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Presidential Plenary: Cultivating the Relevance of Social and Personality Psychology for Science, Policy, and the Average Person
Thursday, February 26, 2015, 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM, Grand Ballroom
Mark Leary, Duke University
Many social and personality psychologists believe that our field does not have the visibility or impact that it deserves. The speakers will examine factors that undermine the perceived relevance of personality and social psychology — in behavioral science, policy deliberations, and the popular mind — and offer recommendations for enhancing its impact.
Relevance can be Fostered Through Research Settings, Populations, and Questions
Robert B. Cialdini
Arizona State University
The Science of Human Well-Being
Wake Forest University
Psychological Science and Policy: Insights from a Year on Capitol Hill
Jacquelyn W. White
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Reflections on Defending and Nurturing Social-Personality Psychology with Impact and Relevance as the Prize
National Cancer Institute
Meeting the Needs of Faculty at Predominately Teaching Institutions
Friday, February 27, 2015, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM, Promenade Ballroom 104B
Mark Leary, Duke University
Speakers: Mark Leary, Duke University, and Elizabeth Haines, William Patterson University
Social and personality psychologists at predominately teaching institutions play an exceptionally important role in the profession through their teaching, research, and mentoring, but SPSP has devoted relatively little attention to the specific needs of members who work at teaching colleges and universities. This session involves an open forum for faculty at predominately teaching institutions and discussion of the report of a Task Force that has been working on these issues.
GSC Undergraduate Session
Undergraduate Q and A: How to Choose, Apply to, and Successfully Begin a Graduate Program
Friday, February 27, 2015, 8:15 AM - 9:30 AM, Grand Ballroom
Nick Brown & Elizabeth Keneski
Co-sponsor: American Psychological Association of Graduate Students
Prospective graduate school applicants have ample resources to help them improve their candidacy and submission of winning applications. Guidance on how to find the right program and compare variables across institutions, however, is less accessible.
In this special session, presenters from the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS), Eddy Ameen and Nabil El-Ghoroury, will offer a roadmap to choosing, applying to, and successfully beginning a graduate program. They will also discuss ways to evaluate prospective programs based on objective and subjective criteria. Fifteen questions guide the application process, and each will be explained, along with ways to find and compare answers between prospective programs. Finally, this session will explore how individuals can seek to keep graduate costs low by building a funding package that includes scholarships, grants, and loan forgiveness and repayment options. There will be an opportunity for Q&A at the end of the session with both the APAGS representatives as well as current graduate students.
Preparing for the Academic Job Market: From Start to Finish
Friday, February 27, 2015, 8:15 AM - 9:30 AM, Room 201A
Kaitlyn Werner, Alexa Lord, & Elizabeth Keneski
In the past decade, there have been over 3,000 psychology doctoral degrees awarded annually, yet the opportunities for a tenure-track position in academia have become increasingly competitive due to their limited availability. The purpose of this symposium is to guide graduate students through the academic job market in social/personality psychology. Beginning with the job-hunting phase, Dr. Jeremy Jamieson will discuss how to find and decide which jobs to apply. Moving forward to the preparation phase, Dr. Danu Stinson will teach students how to effectively present themselves through their CV, research website, and social media, and Dr. Serena Chen will discuss how to construct teaching and research statements. Finally, Dr. Paul Eastwick will provide advice for the interview phase, including how to prepare a successful job talk. To further engage students, there will be a Q&A at the end of the session.
GSC Special Session
Successful Women in Academia
Saturday, February 28, 2015, 8:15 AM - 9:30 AM, Grand Ballroom
Erica Schneid & Elizabeth Keneski
Sponsored by GSC
This special session will focus on the experiences of successful female scientists in the fields of social and personality psychology. Three well-established women in academia—Drs. Jenni Beer, Simine Vazire, and Tessa West—will speak about their experiences, their work, and their paths to success in academia. The session will function more like a workshop, with several opportunities to interact with the speakers and discuss/ask questions about topics that are important to you as students and scientists. All are welcome to attend this special session.
Symposium Session A
New Insights Into Scientific Integrity in the Practice of Personality and Social Psychology
Friday, February 27, 2015, 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM, Grand Ballroom B
Jon Krosnick, Stanford University
Lee Jussim, Rutgers University
During the last year, NSF’s SBE Directorate hosted a workshop on scientific replication, and CASBS hosted a year-long working group focused on the issue, as did President Obama’s P-CAST. This symposium will present a review of the insights gained from these efforts and point to directions for improving scientific practice.
General Lessons Learned About Best Practices from an Examination of Implicit Prejudice
University of Connecticut
Almost 50 years ago, Wicker (1969) noted that attitude measures rarely predicted behavior and caused a crisis in attitude research. Social psychologists therefore developed new methods and theories to confront the challenges that Wicker highlighted. But the implicit attitude literature has largely ignored those insights. Questionable inferences have been made using implicit attitude measures in educational, organizational, and legal settings. And researchers will continue to reach misleading conclusions unless we deal with the psychometric limitations of implicit measures, including (1) misidentified measurement and causal models, (2) treatment of arbitrary psychological metrics as if they are meaningful, and (3) psychological assessments that fall short of standard psychometric conventions. I will close by discussing how these problematic approaches may occur in other domains of inquiry as well as by identifying some forces that might cause unusually weak methods to inspire unusually strong enthusiasm and by suggesting ways of improving scientific inquiry.
The “Wow Effect”: Data Interpretation and Scientific Story-Telling as Issues of Research Integrity
Lee J Jussim
Data misinterpretation is an under-recognized threat to the integrity of psychology. Remarkably often, false conclusions have been reached on the basis of statistically and methodologically pristine research due to apparently motivated misinterpretation by scientists. Many incentives encourage researchers to propose “Wow Effects,” which are apparently innovative and groundbreaking findings, yet many such effects are false. This talk reviews questionable interpretive practices (QIPs) that have yielded and perpetuated distortions in the “received wisdom” of social psychology: 1. Cherry-picking. Giving selective preference to findings that supports Wow Effects and blind spots (ignoring or dismissing findings suggesting that such effects are weak or irreplicable). 2. Mythmaking. Touting small and difficult-to-replicate effects as Wow Effects, and dismissing large and broadly replicable effects as uninteresting or unimportant if they contest Wow Effects. 3. Double standards. Reaching mutually exclusive or logically incoherent conclusions if both support Wow Effects. Examples from research on stereotypes and expectancy effects will be discussed.
Scientific Integrity: The Problem is Much Bigger Than We Think
Jon A Krosnick
This presentation will offer comprehensive (and surprisingly long) lists of suboptimal scientific behaviors and instigating factors. Then the presentation will provide illustrations of a series of concerns: (1) evidence of the decline effect in many natural sciences and social sciences, illustrating the breadth of the problem, (2) evidence that effect sizes are routinely smaller in the American general public than among college students, leading to well-intentioned over-over-claiming by scientists, (3) statistics are routinely computed with bias toward finding significant effects, because computations do not take into account uncertainty due to participant “sampling”, uncertainty due to stimulus and contextual “sampling”, and clustering by experimenter, session, etc., leading to over-optimism about replicability. A matrix of proposed solutions to scientific suboptimality by instigating factors reveals mostly empty cells, meaning that we have not yet begun to implement serious investigation of strategies to improve the value of contemporary science.
What Neuroscience Can Tell Us About the Psychology of Well-being
Friday, February 27, 2015, 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM, Room 101AB
Jordan Leitner, University of California, Berkeley
When people encounter stressful situations, diverse regulatory mechanisms often protect psychological well-being. However, the temporal dynamics of these mechanisms remain unclear. This symposium will present research that incorporates high temporal-resolution neural methodology to reveal the time-course of how self-regulation supports well-being.
Neural Markers of Positive Reappraisal and their Associations with Trait Reappraisal and Worry
Jason S. Moser, Rachel Hartwig, Tim P. Moran, Alexander A. Jendrusina, Ethan Kross
Michigan State University; University of Michigan
Positively reinterpreting negative experiences is important for psychological well-being and represents a key mechanism of therapies for emotional problems. Yet, little is known about the neural mechanisms that underlie this process and how they relate to individual differences in healthy and unhealthy thinking patterns. Here we demonstrate using event-related potentials (ERPs) that positively reappraising negative images is associated with early increases in frontal control activity and later decreases in parietal arousal-related activity. Moreover, we show that people’s chronic tendencies to reappraise versus worry modulate neural activity in opposing directions—trait reappraisal predicts decreases in parietal arousal-related activity during positive reappraisal implementation whereas worry predicts increases in the same waveform. These findings provide novel insights into the neural time course of positive reappraisal. They also speak to the potential utility of neurophysiological measures as relatively inexpensive, noninvasive biomarkers that could serve as risk indicators and treatment mediators.
Self-enhancement Influences Medial Frontal Cortex Alpha Power to Social Rejection Feedback
Jordan Blake Leitner, Eric Hehman, James M. Jones, Chad E. Forbes
University of California, Berkeley"; New York University; University of Delaware
While previous research has demonstrated that individuals are motivated to self-enhance, the neurocognitive mechanisms and temporal dynamics of self-enhancement are poorly understood. The current research examined whether self-enhancing motivations affect the perceptual processing of social feedback. Participants who varied in self-enhancement motivations received accept and reject feedback while EEG was recorded. Following this task, we measured perceptions of feedback by asking participants to estimate the number of times they were rejected. Source localization and time-frequency analyses revealed that alpha power in the medial frontal cortex (MFC) completely mediated the relationship between self-enhancement motivations and rejection estimates. Specifically, greater self-enhancement motivations predicted decreased MFC alpha power to reject compared to accept feedback, which predicted decreased rejection estimates. These findings suggest that self-enhancement motivations decrease perception of social rejection by influencing how the MFC processes social feedback.
Spontaneous Default Mode Network Phase-locking Modulates Self-Regulatory Processes Under Stereotype Threat
Chad E. Forbes, Jordan B. Leitner, Kelly Duran-Jordan, Adam Magerman, Toni Schmader, John J.B. Allen
University of Delaware; University of British Columbia; University of Arizona
Individuals vary in how they cope with stress but little is known about the neural substrates of these coping processes, particularly regarding neural networks involved in self-regulation. We examined whether individual differences in self-regulatory neural processing modulated minorities’ ability to cope with stereotype threat-based stressors. Resting/spontaneous EEG activity from white and minority participants was used to predict estimates of task errors and self-doubt after completing a presumed intelligence test. We assessed spontaneous communication (i.e., phase-locking) between lateral parietal cortex (LPC), precuneus/posterior cingulate cortex (p/PCC), and medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC); three regions of the default mode network (DMN) integral for self-oriented processing. Minorities with greater LPC-p/PCC phase-locking reported more accurate error estimations. Minorities also experienced less self-doubt to the extent they exhibited greater LPC-MPFC phase-locking and reported more accurate error estimations. Spontaneous synchronization between DMN regions thus may reflect anticipatory coping mechanisms that buffer individuals from stereotype threat.
Self-Talk as a Regulatory Mechanism: How You Do It Matters
Ethan Kross, Ozlem Ayduk, Jason Moser
University of Michigan; University of California at Berkeley; Michigan State University
Does the language people use to refer to the self during introspection influence self-regulation? This talk will review findings from a series of studies that suggest that it does. First, we will demonstrate that using non first person pronouns and one’s own name (rather than “I”) during introspection enhances self-regulation in two contexts: making good first impressions (n=97) and public speaking (n=89). In both situations, judges indicated that participants who used non first person pronouns and their own names outperformed their first person counterparts. They also displayed less distress and rumination. We will then discuss the results of an ERP study (n =29), which demonstrated that non first person self-talk reduces activation in the LPP, an emotional reactivity biomarker, without enhancing activation in the SPN, a cognitive control biomarker. Our discussion will focus on whether non first person self-talk represents a relatively effortless form of self-control.
Emotion Regulation is an Interpersonal Phenomenon
Friday, February 27, 2015, 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM, Room 102ABC
Nickola Overall, University of Auckland
Jeremy Jamieson, University of Rochester
Emotion regulation is embedded in social interactions, yet is typically construed and assessed as an individual process. This symposium showcases new experimental, observational and experience sampling methods used to examine emotion regulation in live dyadic interactions. These diverse studies confirm that emotion regulation shapes, and is shaped by, interpersonal dynamics.
Response-Focused Emotion Regulation in Social Interactions: Acute Physiological Responses and Interaction Appraisals
Jeremy P. Jamieson, Brett J. Peters
University of Rochester
Although a corpus of research indicates engaging in emotional suppression has typically negative consequences, relatively little is known about how response-focused emotion regulation enacted by agents affect interaction partners. The research reported here examined emotion suppression and expression in a dyadic interaction while physiological signals were monitored in vivo. Participants (N=180 nested in 90 dyads) independently watched an emotionally-negative film clip and then discussed their emotional responses with a stranger. During an interaction anticipation phase agents were assigned to express or suppress affective signals. Targets were given no instructions. Engaging in suppression versus expression elicited physiological threat responses—sympathetic arousal and increased vasoconstriction—in anticipation of and during interactions. Targets of suppressive versus expressive agents also exhibited threat responses during the interaction. Appraisals mirrored physiological findings: Emotional suppressors found the task more uncomfortable, and targets reported them as being poor communicators. These results demonstrate that emotion regulation shapes interpersonal dynamics.
