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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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Self-conscious cooperation: implications of a functional approach to emotions for behavior in social dilemmas

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As the world's resources face increasing pressure from a growing population, it is critical that psychologists understand the motivational processes that lead to cooperation or defection in the context of social dilemmas. Research has uncovered several key strategies for encouraging

As the world's resources face increasing pressure from a growing population, it is critical that psychologists understand the motivational processes that lead to cooperation or defection in the context of social dilemmas. Research has uncovered several key strategies for encouraging maintenance of these resources, however, one area that remains understudied is the effect various emotions may have on cooperation. Furthermore, it is important to consider the specific type of desired behavior: reduction of consumption of a shared resource, or increased contribution to a shared resource. The current study takes a step in this direction, examining the effects of two self-conscious emotions, guilt and pride, on behavior in two different kinds of social dilemmas. Guilt, a prosocial emotion that has been described as a "behavioral interrupt mechanism," is predicted to increase cooperation in both a social trap game and a public goods dilemma game. However, its effects should be strongest in the social trap game, in which the desired behavior is reduced consumption. Pride, an emotion that is conceptually related to the constructs of status and power, is predicted to motivate action in both domains, by increasing both consumption in the social trap game and contribution in the public goods dilemma game. Results partially support these predictions: Whereas guilt and pride both had the predicted effects on consumption in the social trap game, neither had a significant effect on contribution in the public goods dilemma game. Individual differences are examined, as are the results of a Game Feedback Sheet, which yielded insight as to how participants understood the rules of the games, and why they chose the strategies they did. Results support the idea that emotions represent a potentially fruitful avenue of research in social dilemma cooperation, and possible future directions for this research are discussed.

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Date Created
2012

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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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Agent

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Date Created
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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Agent

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Date Created
2012

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The effectiveness of reciprocity appeals in economic booms and busts

Description

Reciprocity is considered one of the most potent weapons of social influence. Yet, little is known about when reciprocity appeals are more or less effective. A functional evolutionary approach suggests that reciprocity helps people survive in resource-scarce environments: When resources

Reciprocity is considered one of the most potent weapons of social influence. Yet, little is known about when reciprocity appeals are more or less effective. A functional evolutionary approach suggests that reciprocity helps people survive in resource-scarce environments: When resources are limited, a person may not be able to obtain enough resources on their own, and reciprocal relationships can increase the odds of survival. If true, people concerned about resource scarcity may increasingly engage in reciprocal relationships and feel more compelled to reciprocate the favors done for them by others. In a series of experiments, I test this hypothesis and demonstrate that: (1) chronic concerns about resource scarcity (low socioeconomic status) predict increased reciprocity, (2) experimentally activating resource scarcity enhances the effectiveness of reciprocity appeals, (3) this effect is moderated by cues of persuasive intent, and (4) this relationship is mediated by increased gratitude.

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Date Created
2014

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Expert in the language of fear: stigmatized targets' perception of others' emotion-specific prejudice

Description

This project uses a functional approach to understand how members of stigmatized groups perceive emotional expressions on others' faces. The project starts from the premise that different groups are seen to pose different threats to others, and thus different groups

This project uses a functional approach to understand how members of stigmatized groups perceive emotional expressions on others' faces. The project starts from the premise that different groups are seen to pose different threats to others, and thus different groups face prejudices colored by different, specific negative emotions. For example, prejudice toward Black men is driven largely by fear, whereas prejudice toward obese people is driven largely by disgust. Members of these groups may thus come to be "expert" in perceiving fear or disgust in others' faces, depending on the specific emotional prejudices others feel toward their group. Alternatively, members of these groups may be biased to over- or under-perceive these emotional expressions on others' faces. I used a functional approach to predict that, if a Black man believes that seeing others' fear expressions will be useful to him, he will tend to overperceive fear on others' faces, whereas if an obese man believes that seeing others' disgust expressions will be useful to him, he will tend to overperceive disgust on others' faces. If, however, it is not considered useful to perceive these prejudicial emotions on others' faces, Black men and obese people will tend to underperceive these emotional expressions. This study recruited Black men, overweight men, and a group of comparison men. All participants completed an emotion detection task in which they rated faces on whether they expressed fear, disgust, or no emotion. Participants were randomly assigned to complete this emotion detection task either before or after a questionnaire designed to make salient, as well as to measure, participants' beliefs about others' prejudices and stereotypes of their group. Finally, participants completed a set of measures tapping predicted moderator variables. Results suggested that a) Black men tend to be less sensitive perceivers of both fear and disgust on others' faces than are other groups, unless prejudice is salient, and b) variables that would guide the functionality of perceiving others' prejudicial emotional expressions (e.g., belief that prejudice toward one's group is justified, belief that group status differences are legitimate, belief that one can manage stigmatizing interactions, stigma consciousness, and emotion-specific metastereotypes of one's group) do predict differences among Black men in perceiving these emotions on others' faces. Most results for overweight participants were null findings. The results' implications for the psychology of detecting prejudice, and emotional expressions more broadly, are discussed.

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Date Created
2013

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The effect of comparison target and resource stability on delay strategies in decision making

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People commonly make decisions and choices that could be delayed until a later time. This investigation examines two factors that may be especially important in these types of decisions: resource stability and comparison target. I propose that these two factors

People commonly make decisions and choices that could be delayed until a later time. This investigation examines two factors that may be especially important in these types of decisions: resource stability and comparison target. I propose that these two factors interact to affect whether individuals tend to adopt a delay strategy or whether they engage in more present-oriented strategy. Specifically, this thesis study tested whether picturing one’s ideal led to the adoption of a delay strategy to a greater extent when resources were stable and to a lesser extent when resources were unstable. Participants read a house-hunting scenario in which the market was stable or unstable, and either pictured their ideal house at the beginning of the task or did not. As expected, participants in the stable housing market were more willing to delay choosing a house, though the predicted interaction between resource stability and comparison target did not emerge. Contrary to the predictions, however, participants who pictured their ideal house were more willing to choose a house immediately and were more satisfied with the house they chose. Overall, these findings did not lend support to the main argument of this investigation that picturing one’s ideal would promote a delay strategy under stable resource conditions. The finding that participants preferred immediate choice after picturing their ideal may have interesting implications for persuasion and advertising.

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Agent

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Date Created
2015