What is it about?

Honesty-Humility is the tendency to behave fair and genuine in dealing with others and to behave cooperating. Several studies indicated Honesty-Humility to be negatively linked to a wide range of unethical behavior, also to the use of mate retentions strategies involving manipulative and exploitive strategies. However, despite the clear existing theoretical links, ours is the first investigation of a potential negative association between Honesty-Humility and dishonesty in romantic relationships. All of our eleven studies with different methodological approaches reliably revealed that participants lower in Honesty-Humility reported increased relationship-based dishonesty. At the end of this paper, we discuss valid signs of low Honesty-Humility scores which can be observed in everyday interactions and which therefore should be considered when choosing a romantic partner.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

The question about which personality factors affect the prevalence of lying in social relationships already provides first insights, but one prime candidate—namely Honesty-Humility derived from the HEXACO model of personality—is so far missing. However, another line of research that reliably revealed Honesty-Humility to be the major factor in predicting dishonesty in economic cheating paradigms does exist in regard to this personality factor. The present work aims to merge both lines of research to check the hypothesis that Honesty-Humility is also negatively linked to dishonesty within romantic relationships. Across eleven different studies we found solid evidence to support our hypothesis. This work points to the fact that Honesty-Humility is one important personality factors when predicting dishonesty in romantic relationships. We gained the impression that individual differences in Honesty-Humility and that trait’s influence on romantic relationships have been neglected in research so far. That said, we recommend that this personality factor be given much more consideration. The lack of previous findings is because most works on intimate relationships only refer to Big Five Models, neglecting the Honesty-Humility factor. As already mentioned, the association between Honesty-Humility and deception has mainly been established in the context of game theory, and social psychologists have refrained from analyzing this factor with reference to social relationships.


The topic of lying in romantic relationships is unique. Many people have been confronted with it. It has possibly changed lives. I am very grateful to be able to do my doctorate on this important topic and to train myself to look objectively at this highly emotional topic. That helps.

Nina Reinhardt
University of Kassel

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Honesty–humility negatively correlates with dishonesty in romantic relationships., Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, January 2023, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/pspp0000456.
You can read the full text:




The following have contributed to this page