Emotional Suppression and Expression during Daily Life: Distinct Personal and Interpersonal Consequences
Linda D. Cameron, Nickola C. Overall
University of California, Merced"; University of Auckland
Emotion regulation occurs in daily social interactions, but is rarely examined in naturalistic contexts. In three experience sampling and longitudinal studies (k = 271), we developed daily emotional suppression and expression measures to assess the personal and interpersonal consequences of naturally-occurring emotion regulation. The new daily measures were stronger predictors than existing dispositional assessments and revealed that emotional suppression and expression produce independent and distinct outcomes. When individuals suppressed their emotions, they felt less autonomous and satisfied, and experienced greater withdrawal by close others. Greater emotional suppression across daily life also predicted increases in depressive symptoms three months later. In contrast, when individuals were more emotionally expressive, they experienced reductions in negative mood and increased closeness with others. Greater emotional expression across daily life also predicted increases in relationship satisfaction across time. These studies demonstrate the importance of capturing the spontaneous suppression and expression of emotions during people’s daily interactions.
Emotion Regulation in Dyadic Conversations: The Role of Relationship History and Expectations
Brett J. Peters, Jeremy P. Jamieson, Nickola C. Overall, Yuthika U. Girme
University of Rochester; University of Auckland
Research investigating emotion regulation typically focuses on the individual and ignores the social context. The current study underscored the importance of relationship history and expectations when going into and engaging in emotionally-laden conversations. Romantic couples (88 dyads, N = 176) independently watched an emotionally-negative film clip, prepared to discuss the video with their partner, and then engaged in conversation. One person, the emotion regulator, was instructed to either express or suppress affective displays while her/his partner was given no special instructions. Engaging in suppression versus expression elicited greater physiological threat responses, especially when emotion regulators had partners high in attachment avoidance. Anticipating suppressing affective displays towards a highly avoidant partner was physiologically threatening. This negative anticipatory appraisal was confirmed during the interaction as suppressors with highly avoidant partners exhibited the greatest threat. These novel results demonstrate that expectations based on relationship histories shape the physiological consequences of emotional suppression.
Dyadic Emotion Regulation: How Intimate Partner’s Enhance Emotion Regulation During Threatening Interactions
Nickola Christine Overall, Jeffry A. Simpson, Allison K. Farrell, Yuthika U. Girme
University of Auckland; University of Minnesota
Prior research has overlooked the role that close others play in influencing people’s ability to effectively regulate negative emotions. Three behavioral observation studies (k = 330 dyads) tested whether romantic partners can facilitate more effective emotion regulation strategies in highly avoidant people who have difficulty managing their emotions. In each study, both partners’ emotional and behavioral responses were assessed as couples discussed personally threatening topics. Highly avoidant individuals experienced greater negative emotions and exhibited more destructive emotion regulation strategies, including greater withdrawal and relationship distancing. However, these negative emotions and regulation responses were eliminated when partners were responsive to the emotion regulation difficulties associated with avoidance by reducing the threat of dependence. In each study, partners’ responsive behavior helped highly avoidant individuals regulate their emotions in more constructive ways, which led to more positive relationship outcomes. This research demonstrates that emotion regulation is a dyadic endeavor in close relationships.
The Science of Mindfulness in Social and Personality Psychology
Friday, February 27, 2015, 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM, Promenade Ballroom 104A
Johan Karremans, Radboud University Nijmegen
Esther Papies, Utrecht University
This symposium highlights the value of integrating mindfulness research with classic psychological research to test novel hypotheses across different domains of social and personality psychology, ranging from prejudice, romance, dieting, to hostility and beyond. We demonstrate how basic mechanisms associated with mindfulness affect a range of human motivation and behavior.
The Benefits of Simply Observing: Mindful Attention Modulates the Link between Motivation and Behavior
Esther Papies, Tila Pronk, Mike Keesman, Lawrence Barsalou
Utrecht University; Free University Amsterdam; Emory University
Mindful attention can be conceived as becoming aware of one’s thoughts and being able to observe them as transient mental events. Three experiments (total N = 267) demonstrate the effects of applying this meta-cognitive perspective to one’s spontaneous reward responses to attractive stimuli. Participants observed their thoughts in reaction to various stimuli as mental events, using a brief training designed for non-meditators. Compared to various control conditions, this reduced the effects of motivational states and traits on appetitive behavior in the laboratory and the field. Specifically, after applying mindful attention, participants’ sexual motivation no longer made opposite-sex others seem more attractive and desirable as partners. Similarly, participants’ levels of hunger no longer boosted the attractiveness of unhealthy foods, producing healthier eating choices. We discuss implications, and how mindfulness can be conceptualized in psychological research more generally.
Mindfulness Training Moderates the Relation Between an Implicit Measure of Race Attitude and Interracial Behavior
Theory and research suggest that mindfulness may decouple the relation between impulses and actual behavior. This study examined whether mindfulness training would reduce the relation between automatic race attitudes and interracial behavior. Eighty-four participants completed an Implicit Association Test (IAT) to assess race (black/white) attitudes, a 10-minute mindfulness intervention or control, and a computerized ball-tossing task. Participants were told that the ball-tossing task was web-based and that they would see the pictures of two other online players (one was black/one white). Number of tosses to the white player served as the dependent variable. Results indicated that the relation between the race IAT and ball tossing was moderated by group condition (B=0.27, t=2.5, p=0.02), with the IAT predicting more ball tosses to the white player for control but not mindfulness participants. This study shows that mindfulness training can help to delink the relation between automatic race attitudes and race-related behavior.
Accepting Partner Faults: Mindfulness Promotes Forgiveness
Johan Karremans, Gesa Kappen, Ap Dijksterhuis
Radboud University Nijmegen
Mindfulness has been associated with a range of individual benefits, ranging from improved psychological and physical well-being to better cognitive functioning. The current research explores the interpersonal implications of mindfulness. Specifically, we predicted that mindfulness should promote increased acceptance of the partner, which in turn should facilitate interpersonal forgiveness. Three studies (N = 395) provided evidence for this basic prediction. Study 1 demonstrated that experienced mindfulness meditators, as compared to non-meditators, report higher tendencies to forgive. Study 2 demonstrated that dispositional mindfulness was associated with higher levels of forgiveness toward the romantic partner regarding a past offense, which was meditated by higher levels of partner acceptance. In Study 3 mindful acceptance was induced in the lab, which resulted in higher levels of forgiveness regarding a past offense, both immediately and in the longer run (one-week follow-up). Together, these findings suggest that mindfulness may buffer the negative impact of the inevitable moments of interpersonal hurt in romantic relationships.
Mindfulness and Self-Regulation: An Individual Differences Perspective
North Dakota State University
Cybernetic models of self-regulation highlight a comparator mechanism whereby awareness of a problematic state is crucial to its mitigation. Mindfulness, as it consists of present-moment awareness, should facilitate self-regulation according to cybernetic principles. Personality-related sources of data have been supportive of these ideas. Two studies (total N = 289) established an important role for mindfulness in the mitigation of anger and depression among trait-predisposed people. Three additional studies (total N = 226) suggest that negative affect undermines self-control because it undermines mindfulness. In these studies, relations between dispositional mindfulness and self-control were fairly substantial. Two final studies (total N = 224) found that mindful people were more capable of reducing their hostile feelings at work, which in turn reduced their tendencies toward counterproductive (or antisocial) work behavior. Altogether, the research converges on several ways in which mindfulness supports self-regulation, particularly among people prone toward negative affect and impulsive behavior.
Adapting to the Culture of College: A Cultural Psychological Perspective on First Generation College Students.
Friday, February 27, 2015, 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM, Promenade Ballroom 104B
Michael Varnum, Arizona State University
Sarah Herrmann, Arizona State University
First-generation college (FGC) students receive lower grades and are more likely to drop-out than those with a college educated parent. This symposium presents research based on the perspective of social class as culture on factors that help and hinder FGC students’ performance, persistence, and well-being.
Creating a Cultural Match Improves First-Generation Students’ Academic Performance
Nicole M. Stephens, Sarah S. M. Townsend, Jessica E. Nelson
Northwestern University; University of Southern California
College students who do not have parents with 4-year college degrees (i.e., first-generation students) earn lower grades and encounter more obstacles to achievement than students who have at least one parent with a 4-year degree (i.e., continuing-generation students). One important source of this social class achievement gap is students’ experience of a cultural mismatch between the middle-class, independent norms institutionalized in American universities and the interdependent norms that first-generation students are often socialized with in working-class contexts before college. This study examined the academic benefits of an intervention that created a cultural match for first-generation students during the college transition. Specifically, incoming first-generation and continuing-generation students (N=119) read welcome letters that framed the university culture as either independent (e.g., chart your course) or interdependent (e.g., connect to others). As predicted, first-generation students in the interdependent condition (cultural match) earned higher grades than first-generation students in the independent condition (cultural mismatch).
Closing the Social Class Achievement Gap with Value Interventions
Judith Harackiewicz, Elizabeth Canning, Christopher Tibbetts, Janet Hyde
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Many students start college intending to pursue a career in biosciences, but too many first-generation students abandon this goal because they struggle in introductory biology. Two different types of values interventions have proven effective with first-generation students: utility value (UV) interventions, which promote students’ appreciation of the personal utility of course topics, and values affirmation (VA) interventions which promote a sense of integrity by reflecting on core personal values. We found that VA improved final course grades as well as retention in the second course in the biology sequence. In another study, we found that UV improved performance for a special subset of first-generation students: those who are also underrepresented minority students. Our results highlight the importance of supporting personal and task values for at-risk students and further suggest the importance of considering the separate and combined effects of generational and ethnic minority status in designing effective interventions.
Drawing Upon Future Identity to Ease Interactions with Faculty for Low SES Students and Improve Academic Performance
Vida Manzo, Mesmin Destin, Sarah S. M. Townsend
Northwestern University; University of Southern California
Specific sociocultural aspects of the college context disproportionately impair the ability of first-generation and low-income college students to succeed; however, identity-based resources may be leveraged to improve outcomes. We investigate social interactions between students and faculty as a key component to success in college (Collier & Morgan, 2008), which is particularly foreign and intimidating to low-income students. As predicted, low-income students report greater anxiety than high-income students in anticipation of a professor’s office hours. However, when low-income students are primed with their successful future identity (rather than their past identity) before a mock interaction, they experience less anxiety, improved performance on academic tasks, increased cortisol reactivity (indicating effort and engagement), and greater endorsement of status-striving beliefs that match the college culture. High-income students show the opposite pattern of results, drawing upon their past identity as a source of motivation.
First-Generation College Students as Biculturals: Integrated Social Class Identities are Linked to Academic Success, Well-Being, and Workplace Satisfaction
Sarah D. Herrmann, Michael E. W. Varnum
Arizona State University
Most previous research on biculturalism has examined immigrants and international students. We propose that first-generation college (FGC) students also undergo adjustment to a new culture, namely the predominantly middle and upper-class culture of American universities and face similar challenges negotiating different cultural identities. Bicultural individuals can either perceive their cultural identities as compatible (high Bicultural Identity Integration, BII) or oppositional (low BII; Benet-Martinez et al., 2002). We found that FGC students with high BII had higher GPA’s, even after controlling for high school GPA, and greater subjective well-being than those with low BII (Study 1). We also found that for FGC students, high BII was associated with less depression, less general stress, and better mental health; these relationships were mediated by reduced acculturative stress (Study 2). High BII was also associated with positive outcomes for first-generation college graduates including higher levels of well-being, job satisfaction, and professional engagement (Study 3).
Bringing Sleep to Social Psychology: Considering the Effect of Sleep on our Emotions, Relationships and Intergroup Relations
Friday, February 27, 2015, 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM, Promenade Ballroom 104C
Amie Gordon, University of California, Berkeley
Serena Chen, University of California, Berkeley
Poor sleep is a major public health issue with far-reaching physical and mental consequences. But what about the social consequences of poor sleep? This symposium brings sleep to social psychology, showcasing research on the effects of sleep on our emotions, relationships, and intergroup relations.
Better Sleep Quality is Associated With More Effective Emotion Regulation
Brett Q. Ford, Gabriela Werner, Iris B. Mauss
University of California at Berkeley; University of Salzburg
Although theorizing and initial evidence suggest a positive link between sleep and emotion regulation, limited research has examined these links using rigorous assessments of both sleep and emotion regulation. We hypothesized that higher sleep quality would be linked with increased frequency and ability in using effective emotion regulation strategies (i.e., cognitive reappraisal – reframing an event to alter its emotional impact). In a sample of community adults (Study 1 N=171), higher subjectively-rated sleep quality was linked with increased ability to implement cognitive reappraisal using a laboratory challenge measure. In a second community sample of women (Study 2 N=29), higher objectively-assessed sleep quality (e.g., sleep latency) was linked with increased frequency of implementing cognitive reappraisal in daily life. These results suggest that sleep may provide critical resources necessary for effective emotion regulation. Given emotion regulation’s role in well-being, these findings suggest one pathway through which sleep may contribute to overall well-being.
Sleep and Awe: The Effect of Poor Sleep on the Frequency, Intensity and Type of Awe Experiences
Amie M. Gordon, Dacher Keltner
University of California at Berkeley
Awe is a powerful and distinct emotion with important downstream consequences, including the promotion of humility, prosociality, and a feeling of common humanity. In this talk, we consider whether sleep influences feelings of awe. We hypothesize that lack of sleep, which depletes cognitive resources, would be particularly damaging to the experience of awe, an emotion requiring complex cognitive appraisals. Results from a laboratory, daily experience, and longitudinal study (N = 119) reveal that poor sleepers feel awe less frequently and intensely. Coding of daily awe experiences also sheds light on the nuanced ways in which poor sleepers differentially respond to awe experiences; poor sleepers feel less gratitude during awe experiences, which is uniquely associated with increased feelings of awe and life satisfaction over time. These findings bring together the sleep and awe literatures, shedding light on one factor that inhibits experiences of awe.
