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Feelin' Good...And Then Some: A Functional Evolutionary Approach to Positive Emotions in Sport

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Sport is a widespread phenomenon across human cultures and history. Unfortunately, positive emotions in sport have been long vaguely characterized as happy or pleasant, or ignored altogether. Recent emotion research has taken a differentiated approach, however, suggesting there are distinct

Sport is a widespread phenomenon across human cultures and history. Unfortunately, positive emotions in sport have been long vaguely characterized as happy or pleasant, or ignored altogether. Recent emotion research has taken a differentiated approach, however, suggesting there are distinct positive emotions with diverse implications for behavior. The present study applied this evolutionarily informed approach in the context of sport to examine which positive emotions are associated with play. It was hypothesized that pride, amusement, and enthusiasm, but not contentment or awe, would increase in Ultimate Frisbee players during a practice scrimmage. Further, it was hypothesized that increases in pride and amusement during practice would be differentially associated with sport outcomes, including performance (scores, assists, and defenses), subjective social connectedness, attributions of success, and attitudes toward the importance of practice. It was found that all positive emotions decreased during practice. It was also found that increases in pride were associated with more scores and greater social connectedness, whereas increases in amusement were associated with more assists. The present study was one of the first to examine change in positive emotions during play and to relate them to specific performance outcomes. Future studies should expand to determine which came first: emotion or performance.

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2014-05

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Pro-environmental motivation: an evolutionarily informed approach

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Pro-environmental goals often pit immediate self-interest against future communal interest. Consequently, the motivation to behave in pro-environmental ways can be particularly difficult to maintain over time. By framing environmental ills as threats to one's chronic concerns, I suggest that chronic

Pro-environmental goals often pit immediate self-interest against future communal interest. Consequently, the motivation to behave in pro-environmental ways can be particularly difficult to maintain over time. By framing environmental ills as threats to one's chronic concerns, I suggest that chronic motivations, such as disease avoidance, can be leveraged to engender longer-lasting pro-environmental motivation. Specifically, I suggest that three distinct categories of environmental ills should be associated with distinct chronic concerns, and that the mechanisms that regulate these concerns should also regulate reactions to related environmental ills: pollution should engage a pathogenic disgust mechanism, wastefulness a moral disgust mechanism, and framing environmental outcomes as posing safety concerns should be linked to fear and anger mechanisms. Results of four experiments did not lend consistent support to the hypotheses. Neither situationally primed concerns nor motivation-relevant individual differences produced consistent results suggesting an association between the proposed motivations and the relevant environmental outcomes.

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Date Created
2012

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The functionality of risk-taking: mating motivation, relationship status, and sex differences

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Men may engage in financially risky behaviors when seeking mates for several reasons: Risky behaviors can signal to potential mates one's genetic fitness, may facilitate success in status competition with other men, and may be a necessary strategy for gaining

Men may engage in financially risky behaviors when seeking mates for several reasons: Risky behaviors can signal to potential mates one's genetic fitness, may facilitate success in status competition with other men, and may be a necessary strategy for gaining sufficient resources to offer potential mates. Once in a relationship, however, the same financial riskiness may be problematic for males, potentially suggesting to partners an interest in (extra-curricular) mate-seeking and placing in jeopardy existing resources available to the partner and the relationship. In the current research, we employed guided visualization scenarios to activate either a mating motivation or no motivation in single and in attached men and women. Participants indicated their preference for either guaranteed sums of money or chances of getting significantly more money accompanied by chances of getting nothing. As predicted, mating motivation led single men to become more risky and attached men to become less risky. These findings replicated across different samples and measures. Interestingly, in all three studies, women exhibited the opposite pattern: Mating motivation led single women to become less financially risky and attached women to become more risky. Thus, two additional experiments were conducted to explore the potential causes of this effect. The results of these latter experiments support the "mate-switching" hypothesis of risk-taking in attached women. That is, women who are able (i.e. have high mate value) were more risky in order to exit an undesirable relationship and move into a better one.

