Matching Items (28)

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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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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

Description

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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The big, predictable picture: construal-level reflects underlying life history strategy

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Integrating research from life history theory with investigations of construal-level theory, the researcher proposes a novel relationship between life history strategy and construal-level. Slow life history strategies arise in safe, predictable environments where individuals give up current reproductive effort in

Integrating research from life history theory with investigations of construal-level theory, the researcher proposes a novel relationship between life history strategy and construal-level. Slow life history strategies arise in safe, predictable environments where individuals give up current reproductive effort in favor of future reproductive effort. Correspondingly, high-level construals allow individuals to transcend the current context and act according to global concerns, such as the type of future planning necessary to enact slow life history strategies. Meanwhile, fast life history strategies arise in harsh, unpredictable environments where the future is uncertain and individuals need to pay close attention to the current context to survive. Correspondingly, low-level construals immerse individuals in the immediate situation, enabling them the flexibility needed to respond to local concerns. Given the correspondence between aspects of life history and construal-level, it seems possible that individuals adopting slow life history strategies should more frequently use high-level construals to assist in transcending the current situation to plan for the future, while individuals adopting fast life history strategies should more frequently use low-level construals to assist in monitoring the details of their harsh, unpredictable environment. To test the relationship between life history and construal, the researcher investigated whether or not a childhood cue of environmental harshness and unpredictability, childhood SES, and a current cue of environmental harshness and unpredictability, local mortality rate, influenced construal-level. In line with past research, the researcher predicted that childhood SES would interact with current cues of local mortality rate to influence construal-level. For individuals growing up in high SES households, a high local mortality rate will lead to an increase in high-level construals. For individuals growing up in low SES households, a high local mortality rate will lead to an increase in low-level construals. Overall, results did not support the hypotheses. Childhood SES did not interact with prime condition to influence either categorization or trend predictions. Examining how the prime interacted with another measure of life history strategy, the Mini-K, yielded mixed results. However, there are several ways in which the current study could be altered to reexamine the relationship between life history strategy and construal.

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Date Created
2011

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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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Synchrony and attachment

Description

Attachment relationships serve a variety of important functions for infants and adults. Despite the importance of attachment relationships in adults, the mechanisms that underlie the formation or maintenance of these kinds of relationships outside of romantic relationships remains chronically understudied.

Attachment relationships serve a variety of important functions for infants and adults. Despite the importance of attachment relationships in adults, the mechanisms that underlie the formation or maintenance of these kinds of relationships outside of romantic relationships remains chronically understudied. The current research investigated whether the mechanism of synchrony, which is associated with attachment formation in the parent-infant literature, may still be tied to attachment in adults. To measure this association, these studies showed participants videos to prime synchrony, and then measured activation of attachment concepts in a word completion task. The results of Experiment 1 showed that attachment style moderated the effects of the video prime such that those who were securely attached showed activation of attachment concepts while watching the Synchrony video. Those with a preoccupied attachment style showed activation of attachment concepts when they viewed the Asynchrony video. Those with a dismissive attachment style showed an unhypothesized activation of social distance concepts when viewing the Synchrony video. Experiment 2 suggested an overall effect of the Synchrony video on activation of attachment concepts. However, there was no effect of attachment style on these results. Limits of these studies and future directions are discussed.

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Created

Date Created
2015

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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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Agent

Created

Date Created
2013