Sleepless and Selfish: How Poor Sleep Harms Relationships
Serena Chen, Amie M. Gordon
University of California at Berkeley
Sleep often occurs in a relationship context, raising the possibility that sleep and relationships impact one another. In two studies we illustrate that poor sleep fuels harmful relationship behaviors. In Study 1, a 14-day daily experience study (N = 84), participants reported more conflict in their romantic relationships, as well as less ability to perspective take, more selfishness, and less responsiveness, following poor sleep. In Study 2 (N = 71 couples), we assessed the dyadic effects of sleep on the nature and resolution of conflict. One partner’s poor sleep was associated with a lower ratio of positive to negative affect (self-reported and observed) and decreased empathic accuracy for both partners during a conflict conversation. Conflict resolution occurred most when both partners were well rested. These findings suggest that poor sleep increases self-focused tendencies (e.g., lower empathic accuracy), which are likely to breed relationship conflict and dissatisfaction, putting relationships at risk.
Law and Error: The Shift to Daylight Savings Time and Law Enforcement Decision Making
David T. Wagner, Christopher M. Barnes, Cristiano L. Guarana
University of Oregon; University of Washington
Shifting to daylight saving time (DST) disrupts the synchronization between clocks regulating social movement and our internal “body clocks,” leading to 40 minutes less sleep the night following the shift. This can lead to faulty arrests and prejudicial stops and searches by law enforcement because lost sleep results in deteriorated signal detection and depletion of the self-regulatory strength to suppress prejudicial biases. We test our predictions with: 1) a database of all stops and searches conducted by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) over a one year period (total N = 810,000); 2) a database of arrests and incidents across the United States, compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), comparing incidents on the Monday immediately following the shift to DST with adjacent comparison Mondays (total N = 117,000). Findings suggest the shift to DST leads to poor decision making and prejudicial behavior by law enforcement.
Life in Transition: Implications of Common Adulthood Changes on Intra- and Interpersonal Adjustment
Friday, February 27, 2015, 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM, Room 201A
Cheryl Carmichael, Brooklyn College & The Graduate Center, CUNY
Several transitions occur across adulthood, many of which fall into the domains of love and work. In four talks, each speaker will describe the effects of a common adulthood transition (from college; to parenthood; to unemployment; to retirement), on intra- or interpersonal adjustment outcomes (well-being, relationship quality, health, personality).
Navigating the Transition Across Early Adulthood: Changes in the Long-Term Importance of Early Adult Interaction Quantity and Quality on Midlife Well-Being
Cheryl L Carmichael, Harry T. Reis
Brooklyn College & The Graduate Center, CUNY"; University of Rochester
Lifespan theories suggest early adulthood is a critical period for the development of close relationships, and establishing intimacy at this stage may have life-long implications. In this prospective study, midlife adults age 48-50 (N=133) were recruited from a pool of former undergraduates who completed two-weeks of event-contingent social interaction records during college (late 1970s), and at approximately age-30 (mid 1980s). Measures of structural integration (interaction quantity), and functional support (interaction quality) obtained from interaction diaries were combined into structural models predicting midlife outcomes (social network size; friendship quality, emotional well-being). Consistent with developmental theory, when information seeking goals are salient (age-20) interaction quantity is more important than quality to midlife adjustment. However, by age-30, when emotional closeness goals become prominent interaction quality is more important than quantity to midlife adjustment. Benefits of having differential social activity at developmentally critically stages throughout the transition across early adulthood will be discussed.
The Effects of Transitions Into and Out of Unemployment on Life Satisfaction in Couples
Maike Luhmann, Pola Weiss, Georg Hosoya, Michael Eid
University of Cologne, Germany"; Freie UniversitΣt Berlin
Previous research on unemployment and life satisfaction has focused on the effects of unemployment on individuals but neglected the effects on their partners. Using longitudinal data from 2,973 couples, we found that the negative effects of unemployment on life satisfaction are more pronounced for those who become unemployed (actors) than for the other couple members (partners). In both couple members, the reaction is attenuated if they share the same labor status after the job loss: Actors experienced a greater drop in life satisfaction if their partners were employed than if they were unemployed at the time of the job loss, and partners reacted negatively to the job loss only if they were employed or inactive in the workforce, but not if they were unemployed themselves. These findings indicate that changes in life satisfaction can be caused by major life events experienced by significant others.
From Partners to Parents: Personality Stability and Change During the Transition to Parenthood
Manon A van Scheppingen, Joshua Jackson, Jule Specht, Roos Hutteman, Wiebke Bleidorn
Tilburg University; Washington University in St Louis; Free University of Berlin; Utrecht University
Becoming a parent is one of most incisive life transitions during early adulthood. Several studies have pointed to the impact of this life transition on many aspects of new parents’ lives, including their relationship quality and satisfaction. Yet, its influence on parents’ personality development has received only little attention. This is surprising, because social-investment theory (Roberts et al., 2005) proposes that the transition to parenthood is a main trigger of positive personality changes in early adulthood. The present case-control study examined whether, when, and how the transition to parenthood stimulates personality changes in first-time parents compared to non-parents. We used data from a representative Australian sample and compared parents’ and non-parents’ Big Five personality traits both cross-sectionally and longitudinally (N = 3600). Multi-group latent-change analyses revealed significant differences between parents and non-parents’ personality traits within and across time. Discussion will focus on the implications of the results for social-investment theory.
Individual and Relationship Benefits of Partner Support for Self-Expansion During the Transition to Retirement
Jennifer M Tomlinson, Brooke C. Feeney
Colgate University; Carnegie Mellon University
The transition to retirement is often a difficult time in which people must navigate changes in their identity from ending a career and beginning a new phase of life. Little research has considered the importance of the marital relationship in easing the transition to retirement, which is surprising because older adults depend on their spouses even more than people in other age groups. The present study investigated “partner support for self-expansion,” which may help explain why some people flourish after retirement and others falter. Results from an observational and longitudinal study of 100 recently retired couples suggest that observed partner support for self-expansion at time 1 predicts perceived partner support, which in turn predicts increased relationship satisfaction, self-growth, and positive changes in health during a 6-month period following the transition to retirement. Thus, partner support for self-expansion is linked to important outcomes that have implications for post-retirement adjustment and health.
The Psychology of Gift Giving and Receiving
Friday, February 27, 2015, 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM, Room 201B
Mary Steffel, University of Cincinnati
Elanor Williams, University of California – San Diego
Gift exchanges can reveal how people think about others, what they value and enjoy, and how they build and maintain relationships. This symposium explores how gift recipients’ characteristics affect which gifts are chosen, how gifts are then used, and how that in turn can affect how recipients feel about gift-givers.
Picking Gifts for Picky People: Strategies and Outcomes
Evan Polman, Andong Cheng, Meg Meloy
University of Wisconsin-Madison; Pennsylvania State University
In a recent survey, consumers reported that 39% of their purchases were for someone “picky.” Despite the ubiquity of shopping for picky people, little research has examined how consumers choose gifts for picky people. In four studies, we showed how shopping for someone picky is unique from other forms of difficulty that accompany gift choice. First, we established a definition of “picky” and found that givers do not define “picky” recipients in the same way that they define “difficult” recipients (Study 1). Then, we found that compared to difficult recipients, participants believed that picky recipients were more likely to return or regift gifts (Study 2), and that these beliefs mediated the tendency for givers to invest less money and effort on picky others (Studies 3-4). In all, our findings show that givers do not approach gifting for picky recipients in the same way they approach choosing gifts for other recipients.
Giver-Recipient Discrepancies Contribute to Gift Card Non-Redemption
Mary Louise Steffel, Elanor F. Williams, Robyn A. LeBoeuf
University of Cincinnati; University of California at San Diego; Washington University in St. Louis
This research identifies a giver-recipient discrepancy in judgment that contributes to why many gift cards go unredeemed: givers focus on what recipients are like and fail to focus enough on wants and needs. Consequently, while recipients prefer and are more likely to redeem gift cards that can be redeemed anywhere, givers give gift cards that are personalized but limited in where they can be redeemed. Experiment 1 shows that recipients take longer to redeem more specific gift cards, but givers do not anticipate this. Experiments 2a-c show that givers give more specific gift cards than recipients prefer and mistakenly think that specific gift cards will be better liked and considered more thoughtful. Experiments 3a-b show that givers focus on what recipients are like more than do recipients, and givers are more likely to choose specific gift cards when they think about what recipients are like than what recipients would like.
Mental Accounting and Gift Card Spending
Chelsea Helion, Thomas D. Gilovich
Columbia University; Cornell University
How people spend money can be strongly influenced by the form that it takes. Across five studies and 14,413 participants, we show that gift cards increase hedonic spending and generosity towards others as compared to cash and credit cards. In study 1, we show that gift cards reduce the guilt associated with hedonic spending. In study 2, participants who used gift cards in a laboratory store were more likely to buy hedonic items, while participants paying with cash were more likely to purchase utilitarian goods. In study 3, we found that bookstore shoppers tended to spend disproportionately more on hedonic goods when using gift cards than when using credit cards. In the last three studies we found that participants are more likely to treat others when paying with a gift card as compared to cash received as a gift and that this is true for both material and experiential purchases.
Experiential Gifts Foster Stronger Relationships Than Material Gifts
Cindy Chan, Cassie Mogilner
University of Toronto; University of Pennsylvania
Interpersonal relationships are essential to well-being, and gifts are often given to cultivate these relationships. To both inform gift givers of what to give and gain insight into the connecting function of gifts, this research investigates what type of gift is better at strengthening relationships according to the gift recipients—material gifts (objects for the recipients to keep) or experiential gifts (events for the recipients to live through). Experiments examining actual and hypothetical gift exchanges in real-life relationships reveal that experiential gifts produce greater improvements in relationship strength than material gifts, regardless of whether the gift is consumed together. The relationship improvements that recipients derive from experiential gifts stem from the emotion that is evoked when the gifts are consumed, not when the gifts are received. Giving experiential gifts is thus identified as a highly effective form of prosocial spending.
Female Aggression: The Often Overlooked, but Functionally Sophisticated, Ways Women Compete
Friday, February 27, 2015, 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM, Room 202ABC
Tracy Vaillancourt, University of Ottawa
Steven Neuberg, Arizona State University
Only recently has female aggression received serious research attention. The speakers focus on female agency in aggression, presenting new research demonstrating that women’s aggression is highly functional, tactically sophisticated, and linked to mating competition. Talks showcase a functional approach to understanding the unique tactics, goals, and defenses against female aggression.
Friends and Rivals: Intrasexual Competition in Women’s Same-Sex Friendships
April Bleske-Recheck, Carolyn Kolb, Katherine Quigley
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; Illinois College of Optometry; Ball State University
The tendency to affiliate with similar others has been documented in many close relationships, including women’s same-sex friendships. Although assortment has benefits, in women’s friendships it may also lead to rivalry. We propose that the intimate yet competitive nature of women’s same-sex friendships is rooted in intrasexual competition over attractiveness. We surveyed 70 pairs of young adult female friends, measured their body attributes, and had their photographs judged for attractiveness (Nraters = 275). Friends were similar on body shape and attractiveness—attributes relevant to intrasexual competition among women. Further, discrepancies in friends’ attractiveness scores predicted women’s perceptions of rivalry in their friendships; discrepancies in attributes less relevant to women’s desirability to men—e.g., ambition—did not predict women’s perceptions of rivalry. We discuss the unique character of female friendships in the context of women’s sexual strategies and an evolutionary history dominated by female migration to non-natal groups.
Indirect Aggression and Dieting Predict Dating Status in Girls but not Boys: Longitudinal Evidence of Intrasexual Competition Strategies
Tracy Vaillancourt, Heather Brittain
University of Ottawa
Females use indirect aggression in the context of intrasexual competition (Vaillancourt, 2013). Moreover, females (more than males) promote a culture of thinness (Mealey, 2000). If dieting is indeed an expression of intrasexual competition, we hypothesized that it should be related to indirect aggression, and that both indirect aggression and dieting should predict increased dating behaviour in girls, but not boys. Employing a sample of 454 adolescents (56% girls) assessed yearly from ages 12-13 to 15-16 (T1-T4), and controlling for household income and race, our sex-specific model fit the data well. Girls using indirect aggression reported more dieting behaviour over time, and indirect aggression and dieting predicted dating status and number of partners at age 15-16 for girls but not boys. These findings are consistent with the position that indirect aggression and dieting are used by females as intrasexual competition strategies.
The “Sword of a Woman?” Gossip and Female Aggression
Frank T. McAndrew
There has long been a perception that women have a stronger tendency to engage in nasty gossip than do men. Is this just a myth? Perhaps not. I will report results from five studies involving 1,461 individuals supporting the idea that an interest in the affairs of same-sex others is especially strong among females, and I will review the evidence that women are more likely than men to use gossip in an aggressive, competitive manner. The goal of such gossip is to exclude competitors from social groups and to damage the competitors’ abilities to maintain reliable social networks of their own. Timeworn assumptions about an affinity between females and negative gossip appear to be more than just an inaccurate stereotype. Understanding the dynamics of competitive female gossip provides insight into related social phenomena, especially how people use social media such as Facebook.
Is She Angry at Me?: (Sexually Desirable) Women ‘See’ Anger on Female Faces
Jaimie Arona Krems, Steven L. Neuberg, Gabrielle Filip-Crawford, Douglas T. Kenrick
Arizona State University
Women feel anger and enact aggression as frequently as men do. Unlike men, however, women typically suppress their anger expressions (especially towards other women) and prefer covert, indirect tactics of aggression (e.g., gossip). Thus, potential victims of women’s intrasexual aggression are in the unique and difficult position of lacking cues of aggressive intent. In two studies (N = 144) we predict—and find—evidence for a potential defense tailored to those unique characteristics of women’s intrasexual aggression. Using a functional projection paradigm, we show that women (but not men) “see” anger on women’s (but not men’s) neutrally-expressive faces, and that those women who are most frequently the targets of intrasexual aggression—the physically attractive or sexually permissive—show an exaggerated bias. This perceptual bias, which contains a kernel of truth, may allow women to preemptively mitigate the potentially high costs associated with being a victim of intrasexual indirect aggression.
