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Personal Memories and Social Associations: How Positive Emotions Influence the Activation of Implicit Prejudices

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The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of two positive discrete emotions, awe and nurturant love, on implicit prejudices. After completing an emotion induction task, participants completed Implicit Association Test blocks where they paired photos of Arab

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of two positive discrete emotions, awe and nurturant love, on implicit prejudices. After completing an emotion induction task, participants completed Implicit Association Test blocks where they paired photos of Arab and White individuals with "good" and "bad" evaluations. We hypothesized that nurturant love would increase the strength of negative evaluations of Arab individuals and positive evaluations of White individuals, whereas awe would decrease the strength of these negative evaluations when compared to a neutral condition. However, we found that both awe and nurturant love increased negative implicit prejudices toward Arab individuals when compared to the neutral condition.

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2018-05

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Beliefs about change and predicted future health status

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Beliefs about change reflect how we understand phenomena and what kind of predictions we make for the future. Cyclical beliefs about change state that events are in a constant flux, and change is inevitable. Linear beliefs about change state that

Beliefs about change reflect how we understand phenomena and what kind of predictions we make for the future. Cyclical beliefs about change state that events are in a constant flux, and change is inevitable. Linear beliefs about change state that events happen in a non-fluctuating pattern and change is not commonplace. Cultural differences in beliefs about change have been documented across various domains, but research has yet to investigate how these differences may affect health status predictions. The present study addresses this gap by inducing different beliefs about change in a European-American college sample. Health status predictions were measured in terms of predicted likelihood of exposure to the flu virus, of contraction of the flu, and of receiving a flu vaccine. Most differences were observed among those who have a recent history of suffering from the flu. Among them, cyclical thinkers tended to rate their likelihood for exposure and contraction to be higher than linear thinkers. However, linear thinkers indicated that they were more likely to receive a flu vaccine. The different patterns suggest the possibility that cyclical beliefs may activate concepts related to cautionary behaviors or pessimistic biases, while linear beliefs may activate concepts related to taking action and exercising control over the environment. Future studies should examine the interplay between beliefs about change and the nature of the predicted outcome.

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Date Created
2012

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Prejudice toward atheists: perceived values threat and lack of belief in a moralizing god

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National surveys indicate that Americans hold greater prejudice toward atheists than many other historically stigmatized groups. The religious prosociality perspective posits that people will demonstrate prejudice toward anyone who does not believe in a monitoring and punishing god, including atheists,

National surveys indicate that Americans hold greater prejudice toward atheists than many other historically stigmatized groups. The religious prosociality perspective posits that people will demonstrate prejudice toward anyone who does not believe in a monitoring and punishing god, including atheists, because of the perception that those who lack belief in a monitoring and punishing god cannot be trusted to act in a prosocial manner. The sociofunctional perspective posits that people will demonstrate distinct forms of prejudice toward individuals who present certain types of threats to the group, and previous research suggests that atheists are perceived as posing a threat to group values. In the current study, participants rated targets whose values largely matched their own values more favorably than targets whose values did not largely match their own values. Also, participants rated both targets who believed in a monitoring and punishing god and targets who believed in a god who does not monitor nor punish more favorably than atheist targets. These judgments spanned a variety of measures, including emotional reactions to the target, judgments of target traits, and preferred social distance from the target. Results were consistent with the sociofunctional perspective but did not support the religious prosociality perspective.

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Date Created
2013

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Showing smarts, playing dumb: functional displays of intelligence in mating contexts

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The current research seeks to examine whether individuals display or downplay intelligence in various mating contexts. I hypothesized that both men and women should display fluid intelligence when attempting to attract a potential long-term partner, and that only men should

The current research seeks to examine whether individuals display or downplay intelligence in various mating contexts. I hypothesized that both men and women should display fluid intelligence when attempting to attract a potential long-term partner, and that only men should display fluid intelligence when attempting to attract a potential short-term partner. Contrary to predictions, I find that men perform worse at a fluid intelligence test when motivated to attract a long-term partner. With respect to crystallized intelligence, I predicted that both men and women should display crystallized intelligence when attempting to attract a potential long-term partner, but women should downplay crystallized intelligence when attempting to attract a potential short-term partner. However, there were no effects of mating contexts on displays of crystallized intelligence.

