People tend to hate hypocrites because they cover up their bad behavior, which sends a false signal, misleading others to think that they are virtuous whereas they actually are not, study shows. The findings showed that people dislike hypocrites more than those who openly admit to engaging in behavior that they disapprove of.
But what makes hypocrites especially bad is that they condemns the moral failings of other people but behaves badly himself or herself. People dislike hypocrites because they unfairly use condemnation to gain reputational benefits and appear virtuous at the expense of those who they are condemning — when these reputational benefits are in fact undeserved,’ said the lead author of the journal Jillian Jordan. People also might dislike hypocrites because their words and deeds are inconsistent with their behavior.
However, the study, published in the journal Psychological Science, proposes a different hypothesis, based on the idea of false signalling. Hypocrites are disliked because they use their condemnation to mislead other people about their moral behavior. Hypocrites also inspire moral outrage because they dishonestly signal their moral goodness that is, their condemnation of immoral behavior signals that they are morally upright, but they fail to act in accordance with these signals.
These theories of false signalling helps explain why hypocrites are often regarded as liars, but, are actually more misleading than liars. Liars, by contrast, avoid moral condemnation and are thus less likely to malign or shame other people. Condemnation can act as a stronger signal of one’s own moral goodness than a direct statement of moral behavior, the researchers noted.