The Politics of Inequality and the Inequality of Politics
Friday, February 27, 2015, 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM, Room 203ABC
Jazmin Brown-Iannuzzi, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
B. Keith Payne, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Economic inequality is at historic highs. The wealthiest 1% own 40% of the nation’s wealth. This staggering inequality raises the question, what are the psychological causes and effects of inequality? This symposium presents four talks on how subjective construals of inequality and status shape political motivations, beliefs, and behaviors.
Subjective Socioeconomic Status Shapes Political Preferences
Jazmin Lati Brown-Iannuzzi, B. Keith Payne
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Economic inequality in America is at historically high levels, yet redistributive policies aimed at reducing inequality are frequently unpopular. Traditional accounts posit that attitudes toward redistribution are driven by economic self-interest or ideological principles. From a social psychological perspective, however, we expected that subjective comparisons to others may be a more relevant form of self-interest than material wealth. We hypothesized that participants would support redistribution more when they felt low in subjective status than when they felt high, even when actual self-interest was held constant. In three studies we found correlational (study 1) and experimental (studies 2-4) evidence that subjective status may motivate shifts in support for redistributive policies. Moreover, when people shifted their attitudes toward redistribution, they also shifted ideological positions. They reported being more conservative or liberal, and believing that the economic system was more or less just, presumably to justify their (new) attitudes toward redistribution.
The Undervalued Self: Social Class Rank and Political Action
Michael W. Kraus, Cameron Anderson, Laura Howland, Bennett Callaghan
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; University of California at Berkeley
In this research we use correlational and experimental evidence to test the prediction that perceptions of low status in the social class hierarchy decrease political self-efficacy and engagement in political action. In Study 1, university students who reported lower perceptions of social class rank tended to vote less in university elections. In Studies 2 and 3, participants exposed to a manipulation of lower social class rank reported reduced political influence and intentions to join a union of online survey workers relative to participants manipulated to think of themselves as higher in social class. In Study 4, the association between lower social class rank and reduced political action was mediated by perceptions of political self-efficacy. Together, these findings highlight the fundamental role that self-evaluative processes play in leading low status members of society to withdraw from the political system and fight less for their own social and economic interests.
Lack of Awareness of Inequality Leads to Punishment of the Poor
Oliver Hauser, Gordon Kraft-Todd, Martin Nowak, Michael Norton
Harvard Business School; Yale University; Harvard University
Many societies have seen income inequality rise in recent years, yet research shows that people are largely unaware of this increase. We examine the effects of high income inequality in public goods games, in which players are assigned to ranks in an income distribution and decide how much to contribute to a common pool – with the option to punish those who contribute less. When the income distribution is publicly known, players tend to punish the rich more than the poor. If income is not publicly known, however, we find a perverse effect: the poor are punished most – despite their limited means to contribute more given their low income. Lack of awareness of the current level of income inequality may lead people to punish poorer individuals for their relatively smaller contributions to the public good (such as taxes paid), due to a lack of awareness of their limited means.
The Tolerance of Inequality: Psychological Needs for Control and Social Hierarchies
Justin P. Friesen, Aaron C. Kay, Richard Eibach, Adam Galinsky
York University; Duke University; University of Waterloo; Columbia University Business School
Individuals often espouse egalitarian ideals, yet social hierarchies and their inherent inequality are ubiquitous in human societies. We propose that one reason this occurs is because hierarchies can fulfill psychological needs for structure and order that are elicited when personal control is low (Kay et al., 2008)—even for subordinate positions that lack power or status. In 4 studies we demonstrate that hierarchical inequality can compensate for low personal control via the structure it provides. After personal control threats, participants preferred more hierarchy in their own workplaces and found hierarchy-enhancing occupations more appealing. We also show that hierarchies are control-restoring: Being in a hierarchical workplace was associated with increased occupational certainty and self-efficacy. These effects occurred even for individuals in lower positions in the hierarchy. We discuss how disadvantaged individuals may be unwilling to question social hierarchies that justify inequality if those hierarchies are serving unmet psychological needs for structure.
Symposium Session B and Data Blitz
Friday, February 27, 2015, 11:15 AM - 12:30 PM, Grand Ballroom A
Jessica Tracy, University of British Columbia
Michael Inzlicht, University of Toronto
Congruence Between Implicit and Explicit Evaluations Predicts Newlyweds’ Reactivity to Daily Relationship Events
Michael R. Maniaci
Florida Atlantic University
During the early years of marriage, newlyweds may suppress nascent dissatisfaction in order to maintain a sense of security, promoting discrepancies between implicit and explicit evaluations. In order to explore the implications of such discrepancies, 175 newlywed couples completed measures of implicit and explicit relationship evaluations before providing daily diary reports of their behavior, conflict, and daily relationship satisfaction. Consistent with hypotheses, congruence between implicit and explicit partner evaluations predicted reactivity to daily relationship events for both husbands and wives. Relative to spouses with congruent implicit and explicit evaluations, the daily relationship satisfaction of spouses with discrepant evaluations was more contingent upon their day-to-day interaction. This pattern held regardless of the nature of the discrepancy (e.g., positive explicit combined with negative implicit evaluations or vice versa). These results suggest that discrepant implicit and explicit relationship evaluations are inherently less stable than congruent evaluations, regardless of the direction of discrepancy.
Income Inequality Enhances the Effect of Relative Income on Life Satisfaction
Felix Cheung, Richard E. Lucas
Michigan State University
Previous research has shown that having rich neighbors is associated with reduced levels of subjective well-being, an effect that is likely due to social comparison. The current study examined the role of income inequality as a moderator of this relative income effect. Multilevel analyses were conducted on a sample of over 1.7 million people from 2,425 counties in the United States. Controlling for household income, county income was negatively associated with life satisfaction. Based on our model, people living in richer counties (1SD above mean) would have to earn about $12,500 more per year in order to match the levels of life satisfaction reported by people living in poorer counties (1SD below mean). Furthermore, results showed that higher income inequality was associated with stronger relative income effects. In other words, people were more strongly influenced by the income of their neighbors when income inequality was high.
Painful mistakes: Acetaminophen inhibits the cognitive response to errors
Daniel Randles, Julia Kam, Steven J. Heine, Michael Inzlicht, Todd Handy
The University of British Columbia; The University of Toronto
Recent work has shown that acetaminophen, known to inhibit physical pain and feelings of social rejection, also prevents the motivation to affirm beliefs when feeling uncertain. This may occur because acetaminophen prevents feeling uncertain, but behavioral results offer a limited answer. In a double-blind protocol, we tested whether acetaminophen reduced the cognitive reaction to errors (measured by ERP) using a task that involves neither physical pain nor social rejection. Participants who took acetaminophen produced an inhibited error-related positivity when making mistakes during the Go-NoGo task, and made more errors of omission. Further, errors were correlated with the error-positivity, both within and across condition. These findings support the theoretical perspective that all events involving prediction errors, including pain, social strife, and uncertainty, utilize overlapping cognitive structures. One implication is that acetaminophen inhibits compensatory affirmation after uncertainty manipulations via direct inhibition of the awareness that anything is wrong.
Desire to Affiliate and Accuracy in Understanding Cross-Race Partners
Deborah S. Holoien, Hilary Bergsieker, J. Nicole Shelton, Jan Marie Alegre
The Ohio State University; University of Waterloo; Princeton University
Accurately perceiving how understood interaction partners feel is important for developing intimate relationships and maintaining smooth interactions. During interracial interactions, when are Whites and racial minorities likely to accurately perceive how understood outgroup members feel? We propose that participant race, desire to affiliate, and racial salience moderate accuracy. Examination of interracial roommates (Study 1) and interactions with strangers (Study 2) revealed that when race is salient, Whites’ desire to affiliate with racial minorities hindered accurate perceptions of how understood partners feel. Thus, although the desire to affiliate may appear beneficial, ironically it may interfere with Whites’ ability to accurately perceive racial minorities. By contrast, racial minorities who desired to affiliate with Whites were more accurate in perceiving how understood White partners feel. These findings indicate that racial salience and desire to affiliate interact to influence accurate perceptions of partners and yield different outcomes for Whites and racial minorities.
Stress Under the Skin: Timing and Buffering Effects on Life Stress and Physical Health
Allison K. Farrell, Sooyeon Sung, Jeffry A Simpson
University of Minnesota
Stress is associated with poorer physical health, and stress early in life may program the body in ways that lead to poorer health in adulthood. However, little is known about the exact timing of these effects or protective factors. We use the Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Risk and Adaptation, a 37-year prospective study of development, to test how the timing of stress affects adult health and examine whether supportive parenting alleviates or exacerbates these effects. Stress in early childhood (age 0-5 years), adolescence (13-19 years), and concurrently (32 years) were better predictors of health outcomes at age 32 than stress in middle childhood (6-12 years) or early adulthood (21-28 years). Furthermore, there was a dual risk pattern: greater stress in adolescence combined with high stress in early childhood or at age 32 predicted worse health outcomes. However, supportive parenting buffered these effects, and less supportive parenting yielded worse health outcomes.
The Development of Trait Attributions Based on Faces
Emily Cogsdill, Mahzarin Banaji
Adults attribute traits to others within milliseconds of viewing a face. But is this an innate skill or one that develops over time? Here, we report four studies (N = 1400) showing that children as young as 3-4 years old infer personality and social traits from faces just like adults. Preschoolers consistently attributed both basic “nice/mean” evaluations and more specific traits (e.g., “strong”) to the faces of adults, other children, and even rhesus macaques. Moreover, these perceptions affected their behavior: children preferentially gave pretend gifts to “nicer”-looking faces. These findings suggest that face-to-trait inferences emerge early in life. More important, the consistency between children’s and adults’ attributions illustrates that perceptions may have deep social cognitive underpinnings that guide decisions and consequences across the lifespan.
Being wrong never felt so right: Wrongness admission leads to reduced emotional arousal
Adam Kent Fetterman, Kai Sassenberg
IWM-KMRC, Tⁿbingen, Germany"
No one likes to find out they are factually wrong (e.g., in an argument). Even worse is when we have to admit to being wrong to others. However, we suggest that wrongness admission can have an ameliorative effect on emotional arousal. We tested this assumption in three studies (N = 356) using a recall task, an imagined scenario task, and actual wrongness admission task via a computer. In each study, participants who recalled, imagined, or actually admitted that they were wrong scored higher in emotions related to low arousal. Those who did not admit they were wrong scored higher in emotions related to high arousal. We theorize that admitting wrongness leads one to experience a release from cognitive dissonance, while not admitting leads to a continuation of the dissonance that arises from attitude conflicts. Further implications for wrongness admission and future directions in the study of wrongness admission are discussed.
Self-insight into implicit preferences for social groups: introspective awareness, social awareness, and propositional beliefs
Adam Hahn, Bertram Gawronski, Wilhelm Hofmann
Social Cognition Center Cologne, University of Cologne, Germany"; University of Texas at Austin
We distinguish three aspects of self-knowledge. Introspective awareness refers to a person’s ability to detect and report on his or her own cognitions and emotions and can only be assessed within-subjects, e.g., by comparing a person’s assessment of his or her implicit evaluations across different target groups. Social awareness refers to a person’s ability to accurately place the strength of his or her cognitions within the sample distribution; e.g., to assess whether one’s implicit preferences are more or less strong than the preferences of other people, evaluated between-subjects. Lastly, propositional beliefs refer to people’s explicitly self-reported representations of themselves. We argue that many psychologists make inferences about introspective awareness although their methods only allow for conclusions about social awareness. Seven IAT studies (total N=833) show that these constructs can be reliably distinguished, and that introspective awareness is higher in most participants than many psychologists currently seem to think.
Measuring and Understanding “Everyday” Charisma
Konstantin Tskhay, Rebecca Zhu, Chris Zou, Nicholas Rule
University of Toronto
Charisma is among the most important social traits yet, to date, it has remained largely intangible. Most research on charisma has focused on high-ranking leaders. Here, we consider the “everyday charisma” that we encounter among friends, coworkers, and other “ordinary” people. We began by developing and validating an Everyday Charisma Scale with a broad sample of older and younger respondents (total N=1388), which revealed two facets: Influence and Kindness. We then used multiple methods (round-robin judgments, informant reports, and thin-slice judgments) to assess the perceptibility of everyday charisma. Everyday charisma was accurately perceived from less than 5 minutes of interaction but not accurately perceived from thin slices, underscoring the interpersonal nature of the kind of charisma that we all encounter throughout our daily lives.
Making Friends: Individual Differences in Valence Weighting Predict Friendship Development
Matthew D. Rocklage, Evava S. Pietri, Russell H. Fazio
Ohio State University
Research has shown that individuals differ in the fundamental way they weight positive versus negative information – i.e., in their valence weighting bias. This study demonstrates that friendship development is related to this valence weighting process. We behaviorally measured first-year students’ weighting bias early in the academic year – using the BeanFest paradigm (Fazio, Eiser, & Shook, 2004) – and then asked them to list the friends they had made to that point. They then returned two months later and listed the new friends they had made during the interim period. Controlling for initial number of friends and Big Five personality traits, friend-making was predicted by individuals’ valence weighting tendencies as measured in the initial weeks of the semester. In particular, those with the most negative weighting bias made, on average, four new friends while those with the most positive weighting bias made, on average, fourteen new friends.
