process of persuasion, and even for women's negotiation outcomes.
Kray, L. J., Locke, C. C., & Van Zant, A. B. (2012). Feminine charm: An experimental analysis of its costs and benefits in negotiations. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38(10), 1343-1357.
Van Zant, A. B., & Andrade, E. B. Is there a "voice" of certainty? Speakers' certainty is detected through paralanguage.
Anderson, C., Van Zant, A. B., Moore, D. A., & Sharps, D. L. Feigning competence in the pursuit of social status.
Van Zant, A. B., & Berger, J. When verbal persuasion attempts can backfire, and why nonverbal persuasion attempts often enhance trust.