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Faculty & Research


Organizational Costs of Compensating for Mind-Body Dissonance Through Conspiracies and Superstitions

Journal Article
Maintaining physical expressions that contradict one’s internal states creates stress and burnout. Surprisingly, little is known about whether such incongruence affects organizationally relevant cognitive consequences. The authors propose that mind-body dissonance (MBD), a control-diminishing experience wherein the mind and body undergo contradictory states, increases compensatory illusory pattern perception (IPP) and jeopardizes decisions and trusting behavior. Experiments 1 and 2 found that being induced to display bodily expressions that contradict one’s emotions in a mental-physical coordination or customer service context, increased IPP in the form of conspiratorial and superstitious thinking. Experiment 3 found that MBD reduced trusting behavior through feelings of lacking control and conspiratorial thinking in serial. Finally, examining the mechanism through a moderation design, Experiment 4 found that misattributing feelings of lacking control to an external stimulus eliminated MBD’s effect on a superstition-related managerial decision. The authors discuss the value of this motivational approach in understanding MBD’s organizational implications.

Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour