Investigating the Neurological Correlates of Workplace Deviance Using a Rodent Model of Extinction

J. Tabor, Y. Griep, R. Collins, R. Mychasiuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Employee deviance and time theft is an expensive and pervasive workplace problem. Research indicates that a primary reason employees engage in deviant behaviour is the perception of injustice often associated with psychological contract breach (i.e., broken promises). This study used a rodent model to mimic said experience of broken promises and then examined the subsequent neurophysiological changes that lead to the display of deviant behaviours. Specifically, we generated a psychological contract using a 3 choice serial reaction task, then broke the promise, and finally examined deviant behaviours and neurological correlates. After the broken promise, rats had elevated levels of corticosterone and testosterone, engaged in riskier behaviour, and were more aggressive. The most prominent changes in gene expression were associated with serotonin and stress, and were found in the nucleus accumbens. This study highlights the value of pre-clinical models in the investigation of the theoretical tenants of industrial and organizational psychology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17316
Number of pages8
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes

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