Person versus object recognition: Masking sexual body parts and humanization as antidotes to women’s sexual objectification
Philippe Bernard, Sarah J. Gervais, Jill Allen, Olivier Klein
UniversitΘ Libre de Bruxelles; University of Nebraska; Montana State University
Recent studies have shown that women’s bodies are sexually objectified at a cognitive level. Specifically, research using the body-inversion recognition task, a robust indicator of configural (vs. analytic) processing shows that for sexualized females, people recognize upright and inverted bodies similarly rather than recognizing upright bodies better than inverted bodies (i.e., an inversion effect). This finding suggests that sexualized female bodies are recognized analytically rather than configurally, or objectified at a basic cognitive level. Grounded in objectification theory, we present 4 experiments (N = 125) examining moderating factors that may prompt more configural processing (i.e., produce an inversion effect), instead of more analytic processing. Experiment 1 replicates prior findings and Experiments 2a, 2b, and 3 examined whether reducing the salience of sexual body parts and providing humanizing information about the targets causes perceivers to recognize sexualized female bodies more configurally, reducing the cognitive objectification of women.
Positive Consequences of Inclusive Diverse Practices: Interdependent Motivation, Academic Fit and Identification, Persistence and Performance
Tiffany N. Brannon, Hazel Rose Markus, Valerie Taylor
Northwestern University; Stanford University; Spelman College
The present research tested the prediction that university settings which are non-threatening and inclusive of opportunities to take part in activities associated with diverse, non-dominant, cultures can enhance ethnic-minority students’ academic persistence and performance. Using a national dataset of African-American college students (N = 326) Study 1A found that engagement with African American cultural practices on campus was related to greater interdependent motivation. And, consistent with past research which finds a link between interdependence and identification, the study found that this cultural participation fostered increased academic fit and identification. In Study 1B, using the same national dataset, engagement with African-American culture was shown to predict greater academic achievement (GPA) and persistence (reported enrollment in an advanced degree program in a long-term follow-up). African-American students’ sense of fit and identification mediated the effects of cultural engagement on performance and persistence. Discussion examines the intergroup benefits of leveraging culture as a source of motivation.
Data 2.0: Big Data Insights into Emotion, Altruism, Friendship, Happiness, and Health
Friday, February 27, 2015, 11:15 AM - 12:30 PM, Grand Ballroom B
Paul Piff, University of California, Irvine
Aleksandr Kogan, University of Cambridge
Four talks highlight how big data is revolutionizing social science research. Keltner reports cultural variation in emoticon usage. Kogan shows that social class and altruism independently influence friendship. Killingsworth reveals that distinct social interactions differentially impact happiness. Sandstrom finds significant differences in the daily habits of happy and unhappy people.
Darwin’s Emoticons and the Expression of Emotion on Facebook
University of California, Berkeley"
Using Darwin's descriptions of 40 emotions, we constructed hand-drawn emoticons, which were verified in emotion recognition data from different cultures. These drawings were then a basis for the construction of the animated "Finch" emoticons set on Facebook, which includes 16 distinct emotions. We captured four weeks of data worldwide in the use of Finch––during which time 148,883,001 Finch emoticons were sent. All data were at the national level, allowing us to test how national differences in Finch usage predicted national differences in well-being and health. We found that both (a) total amount and (b) diversity of emotional expression was associated with greater health and well-being within a nation, holding constant levels of inequality, GDP, and doctors per 1000 citizens. We also will present data exploring cultural variations in emotional expression through Finch, and present correlates of cultural tendencies toward the use of emoticons expressing emotions like sympathy and awe.
Be Wealthy or Kind: The Dual Routes of Social Class and Altruism to Friendship Formation
Aleksandr Kogan, Blaine Landis, Rui Sun, Maurice Yearwood
University of Cambridge; University College London
Social relationships play a vital role in shaping virtually every aspect of life, from people’s health and well-being to their financial prosperity. Past work suggests that similarity and proximity play powerful roles in promoting social relationships. Here, we demonstrate that social class and altruism are two additional forces that promote friendships. In 3 individual level experimental and correlational studies and macro-data on every friendship formed on Facebook in every nation in the world in 2011 (70 billion friendships), we demonstrate that (a) people with higher social class and from higher GDP per capita nations tend to attract friendships more than lower class individuals, (b) social class is paradoxically negatively related to internationalism, and (c) for lower class—but not higher class—individuals and nations, altruism is positively tied to number of friendships. Our findings highlight how lower class and higher class individuals have differential pathways to friendship formation.
Using Experience Sampling to Understand the Relationship Between Happiness and Social Interactions in Everyday Life
Matthew A. Killingsworth
It is widely thought that social interactions are important for happiness, but the variation in happiness associated with different types of interactions has not been fully characterized. Experience sampling data from >50,000 people were collected to investigate the relationship between happiness and a variety of properties of everyday social interactions. Results reveal that social interactions are a robustly positive predictor of happiness across a wide variety of situations, but the size of this effect varies greatly depending on the nature of the interaction. Moreover, while in-person interactions were associated with substantial increases in happiness, technologically-mediated interactions were associated with more modest increases, and interactions over social networks were associated with no increase in happiness at all (but also no decrease in happiness). The association between happiness and a variety of social interaction properties will be discussed.
Daily Habits of Happy People: Using Mobile Phones to Detect Behavioral Patterns
Gillian M. Sandstrom, Neal Lathia, Peter J. Rentfrow, Cecilia Mascolo
University of Cambridge
Do the daily habits of happy people differ from those of less happy people? The ubiquity of mobile phones and their constant presence in people’s daily lives make them ideal for studying behavior in the real world. We developed a mobile application (Emotion Sense) to collect behavioral data from both self-reports and phone sensors (location from GPS, physical activity from accelerometer, social activity from phone/SMS logs). Across a sample of over 10,000 participants who used Emotion Sense over variable periods of time, we found that happier people, relative to less happy people, reported more physical activity and more social activity (e.g., in-person conversations, time at social locations). Importantly, self-reported and sensor-assessed behavior were strongly correlated. These findings provide new insights into how happy people engage with the physical and social world.
Social Psychology Everywhere: Bridging the Gap Between Industry and Academia
Friday, February 27, 2015, 11:15 AM - 12:30 PM, Room 103A
Joshua Tabak, Google Inc. & Cornell University
Social and personality psychologists can practice basic and applied science outside academia, but such opportunities are not well known. This panel will describe some of the many ways social and personality psychologists can extend their research programs beyond the academy and into industry. There will be an extended Q&A.
Comparing Research Practice in Industry and the Academy
Vivian Zayas, Joshua A. Tabak
Google Inc. and Cornell University
SPSP attendees know what social and personality psychology is like within academia, but what is it like in industry settings? During her year-long sabbatical from Cornell as a visiting scientist at Google, Zayas learned for herself. Zayas will discuss her experience at Google as well as the many opportunities and challenges open to social psychologists in industry settings and how the scientific practice differs outside of the academy.
Why are Social Psychologists so Valuable Outside of Academic Labs?
Social psychologists have a unique perspective on online interactions - one which many technology companies desperately need. But for academics in social psychology, it’s not always clear where their skills and experience fit. Antin will describe the ways in which a social psychological perspective has been directly applicable to improving the experience of Facebook products. In addition, he’ll share thoughts on how academic social psychologists can work to make their skills and experience more applicable and attractive to industry research needs.
How to Become the Social Psychologist Industry Wants to Hire & Perform Research at Scale
The need for social scientists in the technology industry has never been greater -- as online social life increasingly becomes synonymous with social life generally, the skills that social psychologists bring to bear in understanding both intrapersonal and interpersonal phenomena become critical to our understanding of how to design and implement effective systems for mediated interaction. Industry jobs provide an opportunity to do research at scale and with great ecological validity; moreover, research findings can immediately and directly inform the design and development of tools that hundreds of millions of people use every day. Yet academic approaches don’t always translate directly, and certain additional skills, such as software development, can come in handy. Fiore will compare the types of research work that social scientists do in industry and academia and discuss the skills that academic researchers can cultivate to be successful in industry.
My Journey from Grad School with Tenure-track Plans to Google Research
Joshua Abraham Tabak
Google Inc. and Cornell University
How does a social psychology grad student explore research opportunities in industry, and how does one become competitive for such opportunities? Almost all major companies that create consumer-facing products employ user or product researchers in some way, and social or personality psychology training sets up a candidate well for such roles. The catch is that many companies hesitate to hire candidates who have the right core skills but have not applied those skills outside of academia. Some of the best stepping stones between academia and industry -- and also the best ways to figure out if industry will be an enjoyable experience -- include temporary/contract roles or internships. Tabak will describe his journey from academia to industry, the journeys of his friends and mentees, and boons and pitfalls of various approaches to the journey.
When Wanting is not Enough: How Affect and Cognition Promote Success at Self-Control
Friday, February 27, 2015, 11:15 AM - 12:30 PM, Promenade Ballroom 104A
Janina Steinmetz, University of Cologne
Ayelet Fishbach, University of Chicago
This symposium sheds light on affective and cognitive mechanisms that promote successful goal pursuit. Specifically, the first two talks explore how affective reactions during goal conflicts and goal attainment influence self-control success. The third and fourth presentations are concerned with cognitive processes, namely the framing of rewards and temptations, respectively.
Is Self-Control an Emotion?: Deconstructing the Emotional Properties of Cognitive Control
Michael Inzlicht, Blair Saunders, Nathaniel Brown
University of Toronto
James Russel (2003) argues that “basic emotions” can be broken down into more primitive elements, including changes in core affect, attributions, appraisals, physiology, expression, subjective experiences, and emotional meta-experience. Here, we present a model suggesting that self-control is instigated by the presence of goal conflicts that produce phasic twinges of negative affect. Emotional changes, then, are at the heart of control and we provide evidence by highlighting recent work linking conflict with neural, visceral, facial, experiential, and evaluative indices of negative affect. We further present empirical studies suggesting that these changes in negative affect predict aspects of cognitive control, and that control can be moderated by changing attributions, appraisals, and emotional meta-experience. In sum, a greater appreciation of the emotional nature of self-control can help make sense of robust findings in the literature and generate novel and testable predictions that would otherwise be unanticipated.
Affective Consequences of Intentional Action Control
Peter M. Gollwitzer, Torsten Martiny-Huenger, Gabriele Oettingen
University of Konstanz and New York University
We will present evidence that successfully implemented actions have evaluative consequences for distractor stimuli and that these evaluative consequences influence subsequent actions. In two first studies (N = 105), we extend research on devaluation effects (i.e., more negative evaluations) for distractor stimuli (i.e., visually ignored or response suppressed stimuli) by providing evidence that the affective devaluation can happen at the level of specific objects and is particularly strong for interference-creating distractors. In two further studies (N = 104) we investigated the consequences of the affective devaluation for subsequent encounters with the distractors (for example, as stimuli that require a response). As expected, we find that response times to prior distractors were impaired and that more negative distractor evaluations predicted the impaired (i.e., slower) responses. We will discuss the results as a mechanism of how intended actions induce affective changes that in turn facilitate the maintenance of the intentions.
Intrinsic Rewards for Extrinsic Goals
Ayelet Fishbach, Kaitlin Woolley
University of Chicago
Pursuing goals delivers immediate rewards in the process and delayed rewards that define the goal’s outcome. In five studies, we find that whereas people plan their pursuits based on the goal outcome (will exercise make me healthy eventually?), people actually pursue and persist based on the goal process (is exercising fun right now?). Therefore, attention to immediate rewards in planning extrinsically-motivated goals improves persistence. Specifically, we document a shift in the weight people give to immediate and delayed rewards and that because of this shift, people choose to pursue goals using means they are less likely to persist on and are more likely to later regret. We further find that we can increase persistence on goals by directing people to choose means based on immediate rewards. For example, people consume more healthy food when they choose healthy food base on taste (an immediate reward) than health (a delayed reward).
An Interdependent Self-Construal Facilitates Self-Control by Increasing an Interrelated Perspective on Temptations
Janina Steinmetz, Thomas Mussweiler
University of Cologne
We examine the hypothesis that one fundamental dimension of the self, namely the distinction between an interdependent and an independent self-construal, crucially affects self-control. In specific, an interdependent self-construal fosters holistic, interrelated information processing in general and might thus also lead to an interrelated perspective on temptations. Such an interrelated perspective on temptations has been shown to make the costs of indulging in a temptation more salient and, thereby, to increase self-control. In line with our hypothesis, Studies 1 through 3 demonstrate that a dispositional as well as temporarily activated interdependent construal of the self directly facilitates self-control. We investigate the role of this processing style more directly by showing that interdependent participants have a more interrelated perspective on temptations (Study 4), which in turn leads to better self-control (Studies 5a and 5b). Taken together, these findings demonstrate how self-construal – via its fundamental influence on information processing – shapes self-control.
Perceiving the Partner: How Beliefs About Others Shape the Relationship Experience
Friday, February 27, 2015, 11:15 AM - 12:30 PM, Promenade Ballroom 104C
Joanna Anderson, Cornell University
Relationships, and lives, are shaped fundamentally by our perceptions and expectations of others. In four talks, we consider how personality and experience influence evaluations of potential and current partners, which in turn have profound effects on the quality and development of one’s relationships.
Self-Sabotaging From the Start: Avoidants’ Unwillingness to Trust Strangers Limits Their Social Network Integration
Joanna E Anderson, David Dunning
Trust is central to a functioning society, which relies on fleeting associations between individuals for the exchange of goods and services. It is also central to attachment theory, but the latter typically focuses on close relationships, to the relative exclusion of the broader network—a gap we address in this research. Using a trust game paradigm, Studies 1a and 1b revealed that people high (vs. low) in attachment avoidance are less trusting of an unacquainted peer. Study 2 then demonstrated that avoidant people report less social network integration (SNI): fewer and lower-quality relationships. Finally, Study 3 showed experimentally that trust mediates the association between avoidant attachment and SNI: new trust game participants who received the decisions of avoidant (vs. non-avoidant) people from Study 1a were subsequently less willing to interact with them. These results suggest that attachment style and trust influence not just close relationships but one’s entire social network.
