The New York Times brings us evidence that "the ability to look the other way, while potentially destructive, is also critically important to forming and nourishing close relationships." Gotcha. But what about this tidbit?
In a series of recent studies, a team of researchers led by Peter H. Kim of the University of Southern California and Donald L. Ferrin of the University of Buffalo, now at Singapore Management University, had groups of business students rate the trustworthiness of a job applicant after learning that the person had committed an infraction at a previous job. Participants watched a film of a job interview in which the applicant was confronted with the problem and either denied or apologized for it.
If the infraction was described as a mistake and the applicant apologized, viewers gave him the benefit of the doubt and said they would trust him with job responsibilities. But if the infraction was described as fraud and the person apologized, viewers' trust evaporated—and even having evidence that he had been cleared of misconduct did not entirely restore that trust.
"We concluded there is this skewed incentive system," Dr. Kim said. "If you are guilty of an integrity-based violation and you apologize, that hurts you more than if you are dishonest and deny it."
From the perspective of politics, that's... pretty depressing.