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Date Created
2012

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My baby daddy is a 10: mate value, sex ratio, and the endorsement of child support laws

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Life History Theory suggests that, in order to maximize reproductive fitness, individuals make trade-offs between allocating resources to mating and parenting. These trade-offs are influenced by an individual's sex, life history strategy, and environment. Here, I explored the usefulness of

Life History Theory suggests that, in order to maximize reproductive fitness, individuals make trade-offs between allocating resources to mating and parenting. These trade-offs are influenced by an individual's sex, life history strategy, and environment. Here, I explored the usefulness of a Life History Theory framework for understanding endorsement of child support laws. This study experimentally manipulated sex ratio, and gathered information about participants' endorsement of child support, sexual restrictedness, and mate value. As predicted, women endorsed child support more than men, whereas men favored greater restriction of child support in the form of required paternity testing. However, in general, results do not support an effect of sex ratio, sexual restrictedness, or mate value on endorsement of child support. Results suggest sensitivity to exploitation in a male-biased sex ratio, reflected by an increase in men's endorsement of paternity testing requirements under a male-biased sex ratio prime. Women, on the other hand, report especially unfavorable beliefs toward paternity testing in a male-biased sex ratio. Although results of the current study are mixed, there remains much to be gained from applying an evolutionary perspective to understanding variability in endorsement of child support.

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Date Created
2013

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An affordance management, life history approach to perceptions of criminal behavior

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Why do social perceivers use race to infer a target's propensity for criminal behavior and likelihood of re-offense? Life history theory proposes that the harshness and unpredictability of one's environment shapes individuals' behavior, with harsh and unpredictable ("desperate") ecologies inducing

Why do social perceivers use race to infer a target's propensity for criminal behavior and likelihood of re-offense? Life history theory proposes that the harshness and unpredictability of one's environment shapes individuals' behavior, with harsh and unpredictable ("desperate") ecologies inducing "fast" life history strategies (characterized by present-focused behaviors), and resource-sufficient and stable ("hopeful") ecologies inducing "slow" life history strategies (characterized by future-focused behaviors). Social perceivers have an implicit understanding of the ways in which ecology shapes behavior, and use cues to ecology to infer a target's likely life history strategy. Additionally, because race is confounded with ecology in the United States, American perceivers use race as a heuristic cue to ecology, stereotyping Black individuals as possessing faster life history strategies than White individuals. In the current project, I proposed that many race stereotypes about propensity for criminality and recidivism actually reflect inferences of life history strategy, and thus track beliefs about the behavioral effects of ecology, rather than race. In a series of three studies, I explored the relationship between ecology, race, and perceptions of criminal behavior. Participants in each experiment were recruited through an online marketplace. Findings indicated that (1) stereotypes regarding likelihood to engage in specific crimes were largely driven by beliefs about the presumed ecology of the offender, rather than the offender's race, such that Black and White targets from desperate (and hopeful) ecologies were stereotyped as similarly likely (or unlikely) to commit a variety of crimes; (2) lay beliefs about recidivism predictors likewise reflected inferences of life history strategy, and thus also tracked ecology rather than race; (3) when evaluating whether to release a specific offender on parole, participants placed greater importance on ecology information as compared to race information in a point allocation task, and prioritized ecology information over race information in a ranking task. Taken together, these findings suggest that beliefs about criminality and recidivism may not be driven by race, per se, but instead reflect inferences of how one's ecology shapes behavior. Implications of these findings for understanding and reducing racial bias in the criminal justice system are discussed.

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Agent

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Date Created
2017

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Investing in Me or You: A Novel Role of the Attachment System in Self and Other Tradeoffs

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Research on attachment in adults began by assuming parallels from attachment as a behavioral system for using relationships to balance the tradeoff between safety and exploration in infants, to the same tradeoff function in adults. Perhaps more pressing, for adults,

Research on attachment in adults began by assuming parallels from attachment as a behavioral system for using relationships to balance the tradeoff between safety and exploration in infants, to the same tradeoff function in adults. Perhaps more pressing, for adults, are the novel social tradeoffs adults face when deciding how to invest resources between themselves and their close relationship partners. The current study investigated the role of the attachment system in navigating two such tradeoffs, in a sample of ASU undergraduates. In one tradeoff condition, participants had the option of working on puzzles to earn either themselves or their closest friend a monetary reward. In the second tradeoff condition, participants worked to earn monetary rewards for a close or new friend. Analyses showed no evidence of attachment avoidance predicting prioritizing redistributing money to a close friend in either condition. While there was no effect of anxiety on prioritizing one’s close friend over one’s self, there was a marginal effect in both prioritizing one’s close friend over a new friend when redistributing money and starting on the close friend’s word search first. Although attachment style largely did not predict earning or redistributing monetary rewards in these two relationship tradeoffs, implications for how these results fit within the broader theoretical perspective are discussed.

