Matching Items (30)
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Decades of research in cyberpsychology and human-computer interaction has pointed to a strong distinction between the online and offline worlds, suggesting that attitudes and behaviors in one domain do not necessarily generalize to the other. However, as humans spend increasing amounts of time in the digital world, psychological understandings of safety may begin to influence human perceptions of threat while online. This dissertation therefore examines whether perceived threat generalizes between domains across archival, correlational, and experimental research methods. Four studies offer insight into the relationship between objective indicators of physical and online safety on the levels of nation and state; the relationship between perceptions of these forms of safety on the individual level; and whether experimental manipulations of one form of threat influence perceptions of threat in the opposite domain. In addition, this work explores the impact of threat perception-related personal and situational factors, as well as the impact of threat type (i.e., self-protection, resource), on this hypothesized relationship.
Collectively, these studies evince a positive relationship between physical and online safety in macro-level actuality and individual-level perception. Among individuals, objective indicators of community safety—as measured by zip code crime data—were a positive reflection of perceptions of physical safety; these perceptions, in turn, mapped onto perceived online safety. The generalization between perceived physical threat and online threat was stronger after being exposed to self-protection threat manipulations, possibly underscoring the more dire nature of threats to bodily safety than those to valuable resources. Most notably, experimental findings suggest that it is not the physical that informs the digital, but rather the opposite: Online threats blur more readily into physical domains, possibly speaking to the concern that dangers specific to the digital world will bleed into the physical one. This generalization of threat may function as a strategy to prepare oneself for future dangers wherever they might appear; and indeed, perceived threat in either world positively influenced desires to act on recommended safety practices. Taken together, this research suggests that in the realm of threat perception, the boundaries between physical and digital are less rigid than may have been previously believed.
Why are human societies so psychologically diverse? The discipline of behavioral ecology is rich in both theory and data on how environments shape non-human animal behavior. However, behavioral ecological thinking has not received much attention in the study of human cultural psychological variation. I propose that ecological relatedness—how genetically related individuals are to others in their proximate environment—is one aspect of the environment that shapes human psychology. I present three studies here that examine the influence of ecological relatedness on multiple aspects of psychology. In the first study, I find that higher levels of ecological relatedness at the nation level is associated with a greater willingness to put oneself at risk for others, greater localized trust, and a stronger sense of belonging to one’s community. In the second and third studies, using experimental manipulations of perceived ecological relatedness, I examine the effects of ecological relatedness on helping behavior across situations, monetary sharing on a dictator game, interpersonal judgments, and alloparenting behaviors. I find that individuals led to perceive higher ecological relatedness became more sensitive to need in potential helping situations. The implications of ecological relatedness for thinking about psychological variation across groups are discussed.
Psychological theories often reduce descriptions of people’s emotional experiences to a small number of underlying dimensions that capture most of the variation in their responses. These underlying dimensions are typically uncovered by comparing the self-reported emotions of many individuals at one specific time point, to infer a single underlying structure of emotion for all people. However, theoretical work suggests that underlying dimensions uncovered in this way may not hold when modeling how people change over time. Individuals may differ not just in their typical score on a given dimension of emotion, but in what dimensions best characterize their patterns of emotional experience over time. In this study, participants described two emotional events per day for 35 days, and analyses compared individualized structures of emotion to those generated from many people at one point in time. Analyses using R-technique factor analysis, which compares many people at one time point, most often uncovered a two-factor solution corresponding to positivity and negativity dimensions - a solution well-established in the literature. However, analyses using P-technique factor analysis, which compares many emotional events for one person, uncovered a broader diversity of underlying dimensions. Individuals needed anywhere from one to five factors to best capture their self-reported emotions. Further, dimensions specifically related to romantic relationships were much more common when examining the experiences of individuals over time. This suggests that external factors, such as pursuing or being in a romantic relationship, might lead to a qualitative shift in how emotions are experienced. Research attempting to characterize emotion dynamics, including those attempting to help people shift or regulate their emotions, cannot assume that typical two dimensional structures of emotional experience apply to all people. Instead we must account for how individuals describe their own emotional experiences.
The present research expands on prior research that demonstrated a prototypical facial expression in response to cute, baby-like Kindchenschema targets. This expression, referred to as the tenderness expression, is recognizable to onlookers as a response to such stimuli. Across two studies, the current research examined if there were differences in perceptions of trustworthiness (Studies 1 and 2) and willingness to trust (Study 2) toward individuals displaying the tenderness expression as compared to a Duchenne smile or a neutral expression. Results indicate the tenderness expression is associated with lower ratings of trustworthiness relative to a smile, but no differences among the expressions on willingness to trust. Exploratory analyses demonstrate a replicated pattern of differences on the Big Five Personality Inventory among these three expressions. While these findings were not consistent with a priori hypotheses, this research provides further insight into the social implications associated with this tenderness expression.
In an affordance management approach, stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination are conceptualized as tools to manage the potential opportunities and threats afforded by others in highly interdependent social living. This approach suggests a distinction between two “kinds” of stereotypes. “Base” stereotypes are relatively factual, stable beliefs about the capacities and inclinations of groups and their members, whereas “affordance stereotypes” are beliefs about potential threats and opportunities posed by groups and their members. Two experiments test the hypothesized implications of this distinction: (1) People may hold identical base stereotypes about a target group but hold very different affordance stereotypes. (2) Affordance stereotypes, but not base stereotypes, are shaped by perceiver goals and felt vulnerabilities. (3) Prejudices and (4) discrimination are more heavily influenced by affordance stereotypes than by base stereotypes. I endeavored to manipulate participants’ felt vulnerabilities to measure the predicted corresponding shifts in affordance (but not base) stereotype endorsement, prejudices, and discriminatory inclinations toward a novel target group (Sidanians). In Study 1 (N = 600), the manipulation was unsuccessful. In Study 2 (N = 338), the manipulation had a partial effect, allowing for preliminary causal tests of the proposed model. In both studies, I predicted and found high endorsement of the base stereotypes that Sidanians try to share their values and actively participate in the community, with low variability. I also predicted and found more variation in affordance (vs. base) stereotype endorsement, which was systematically related to participants’ felt vulnerabilities in Study 2. Taken together, these findings support my hypothesized distinction between base stereotypes and affordance stereotypes. Finally, I modeled the proposed correlational relationships between felt vulnerabilities, base stereotypes, affordance stereotypes, prejudices, and discriminatory inclinations in the model. Although these relationships were predominantly significant in the predicted directions, overall fit of the model was poor. These studies further our critical understanding of the relationship between stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination. This has implications for how we devise interventions to reduce the deleterious effects of such processes on their targets, perhaps focusing on changing perceiver vulnerabilities and perceived affordance (rather than base) stereotypes to more effectively reduce prejudices and discrimination.