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Date Created
2013

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Testing the domain-specificity of the disease-avoidance and self-protection systems

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An emerging body of literature suggests that humans likely have multiple threat avoidance systems that enable us to detect and avoid threats in our environment, such as disease threats and physical safety threats. These systems are presumed to be domain-specific,

An emerging body of literature suggests that humans likely have multiple threat avoidance systems that enable us to detect and avoid threats in our environment, such as disease threats and physical safety threats. These systems are presumed to be domain-specific, each handling one class of potential threats, and previous research generally supports this assumption. Previous research has not, however, directly tested the domain-specificity of disease avoidance and self-protection by showing that activating one threat management system does not lead to responses consistent only with a different threat management system. Here, the domain- specificity of the disease avoidance and self-protection systems is directly tested using the lexical decision task, a measure of stereotype accessibility, and the implicit association test. Results, although inconclusive, more strongly support a series of domain-specific threat management systems than a single, domain- general system

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2011

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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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Sexual prejudices fluctuate according to active fundamental life goals

Description

Traditional perspectives on sexual prejudice typically focus on the distinction between heterosexual ingroup and homosexual outgroup. In contrast, I focus on an affordance-management paradigm which views prejudices as resulting not from ingroup/outgroup relations, but instead from perceptions of the threats

Traditional perspectives on sexual prejudice typically focus on the distinction between heterosexual ingroup and homosexual outgroup. In contrast, I focus on an affordance-management paradigm which views prejudices as resulting not from ingroup/outgroup relations, but instead from perceptions of the threats and opportunities posed by members of different groups. Past research has demonstrated that non-heterosexual target groups are perceived to pose a variety of threats, including threats to the socialization of young children, of child molestation, of disease, and to values. My research, however, suggests sexual prejudices arise for college students from beliefs that certain sexual orientation groups pose threats of unwanted sexual interest. For young adults, mating concerns are salient and should define relevant threats and opportunities--including those that might drive prejudices. For individuals with different active motivations, however, different threats and opportunities and threats are salient, and so the threats driving sexual prejudices may also differ. I extend my past research to consider how activating different fundamental goals (e.g., disease avoidance, parenting) alters patterns of sexual prejudice. I posit that activating disease concerns will increase prejudice specifically toward non-heterosexuals associated with disease (gay and bisexual me)--but not other non-heterosexuals (lesbians and bisexual women)--whereas activating offspring care will increase prejudice toward all non-heterosexual target groups, as all are perceived to pose socialization threats. To test this, heterosexual participants were randomly assigned to a parenting or disease-avoidance goal activation, or control condition, and then rated their general negativity towards heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual male and female targets. They also rated their perceptions of the extent to which each target posed unwanted sexual interest, socialization, and disease threats. Contrary to predictions, activating parenting and disease avoidance systems failed to affect sexual prejudices. Furthermore, although the pattern of observed data was largely consistent with previously observed patterns, women's attitudes towards gay men in the control condition were more negative than that found in previous studies, as were men's attitudes towards bisexual and lesbian women. Multiple mechanisms underlie sexual prejudices, and research is needed to better understand the circumstances under which alternative mechanisms are engaged and have their effects.

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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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2012

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From beliefs to virtuous behaviors

Description

People may conceptualize God as benevolent and as authoritarian. This research investigates the influence of these God-concepts on prosocial behavior; specifically whether such concepts differentially predict a set of beliefs about the self and the world, volunteer motivations, and intentions

People may conceptualize God as benevolent and as authoritarian. This research investigates the influence of these God-concepts on prosocial behavior; specifically whether such concepts differentially predict a set of beliefs about the self and the world, volunteer motivations, and intentions to volunteer for secular causes. Two studies, one correlation and one experimental, were conducted among college students who were Christians and indicated they believe that God exists. A measurement model of the concepts of Benevolent and Authoritarian God was first tested, and a conceptual path model was then analyzed. I found that concepts of a benevolent God were associated with a benevolent self-identity, perceived moral and religious obligations to help, and a high sense of personal responsibility with a total positive indirect effect on intentions to volunteer - mainly via internal motivations. In contrast, concepts of an authoritarian God were associated with a perceived religious obligation, having a positive indirect effect on intentions to volunteer via external motivations; but also with a low benevolent self-identity and low personal responsibility associated with amotivation (the disinclination to volunteer). Thus, there was a null total indirect effect of belief in an authoritarian God on intentions to volunteer. Future directions including the use of religious primes are discussed.

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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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2013