What’s Past is Prologue: How the Epistemic Value of Prior Romantic Experience Influences Connection Goals
Justin V Cavallo, Miranda Giacomin
Wilfrid Laurier University
Research has investigated how people cope with relationship dissolution, but less is known about how coping processes influence subsequent relationship goals. We hypothesized that ascribing epistemic value to a past romantic experience (i.e., feeling that it provided useful interpersonal knowledge) can motivate attempts to apply that knowledge by connecting with partners who are similar to an ex-partner. Results from three experimental studies revealed that relative to control participants, participants who were made to feel a past relationship had high epistemic value reported greater desire for their current partner to be similar to a past partner (Study 1), were more attracted to novel people who shared traits with a past partner (Study 2), and felt more connected to their current romantic partners after considering ways this person was similar to a past partner (Study 3). These results suggest that one’s romantic past plays an important role in future relationship development.
Self-Esteem Predicts Partner Responsiveness—Perceived and Actual—to the Expression of Negative Experiences
Kassandra Cortes, Joanne V. Wood
University of Waterloo
Past research indicates that people with low self-esteem (LSEs) perceive their partners to be less responsive than do people with high self-esteem (HSEs). Does this mean that partners of LSEs really are less responsive than partners of HSEs, or is this belief an artifact of LSEs’ poor self-views? We examined how self-esteem predicts perceived and actual partner responsiveness to the expression of negative experiences occurring outside of the relationship (e.g., a bad day at work). In 3 studies, we found that LSEs (vs. HSEs) perceived their partners to be less responsive, but more importantly, that partners of LSEs indeed reported being less responsive than did the partners of HSEs. This phenomenon was observed through self-report, partner report, and in response to a negative experience in the lab.
Without a Voice: Negative Partner Expectancies Limit the Expression of Relationship Complaints in People with Low Self-Esteem
Megan H McCarthy, Joanne V. Wood, John G. Holmes
University of Waterloo
When partners behave badly, directly communicating complaints can be beneficial for resolving the problem and improving the relationship. However, speaking up also risks that our concerns will be left unheard or unaddressed. Low self-esteem people (LSEs), who lack trust in others' responsiveness, may be particularly hesitant to confront their partners about their concerns. Consistent with this, Study 1 showed that LSEs expressed relationship dissatisfaction to romantic partners and roommates less directly than their high self-esteem (HSE) counterparts (e.g., remained silent, behaved passive-aggressively, talked to people outside of the relationship). Study 2 suggested that LSEs' indirectness may stem from a sense of powerlessness: LSEs, compared to HSEs, believed that either speaking up or holding back would be risky and ineffective. LSEs may fail to address relationship problems because they believe that they cannot produce change in their partners or relationships.
How Multi-Method Assessment of Personality Can Enhance Research on Behavior, Development, and Outcomes
Friday, February 27, 2015, 11:15 AM - 12:30 PM, Room 201A
Allison Tackman, University of Oregon
Joshua Jackson, Washington University in St. Louis
How can multi-method personality assessment improve measurement and lead to new discoveries? In this symposium, 4 speakers will show the diverse benefits of using multiple-informant designs, behavioral assessments, and mobile sensing to study social behavior, personality development, and major life outcomes.
Multi-Method Assessment of Child Personality: Triangulation on a Moving Target
Jennifer L. Tackett
University of Houston
Assessment of personality in childhood has long required creative approaches given the limitations around collecting self-report data from children. As such, multi-method, multi-informant approaches are more common, but introduce new challenges into research as well, such as inherent discrepancies and reduced magnitude of associations. Data are presented from a 4-wave longitudinal study of 346 children, aged 9-10 years at intake, for whom personality information was collected from multiple informants (self, mothers, and fathers), via multiple methods (questionnaires, thin-slice video coding, and emotion elicitation paradigms), and across multiple personality trait frameworks (personality and temperament). Triangulation on child personality traits revealed advantages for different methods and informants, and differential prediction of behavioral competencies and maladjustment. Results will be discussed in the context of measuring personality when no “gold standard” exists and the challenges and nuances this offers our understanding of what constitutes personality.
Extraversion and Network Centrality: Social Network Analysis of Face-to-Face Interactions Captured with Mobile Sensor Networks
Benjamin S. Crosier, Gregory D. Webster, Ida J. Griesemer
Dartmouth College, Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center, Center for Technology and Behavioral Health"; University of Florida; Dartmouth College
Modern social network research is driven by two modes of data collection: self-report and online social networks. Both data sources capture important information, yet they neglect actual face-to-face interaction. The present research used a new method, mobile sensor networks, to assess real-time social interaction via physical proximity in 22 small groups of unacquainted people (N = 185). We used proximity information to model social network formation. Using social network analysis and multilevel modeling, we replicated prior work in online and offline social networks that showed a link between personality and social network structure. Specifically, extraversion was positively related to network centrality, a measure of importance or influence. Our results establish mobile sensing as a new method for examining emergent social networks in a laboratory setting, and offer a novel proxy for assessing extraversion by highlighting its link with network structure. We discuss mobile sensing’s theoretical and practical implications for social–personality research.
Using Multiple Perspectives to Inform the Association between Personality and Important Life Outcomes
Joshua Jackson, Sarah M. Garrison, James J. Connolly, Madeleine Leveille
Washington University in St. Louis; Vanderbilt University; Connolly Consulting
Personality traits predict numerous outcomes such as health and relationship status, sometimes decades in advance. However, the vast majority of these studies rely on self-reported personality. As a result, the relationship between personality and important outcomes might be underestimated or overlooked. Using 300 romantic couples we investigated how close peers (N = 2909) and romantic partner assessments of personality provide novel insights into health and relationships. Results indicate that partner- and peer-reported personality traits mostly correspond with self-reports, but that combining assessments yields a more reliable and stronger association. In some instances, novel contributions were found. For example, spousal and peer reports of agreeableness were related to divorce, whereas self-reports were not, suggesting that context specific behaviors related to divorce are uniquely visible to observers. In general, findings conclude that pathways between personality and outcome are missed when only relying on one data source.
Relationships and Personality Development in Adulthood: A Multiple-Informant Approach
Allison Mary Tackman, Sanjay Srivastava, John C. Flournoy, Gerard Saucier
University of Oregon
Social-transactional theories of personality propose that relationships are an important influence on personality development. Previous research has largely relied on self-reports, but relationship partners and informants outside of the relationship may provide important additional perspectives. Using an accelerated longitudinal design, we examined how relationship status (e.g., never married vs. married) and transitions (e.g., starting a relationship) are associated with personality trait change using self- and informant-reports. At 4 annual assessments, participants (N = 1153, Ages 18 to 66) provided self-reports of the Big Five/Six and nominated up to 6 informants (e.g., family, friends, and romantic partners) to report on their personality. Analyses looked at effects of status and transitions on personality development. We found substantial convergence between self- and informant-reports, but also important differences for some traits (such as effects of relationship transitions on openness). We will discuss the benefits of multiple-informant assessments of personality in research on personality development.
Spontaneous Thoughts and Images
Friday, February 27, 2015, 11:15 AM - 12:30 PM, Room 201B
Gabriele Oettingen, New York University and University of Hamburg
Timur Sevincer, University of Hamburg
The symposium presents research exploring the frequency and content of spontaneous thoughts and images in everyday life and their correlates and consequences for various indicators of successful performance and well-being. The presented research uses a variety of methods such as experience sampling, content-analyses, and experimental manipulations.
Ideas of Physicists and Writers Regularly Occur During Episodes of Mind-Wandering
Jonathan W. Schooler, Shelly Gable, Elizabeth Hopper, Michael D. D. Mrazek
University of California at Santa Barbara
Professional writers (53) and physicists (45) completed a 14-day daily experience study in which every day they reported on their most creative idea of the day (if they had one), the context in which it occurred, the phenomenology of the experience, and the quality of the idea. In addition, 6 months later participants were mailed their verbatim descriptions of each idea and reported on its current status. Both writers and physicists reported that over 40% of their most significant ideas of the day were formed while they were mind-wandering, i.e. actively doing something other than working on the project or topic in which the idea occurred. Although there were no differences in the overall rating of the creativity of ideas that occurred when on task versus mind-wandering (either initially or six months later), mind-wandering ideas were more likely to be associated with an “aha” experience when they occurred.
What Were You Thinking? Past, Present, and Future in a Random Sample of Everyday Thoughts
Roy F. Baumeister, Kathleen D. Vohs, Wilhelm Hofmann
Florida State University; University of Minnesota; University of Chicago
Participants were contacted at random moments as they went about their daily lives. They reported what they were thinking when the signal came, including whether their thoughts were focused on the past, present, and/or future. Thinking about the present was most common. Thinking about the future was far more common than the past. Significant quadratic effects showed opposite patterns for happiness vs. meaning, with present the highest happiness but lowest meaningfulness. Mental time travel (past or future) was associated with more stress, negative emotion, desire, and mental fatigue. Thoughts of the past increased when one lacked mental control. Of 21 personality traits, 18 predicted thinking about past but only 8 about future, suggesting that thinking back is more variable than thinking ahead. Implications include the surprising rarity of remembering, the tradeoff between happiness and meaningfulness, the pervasiveness of planning, and links of mental time travel to negativity, being alone, and pathology.
Spontaneous Mental Contrasting: Antecedents and Consequences
Timur Sevincer, Gabriele Oettingen
University of Hamburg; New York University
Self-regulation by mental contrasting a desired future with present reality fosters selective goal pursuit: People pursue goals that they deem feasible, and let go from those that they deem unfeasible. Indulging in the future, dwelling on reality, or contrasting reality with the future lead to indiscriminate goal pursuits. We developed a content-analytic measure to unobtrusively observe spontaneous mental contrasting in people writing about an important wish (Study 1; 231). Just like induced mental contrasting, spontaneous mental contrasting predicted selective goal pursuit measured by self-reported (Study 2; 321) and observed performance (Study 3; 212). Testing for situational variables, anticipating goal-relevant (vs. goal-irrelevant) action predicted mental contrasting (Study 4; 239); testing for individual difference variables, high need for cognition (Study 5; 96) was one important predictor of mental contrasting. Apparently, people spontaneously mental contrast when the situation demands it and they find satisfaction in thinking.
Self-Talk as a Regulatory Mechanism: How you do it Matters
Ozlem Ayduk, Ethan Kross, Jason Moser
University of California Berkeley; University of Michigan at Ann Arbor; Michigan State University
Self-talk is ubiquitous. We all have an internal monologue that we engage in from time-to-time. Yet, surprisingly little research has examined the role that self-talk plays as a basic regulatory mechanism in adults. This talk will present findings from 5 studies (total N = 734) that address this question at multiple levels of analyses. Findings indicate that cueing people to use non first person pronouns and their own name (rather than “I”) to refer to the self during introspection substantially increases their ability to exert self-control under conditions that arouse social stress. Furthermore, these regulatory benefits are explained by event appraisals, with people instructed to use non-first person self-talk (vs. first-person self-talk) appraising stressors more in terms of challenge and less in terms of threat. The potential practical applications of language use as a regulatory process will be discussed.
Power Impacts Social Identity and The Self-Concept
Friday, February 27, 2015, 11:15 AM - 12:30 PM, Room 202ABC
Andrea Vial, Yale University
This symposium highlights ways in which power impacts social identity and the self-concept. In four talks, we show that power renders power-related attributes more self-relevant; power increases role-congruent self-construals; and it both impacts social identity, as well as it interacts with it to influence the behavior of powerful people.
Objects of Desire: Subordinate Ingratiation Triggers Self-Objectification Among Powerful
Kimberly Rios, M. Ena Inesi, Sun Young Lee
Ohio University; London Business School; University College London
We propose that powerful individuals can become victims of self-objectification, whereby power-relevant attributes become more important to their self-concept and lead to behavior consistent with that self-concept. This process is triggered by the receipt of ostensibly kind acts from subordinates, which are interpreted by power-holders as objectifying acts of ingratiation. In Studies 1 and 2 (online studies), high-power participants rated power-relevant attributes as more important to their self-concept, but only after a triggering event (e.g., receiving a favor). In Studies 3 and 4 (laboratory studies), high-power participants who received a favor were more likely than others to believe that they are objectified for their power-relevant attributes. As a result, they rated power-relevant attributes as more important to their self-concept (Study 3) and were willing to pay more for products associated with power, but not for products unrelated to power (Study 4).
I am my (High Power) Role: Power and Role Congruent Self-Construal
Priyanka D Joshi, Nathanael J. Fast
Marshall School of Business
We propose that power enhances identification with power-providing roles, resulting in greater role congruent self-construal. Contrary to the belief that power is experienced as liberating, freeing people to behave in ways congruent with their internal beliefs, we provide evidence from three laboratory studies showing that power enhances role conformity due to enhanced role congruent self-construal. In Study 1, participants showed greater implicit identification with the assigned role (teacher or student) when the role afforded power, irrespective of role status. In Study 2, infusing a role (HR Manager) with power resulted in greater role identification and role-congruent behavior. Study 3 demonstrated that power resulted in greater role congruent self-construal, such that having power in a close relationship caused participants to define themselves relationally whereas having power in a group situation caused participants to embrace a collective self-construal. Implications for research on power, roles, and the self are discussed.
High Power Mindsets Reduce Strength of Gender Identification in Women (but Not in Men)
Andrea C Vial, Jaime L. Napier
We propose that personal power can differentially impact the social identity of members of high- and low-status groups. Members of low-status groups who attain personal power may derive less psychological benefits from identifying with the in-group, and as a result may not identify as strongly as members of low-status groups who are also low-power individuals. We examined whether manipulating power mindsets impacted how central or important gender group membership was to the overall self-concept. In Study 1 (online), we experimentally induced high or low power mindsets and found that high power led women (but not men) to report significantly lower levels of identification with their gender in-group. In Study 2, we replicated this effect among female undergraduates in a lab setting, and found it was moderated by the salience of gender group membership: Only high power women who interacted with low power men reported lower levels of gender identification.