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Agent

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Date Created
2018

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Friendship Jealousy: An (Overlooked) Emotion for Friendship Maintenance?

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Friendships make us happy, keep us healthy, and can even facilitate our reproductive fitness. But most friendships are not forever—even when we want them to be. How do people maintain valued friendships? I propose that “friendship jealousy” arises when people

Friendships make us happy, keep us healthy, and can even facilitate our reproductive fitness. But most friendships are not forever—even when we want them to be. How do people maintain valued friendships? I propose that “friendship jealousy” arises when people perceive others as posing threats to valued friendships, and that this response can function to prevent friendship loss and friend defection. In preliminary experiments, I tested predictions derived from this functional view. As predicted, I found, first, that friendship jealousy is calibrated to friend value. Second, friendship jealousy predicts intentions to “friend guard” (i.e., engage in behavior to protect the friendship). Third, friendship jealousy has sex-differentiated features, which are consistent with sex differences in friendship structures and ancestral friendship functions. The present work pits against one another intuitive and functional predictions as to what drives friendship jealousy. Although intuition might lead one to expect greater jealousy when a friend spends more time with a new person, a functional view suggests greater jealousy when that new person threatens to fulfill the same function for one’s friend that one is currently fulfilling (i.e., to “replace” him/her). Preliminary studies revealed that greater friendship jealousy is evoked when friends form new same-sex friendships (which presumably pose greater replacement threat, but lesser time threat) versus new romantic relationships (which presumably pose lesser replacement threat, but greater time threat). The focal experiment explicitly and experimentally manipulates a version of “replacement threat” (whether the best friend “chooses” the new friend over you) and “time threat” (how much time the best friend spends with the new friend). In line with functional predictions, the amount of time the best friend spends with a new friend drives friendship jealousy—but only when direct information about replacement threat is unavailable. Regardless of the time threat posed, participants report high friendship jealousy when replacement threat is high, and low friendship jealousy when replacement threat is low. Results imply that friendship jealousy is calibrated to replacement threat (over time threat). Overall, findings suggest that friendship jealousy might be a functional response aimed at facilitating friendship maintenance.

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Date Created
2018

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Does Genetic Conflict Contribute to Pregnancy Complications and Postpartum Health and Behavior?

Description

Pregnancy is often described as one of the most cooperative ventures that a woman can experience in her lifetime. But when one considers the biological changes that occur during pregnancy, it becomes clear that pregnancy is not as cooperative as

Pregnancy is often described as one of the most cooperative ventures that a woman can experience in her lifetime. But when one considers the biological changes that occur during pregnancy, it becomes clear that pregnancy is not as cooperative as it seems on the surface. The current research uses a genetic conflict framework to predict how underlying conflict between mother and fetus over resource transfers is expected to alter eating behavior and food preferences, and how these changes in eating behavior and preferences should then be associated with certain pregnancy complications. Across two studies, women who had recently had a baby (Study 1) or were currently pregnant (Study 2) recalled changes in their eating behavior during pregnancy as well as any pregnancy complications they experienced during that pregnancy. Providing partial support for the hypotheses, women who reported increased vomiting in response to maternal-favoring foods were more likely to experience preeclampsia during pregnancy. In addition, the results provided preliminary evidence that changes in pregnancy eating behavior were associated with an increased the likelihood of experiencing high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, and infections during pregnancy. Taken together, these studies show that the framework of genetic conflict makes testable predictions about the relationship between eating behavior in pregnancy and pregnancy complications, and that several pregnancy complications that are relevant to genetic conflict (high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and infection) are associated with changes in eating behavior in pregnancy. Future research should continue to investigate how genetic conflict influences the relationships between pregnancy eating behavior, pregnancy complications, and how these associations impact postpartum health.

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Date Created
2022