Power, Gender Identity, and Gender Stereotyping in Masculine Domains
Theresa Katherine Vescio, Nathaniel J. Ratcliff, Julia L. Dahl, Kristine Schlenker
The Pennsylvania State University; Peace Corps
In masculine domains, power and social identity influence powerful people’s behavior toward their subordinates and low power people’s reactions. The findings of four laboratory experiments (N=505 undergraduates) show race and gender based biases in powerful peoples’ decisions about to whom they should relinquish power when they are failing to advance group goals (Study 1). However, when worried about performing poorly but not able to relinquish power, women’s insecurity predicts gender role identification and leads to stereotyping of the self and low power others, as well as pro-male biases in decision making (Study 2). Given similarly behaving men and women in power, low power women are more insecure than men (Study 3). Low power women who are insecure also (a) find powerful women to be expectancy violating and worthy of sabotage (Study 3) and (b) self-sexualization as a means of appeasing that fear of backlash from powerful men (Study 4).
The Origins and Consequences of Reciprocity
Friday, February 27, 2015, 11:15 AM - 12:30 PM, Room 203ABC
Jillian Jordan, Yale University
David Rand, Yale University
Reciprocity – the tendency to reward prosocial behavior and punish antisocial behavior - is central to cooperation and morality. This symposium integrates diverse approaches to study why people are so inclined to reciprocate. We explore reciprocal tendencies of non-human primates and infants, and show how reciprocating benefits both individuals and society.
Inequity as a Cue to the Value of One’s Social Partners
Georgia State University
Inequity is a major social problem, impacting humans from the individual to the global level. Therefore, an increased understanding of what causes feelings of inequity and how to ameliorate them is essential. Humans are not alone in this; other species, too, respond negatively to unequal outcomes as compared to a social partner, and studying these species’ reactions can tell us something about the evolution of our own behavior. In this talk I will synthesize this literature, focusing on the role of inequity in cooperation. Responses to inequity are found in species that cooperate outside of the bonds of kinship and mating, and at least capuchin monkeys will quit cooperating with an unfair partner, even when inequitable outcomes are not possible (n=10). These findings indicate that individuals in these species may be using inequity as a cue to whether or not to continue cooperating with a given social partner.
Mechanisms Supporting Human Cooperation in the First Two Years of Life: Reward and Punishment in Infants and Toddlers
University of British Columbia
Adults believe that good acts should be rewarded and bad ones punished. The tendencies to reward and punish have been argued to be essential to the evolution of altruistic and cooperative behavior in humans, encouraging prosociality and discouraging antisociality; but how and when do these tendencies develop? I will present evidence that 21-month-old toddlers selectively reward prosocial and punish antisocial third parties in both first-order (punishing harmful others) and second-order (punishing those who have failed to punish harmful others) scenarios (n=96), and despite being too young to engage in rewarding or punishing behaviors themselves, 4.5-month-olds positively evaluate those who reward helpful and punish harmful others (n=82). These results suggest that tendencies supporting reward and punishment exist extremely early in life, arguably before socialization could be solely responsible for their emergence, and support theories of the evolution of human cooperation.
Moralistic Gossip acts to Signal Moral Goodness
Jillian Jordan, Paul Bloom, David Rand
Humans frequently engage in verbal condemnation of immoral behaviors, even as unaffected third-party observers. Here we investigate why people engage in such moralistic gossip. We present three vignette studies suggesting that moralistic gossip benefits the gossiper by signaling moral goodness. In Study 1 (n=781), people perceive gossipers as less likely to engage in the behaviors they are condemning, and trust and like them more as a result. Study 2 (n=810) shows that condemning a transgression, and thus indirectly signaling one's moral goodness, is more effective than directly stating that one does not commit that transgression. Study 3 (n=230) suggests that this is because condemnation is seen as reflecting genuine moral outrage, whereas direct statements are seen as self-serving. Together, these results suggest that moral condemnation effectively acts to signal moral goodness, and may help explain the prevalence of moralistic gossip as a self-interested strategy for improving one’s reputation.
A Righteous Path to Cooperation: Moral Judgments Promote Prosocial Motivation, Behavior, and Sentiments
Robb Willer, Brent Simpson, Ashley Harrell
Stanford University; University of South Carolina
We investigate the effectiveness of moral judgments, relative to material punishments, for motivating pro-group behaviors and sentiments. While research finds material punishments are effective in increasing group members' contributions to group efforts, they are costly and can undermine trust and intrinsic motivations to give. Across two experimental studies in which individuals could contribute to a public good that benefited all group members, we find that offering individuals opportunities to evaluate one another's moral standing between rounds of interaction led to greater contributions than in “no evaluation” or “nonmoral evaluation” control conditions (Study 1, n=136). Contribution levels and reported group identification and solidarity were comparable to those achieved in groups that could deploy material punishments (Study 2, n=216). Moral judgments offered additional benefits for groups. After the public good game, participants exposed to moral judgments showed more trust, trustworthiness and generosity to other group members than those in the other conditions.
Symposium Session C
The Joy of Giving Our Science Away
Friday, February 27, 2015, 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM, Grand Ballroom A
C. Nathan DeWall, University of Kentucky
Why should social and personality psychologists communicate their science to a broad audience? This session answers that question by showcasing some of the field's most influential writers and communicators.
The Ethics of Giving Psychology Away: Scientists’ Contributions to the Marketplace of Ideas
Eli J. Finkel
Social/personality psychologists study topics that interest the general public. This interest creates robust demand for information, which a wide range of public figures seek to meet. How can scientists navigate the ethical complexities of contributing to this marketplace of ideas despite its foreign communication norms of certitude, volume, and bluntness?
On Writing Psychological Science: Some Lessons Learned
David G. Myers
I will celebrate the teaching of psychological science through writing and describe my journey from doing psychological science to also giving it away. Drawing on my own and others’ experience I will offer tips on developing one’s writing, indicate venues for teaching-through-writing, and offer suggestions for a writing-supportive environment and self-management.
Sharing Social Psychology with the Public: What I've Learned and How it Changed My Perspective on Our Science
Elizabeth W. Dunn
University of British Columbia
Drawing on my experience writing articles for media outlets such as the NYT, as well as a trade book, I’ll discuss what I’ve learned about how to share our science with a broad audience. And I’ll describe how these experiences, in turn, have shaped the way I do science.
Data Into Stories: How I Learned to Love Social Psychology
New York Times
How did someone who took a total of one psychology course end up writing about it in the New York Times and in books? A journalist discusses how he came to appreciate the rewards – and the challenges – of sharing social psychologists’ work with the public.
Finding Patterns in a Maze of Data: Four Examples of Building Broad, Integrative Models
Friday, February 27, 2015, 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM, Grand Ballroom B
Adam Galinsky, Columbia University
Robust discoveries require the recognition of clear patterns that exist across a wide range of data. By finding these patterns, researchers can construct integrative theories that capture broad fundamental truths. This symposium presents four attempts to build such models. Each talk traverses dozens of studies to reveal their models.
When Person Perception Does not Discriminate Between the Self and Other
Tessa West, Chadly Stern
New York University
The current talk explores whether the processes through which we come to understand ourselves differs from the process we use to understand others. We first examine this question meta-analytically using small-group data (from zero acquaintance groups to therapy groups for sex offenders) and demonstrate that self and other perception are quite similar: Variables moderate self and other perception in similar ways, and there is strong overlap between self-other agreement and consensus, and assumed similarity and assimilation. We then examine the motivational underpinnings of this phenomenon in groups in which perceivers have reason to want to avoid or attain self-other overlap in perception. First, in the context of power, self-other overlap can hinder or help individuals in high and low-power groups predict how they will be treated by outgroups. Second, in the context of diversity, self-other overlap can help racially diverse groups achieve their goals in a field setting.
Motivated to Misbehave: How the Same Forces that Increase Motivation also Generate Unethical Behavior
University of Toronto
We propose that the same basic variables that predict motivation will also predict the likelihood of unethical behavior. We present evidence for this motivation to unethicality path across four research areas: a) stretch goals increase effort but also lead to cheating; b) winner-take-all reward systems maximize motivation but lead to bribery and sabotage; c) competing with rivals spurs performance but also increases unethical tactics in competition; d) loss frames increase focus and performance but lead to misrepresentation and deception. We also present a formal model that offers an Ethical Extension of Expectancy Theory, an influential framework for predicting motivation. Our formal model proposes that any attempt to increase employee motivation will also increase the occurrence of ethical transgressions. Whenever organizations create systems that increase motivation, they must also put in place mechanisms (e.g., conduct codes, commitment mechanisms, strong punishments for transgressions) that prevent their motivation system from producing unethical behavior.
When Good is Stronger than Bad
Julian Jake Zlatev, Nir Halevy
Past research has declared a robust scientific truism: "bad is stronger than good", i.e., negative information and events impact cognitive, affective, and behavioral reactions more strongly than equivalent positive information and events. This talk reviews systematic exceptions to this rule. First, we show that the proactive versus reactive nature of a judgment or behavior is a critical reversal of the bad-is-stronger-than-good effect. Proactive thinking and behavior is marked by a strong positivity bias, where people make benign assumptions about the world and pursue benevolent actions. For instance, individuals trust and help others more than they distrust, expect mistreatment, and harm others. Second, we highlight studies showing that the absence versus presence of positive experiences is often more predictive of cognition, affect, and behavior than equivalent negative experiences. For instance, positive feelings often predict social behavior better than negative feelings. When it comes to proactive behavior, good is stronger than bad.
From Glue to Gasoline: How the Same Processes That Normally Bind People Together, Tear Them Apart During Competition
Adam Galinsky, Alice Lee, Roderick Swaab, Gavin Kilduff
Columbia University; INSEAD; New York University
This talk presents an emergent theory which proposes that the same forces that normally produce cooperative responses get perverted in competitive contexts and generate vitriol instead. Perspective-taking, similarity, flattery, face-to-face contact, and intergroup integration are often the glue that binds people together. We propose that competitive contexts transform these processes into gasoline: they inflame rather than retard already aroused competitive impulses. We will present evidence for this glue-to-gasoline process across five different research streams. Perspective-taking in competitive contexts leads people to engage in unethical behavior to prevent being exploited. Similarity and contact frequency lead to feelings of rivalry that increase unethical behavior in competitive contexts. Friendly gestures by competitors lead to superstitious reasoning. Bringing negotiators face-to-face when they have strong competitive feelings decreases high-quality negotiation outcomes. Intergroup integration leads to greater hostility when there is competition over scarce resources. Overall, competitive contexts turns glue into gasoline that inflames negative feelings.
The Psychophysiology of High Social Standing: (Dys)functional Responses to Power and Status
Friday, February 27, 2015, 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM, Room 103A
Annika Scholl, KMRC Tuebingen
Daan Scheepers, Leiden University
Power and status often buffer stress responses, but this can also has its downsides for the powerless. We combine different psychophysiological approaches to better understand how hierarchies shape stress responses, when this may impact interpersonal reactions, and under which conditions power can have good vs. bad consequences for the self and others.
It’s Good to be the King: Neurobiological Benefits of Higher Social Standing
Modupe Akinola, Wendy B. Mendes
Columbia University; University of California at San Francisco
Epidemiological studies often find that higher social standing is associated with better physical and mental health outcomes, but these studies are typically correlational and lack mediational explanations. In two studies, we examine neurobiological reactivity to test the hypothesis that higher social status leads to salutary short-term psychological, physiological, and behavioral responses. In Study 1 (N=81), police officers rated their subjective social status then engaged in a social evaluation task during which we measured cardiovascular and neuroendocrine reactivity. In Study 2 (N=84), we manipulated social status and examined stress reactivity and performance outcomes to explore the possible links among status, performance, and physiological reactivity. Results indicated that higher social status was associated with approach-oriented physiology (studies 1 and 2) and better performance (study 2) relative to lower status. These findings point to acute reactivity as one possible causal mechanism to better physical health among those higher in social status.
Hierarchical Stability Moderates the Effects of Status on Endocrine and Behavioral Responses to Stress
Pranjal H. Mehta, Erik L. Knight
University of Oregon
Higher status is generally associated with lower stress and improved health. We propose that the stress-buffering effects of status could reverse in unstable hierarchies, when one’s higher status position is in jeopardy. After random assignment to high or low status in a stable or unstable hierarchy, participants (N=118) were asked to perform a stressful public speech. High status in a stable hierarchy reduced the cortisol stress response compared to low status. Instability reversed the pattern and also influenced testosterone concentrations: High status individuals in an unstable hierarchy demonstrated stronger cortisol and testosterone stress responses compared to low status. Stability additionally influenced behavior, producing distinct differences between high and low status individuals on behavioral ratings of dominance, warmth, intelligence, and overall performance in stable but not unstable hierarchies. The findings suggest that high status buffers stress and improves performance in stable hierarchies. In unstable hierarchies, higher status actually increases stress.
Does Power Corrupt? Or Does Power Buffer Stress -- For Better and For Worse?
Dana R. Carney, Brian Lucas, James McGee, Pranjal H. Mehta, Nikolay Nichiporuk, Tanya Vacharkulksemsuk, Greg Willard, Caroline Wilmuth, Andy J. Yap
University of California, Berkeley"; Kellog School of Management; Columbia University; University of Oregon; Harvard University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Does power corrupt? Or does power buffer stress? Across human and nonhuman animals, power is associated with wonderful outcomes: action orientation, risk-tolerance, and an endocrine profile associated with disease resistance. However, power is linked to corrupt acts: objectification, stealing, lying, and infidelity. Drawing from research in primatology, neuroscience, physiology, and neuroendocrinology, a picture emerges which may be able to reconcile how power simultaneously leads to both good and bad: power enhances the same emotional, cognitive, and physiological systems which acts of corruption deplete. Six experiments demonstrate that power buffers the stress of: (1) observing an emergency (N=50), (2) high-stakes lying (N=50), (3) public speaking (N=55), (4) social exclusion (N=41), and (5) physical pain (N=70). Taken together, these findings provide empirical support for the hypothesis that one mechanism through which power may corrupt is by buffering us from the stress of otherwise aversive acts.
The Downside of Power for the Self: How Power as Responsibility Affects Cardiovascular Stress Responses
Annika Scholl, Frank de Wit, Daan Scheepers, Naomi Ellemers, Kai Sassenberg
KMRC Tuebingen; Melbourne Business School; Leiden University
Social power provides opportunities to pursue one’s goals and has many positive consequences for those who yield it (e.g., reduced stress). At times, however, especially power-holders may feel strained by all the decisions to make and subordinates to care for – in other words, when they become aware of their responsibility. Power as responsibility (vs. opportunity) poses additional demands on the power-holder (e.g., the need to take care of others). We thus assumed that power holders construing their position as responsibility would experience higher stress. Indeed, two experiments with different power primings demonstrated that power-holders construing power as responsibility (vs. opportunity vs. control) showed stronger cardiovascular stress responses (Study 1, N=63). Surprisingly, their stress pattern was similar to that of the powerless (Study 2, N=89). The findings highlight that power as responsibility has upsides for the powerless (e.g., more fair treatement by the powerful), but also its downsides for the powerful.
Hot Topics in Ovulatory Cycle Research: Empirical Syntheses, P-curves, and New Theoretical Directions
Friday, February 27, 2015, 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM, Promenade Ballroom 104A
Kelly Gildersleeve, UCLA
Martie Haselton, UCLA
This symposium presents meta-analytic evidence for robust cycle shifts in women’s attractiveness, flirtatiousness, and mate preferences; p-curves and simulations contradicting claims that such cycle shifts are false positives; and theoretical and empirical investigations of how cycle shifts have been modified in uniquely human social contexts, such as long-term pair bonds.
Shifts in Mating Behavior Across the Ovulatory Cycle: Two Meta-Analytic Reviews
Kelly A. Gildersleeve, Martie G. Haselton, Melissa R. Fales
A common feature of diverse mammalian social systems is that mating behavior is tied to the female ovulatory cycle. Biologically, the fleeting high-fertility period approaching ovulation is the only time when sex can result in conception. Socially, high fertility is marked by an increase in female attractiveness and changes in mating preferences and behavior. For several decades, the question of whether the cycle plays a similar role in human mating has been heavily debated. We conducted two meta-analyses totaling over 100 published and unpublished studies of such effects (Gildersleeve et al., in press at Psychological Bulletin; Gildersleeve & Haselton, in progress). Analyses revealed robust increases from low to high fertility in women’s attractiveness, attractiveness-enhancement (e.g., wearing cosmetics), and flirtatiousness; men’s testosterone and behavioral responses to women; and women’s sexual attraction to certain male characteristics. These findings have important implications for understanding human sexuality and relationships.
Are Cycle Shifts Robust?: Evidence from P-curves
Martie G. Haselton, Kelly A. Gildersleeve, Melissa R. Fales
Because sex can only lead to conception on the few fertile days leading up to and including ovulation, important mating adaptations are likely sensitive to women’s current fertility within the ovulatory cycle. A veritable explosion of recent work has tested this general notion, documenting many purported “cycle shifts” in women’s behavior and men’s responses to women. However, these findings remain controversial, with recent critics claiming that positive findings in this literature are merely false positives due to publication bias or “p-hacking”—researchers capitalizing on chance to generate positive findings. We present p-curves that are inconsistent with these claims. These p-curves are significantly right skewed, with more p-values close to 0 than just under .05. We also present simulations showing that even extreme p-hacking is unlikely to generate the pattern we observed in the absence of true effects, thereby reinforcing the evidential value of findings in the cycle shifts literature.
When Evolutionary Timing Matters: Adaptive Workarounds and Ovulatory Shift Effects
Natasha D. Tidwell, Paul W. Eastwick
Fort Lewis College; University of Texas at Austin
The order in which psychological features evolved in ancestral humans may aid scholars in identifying key moderators of ovulatory shifts. Recently evolved adaptations may refocus the function of older adaptations, a concept called the adaptive workaround. Thus, in modern humans, some older features (e.g., ovulatory shifts) may not exhibit their typical adaptive functions when newer features (e.g., romantic attachment bonds, perceptions of outgroup status) are activated. This perspective has informed two linked lines of research. First, three studies examined attachment bond strength as an adaptive workaround: Fertility predicted decreased desire for emotional intimacy with/attention to a current partner for women with weak (but not strong) attachment bonds to their partner. Second, three studies examined symbolic group status as an adaptive workaround: Men’s attraction to fertile women’s voices was evident only for ingroup, not outgroup, members. Together, these studies suggest that the adaptive workaround underlies multiple distinct moderators of ovulatory shifts.
Women’s Extended Sexuality: Non-conceptive Sex in an Evolutionary Framework
Nicholas M. Grebe, Steven W. Gangestad
University of New Mexico
A large body of research has shown that female sexuality in various species varies across the menstrual cycle. Most research under the ‘ovulatory shift hypothesis’ has focused on unique aspects of female fertile phase sexuality, with the overall goal of developing an evolutionary framework for women’s sexuality. Often overlooked is extended sexuality—sexual proceptivity and receptivity outside of fertile phases. Women demonstrate extended sexuality to an extreme degree, making it an important part of any framework. This talk explores the evolution of extended sexuality, possible functions, and hormonal correlates. A comparative investigation of extended sexuality yields a possible function: the elicitation of male-delivered benefits. In humans, multiple pieces of evidence support this hypothesis within romantic couples. Findings with oxytocin, progesterone, and estrogen also speak to the target- and motive-specific nature of extended sexuality. We conclude with a discussion of the role pair-bonding might have in moderating women’s sexuality in general.
Connecting and Cutting Social Ties: The Forces That Bind People Together and Tear Them Apart
Friday, February 27, 2015, 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM, Promenade Ballroom 104C
Juliana Schroeder, University of Chicago
Kurt Gray, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Across situations, people dynamically connect with, and distance themselves from, others around them. We examine novel mechanisms that elicit antisocial and prosocial behaviors and attitudes. In particular, we explore the consequences of imposed intimacy in interpersonal interactions, moral self-referencing, economic inequality, and sharing pain with one’s group.
Barricading Against Intimacy: Imposed Psychological and Physical Intimacy Predicts Barrier-Building Behaviors
Juliana Schroeder, Ayelet Fishbach, Chelsea Schein, Kurt Gray
University of Chicago; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
In order to achieve goals, people must often engage in social interactions that involve imposed intimacy (e.g., undergoing a medical examination). We show that, in reaction to imposed intimacy, people systematically build psychological and physical barriers. Patients had greater preference for physicians to wear gloves and avoid eye contact when they expected a more intimate medical procedure (Study 1). Participants wanted more barriers when randomly assigned to imagine intimate interactions with physicians, security agents, or maids (Studies 2A-C, respectively) or when actually experiencing an intimate interaction (Study 3). In an emotionally intimate situation (i.e., holding hands with a stranger), participants oriented their bodies away and looked away more than in a non-intimate situation (i.e., shaking hands; Study 4). People seem to build barriers primarily to improve their own experiences, not those of their interaction partners (Studies 5 and 6). Imposed intimacy incites barrier-building; we consider consequences of these antisocial behaviors.
Reduced Self-Referential Neural Response During Intergroup Competition Predicts Competitor Harm
Mina Cikara, Adrianna C. Jenkins, Nicholas Dufour, Rebecca Saxe
Harvard University; University of California Berkeley; Stanford University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Why do interactions become more hostile when social relations shift from “me versus you” to “us versus them”? One possibility is that acting with a group can reduce spontaneous self-referential processing in the moral domain and, in turn, facilitate competitor harm. We tested this hypothesis in an fMRI experiment in which (i) participants performed a competitive task once alone and once with a group; (ii) spontaneous self-referential processing during competition was indexed unobtrusively by activation in an independently localized region of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) associated with self-reference; and (iii) we assessed participants' willingness to harm competitors. As predicted, participants who showed reduced mPFC activation in response to descriptions of their own moral behaviors while competing in a group were more willing to harm competitors. This suggests that intergroup competition (above and beyond inter-personal competition) can reduce self-referential processing of moral information, enabling harmful behaviors towards competitors.
Economic Inequality Breeds Political Division
B. Keith Payne, Jazmin L. Brown-Iannuzzi, Kristjen B. Lundberg, Aaron C. Kay
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Duke University
The last few decades in America have witnessed increasing economic inequality and increasing political polarization and conflict. Are these trends related? I will present evidence that, comparing across the fifty states, the more unequal states have greater political polarization. Comparing across countries in the World Values Survey, nations with greater inequality again have greater political polarization. Finally, I will describe laboratory experiments demonstrating that when people are led to feel worse off than others in an economic game, they endorse more liberal views, advocating for increased redistribution of wealth and seeing unequal economic systems as unjust. In contrast, when people are made to feel richer than others, they become more conservative by opposing redistribution and seeing unequal economic systems as more just. Subjects who felt rich dismissed the views of those who disagreed with them as biased. These studies suggest that inequality can contribute to political polarization and conflict.
Pain as Social Glue: Shared Pain Increases Cooperation
Brock Bastian, Jolanda Jetten, Laura J. Ferris
University of New South Wales; University of Queensland
Even though painful experiences are employed within social rituals across the world, little is known about the social effects of pain. We examined the possibility that painful experiences can promote cooperation within social groups. We induced pain by asking participants to insert their hand in ice-water and perform leg squats (Experiments 1 and 2) or eat hot chili (Experiment 3) in groups. We found evidence for a causal link: sharing painful experiences with others promoted trusting interpersonal relationships by increasing perceived bonding among strangers (Experiment 1) and increased cooperation in an economic game (Experiments 2 and 3), compared to a no-pain control treatment. Our findings shed light on the social effects of pain, demonstrating that shared pain may be an important trigger for group formation.
Examining the Role of Individual Differences in Physical and Mental Health
Friday, February 27, 2015, 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM, Room 201A
Jennifer Howell, University of Florida
Lindsay Graham, University of Texas
We highlight emerging findings from the intersection of social/personality and health psychology. Specifically, we discuss how individual differences in personality, cognitions, decisions, and behaviors impact physical and mental health risks and outcomes.
Does Negative Information Seeking Experience Explain Education Differences in Cancer Fatalism Beliefs?
Amber Emanuel, Cristina Godinho, Christopher Steinman, John Updegraff
Center For Research to Reduce Disparities in Oral Health; Instituto Universitßrio de Lisboa; Kent State University
Cancer fatalism, the belief that cancer is uncontrollable and lethal, is associated with avoidance of cancer-related information and decreased adherence to cancer-preventative behaviors. Previous research suggests that lower educated individuals are more likely to hold fatalistic beliefs about cancer. The mechanism accounting for the relationship between education and cancer fatalism is not well understood. To address this issue, we analyzed Cycle 1 data from the 2012 Health Information National Trends Survey and Cycle 2 data from the 2013 Health Information National Trends Survey to test whether individual differences in education are associated with different health-information seeking experiences, which, in turn, explain why individuals with lower education have more fatalistic beliefs about cancer. A significant portion of the relationship between lower education and greater cancer fatalism was attributable to difficulties with health information seeking experiences. These findings have important implications for future health communication interventions.
"Thanks!": Individual Differences in the Daily Expression of Gratitude Predict Adjustment Among Couples Coping with Breast Cancer
Megan Robbins, Kristin Layous
University of California, Riverside"; Stanford University
Gratitude is related to greater personal happiness and relationship quality among couples (Algoe et al., 2010). We hypothesized that individual differences in gratitude would play a central role in support processes and adjustment among couples coping with cancer. Fifty-two women with breast cancer and their partners wore the EAR (Mehl et al., 2001), a naturalistic observation method that records snippets of ambient sounds (50 sec/9 min), to observe couples’ conversations over one weekend. Expressions of gratitude and social support (both cancer-related and non-cancer related) were coded from the recordings. Both partners also self-reported relationship maintenance behaviors (e.g., acting politely and positively toward one’s partner), relationship satisfaction, and avoidance and intrusive thoughts of cancer. Actor-Partner Interdependence Models revealed that gratitude toward one’s partner while coping with cancer is related to social support, positive relationship maintenance, and relationship satisfaction for both patients and spouses, but greater psychological adjustment only for patients.
The Personality Profile and Personal Network Structure of Health Information Avoiders
Jennifer Howell, James Shepperd, James Shepperd
University of Florida
We investigated the hypothesis that stable differences in personality and social network structure can influence people’s tendency to avoid health information, including risk feedback. In Study 1 (N = 316) we investigated the correlation between a variety of theoretically relevant personality traits (e.g., Big-5, Optimism, Uncertainty Intolerance, Need for Closure) and health information avoidance. The results provide a rich personality profile of people who are likely to avoid learning information about their health (e.g., high in neuroticism, low in openness, low in uncertainty intolerance). In study 2 (N = 137), using social network analysis, we investigated whether individual differences in personal network structure were associated with the decision to avoid receiving feedback from a risk calculator. Participants with poorly connected social networks more often chose to avoid personal risk feedback, suggesting that individual differences in the construction of one’s social world may have downstream health consequences.
Exploring the Great Indoors: The Relationship Between Personality, Indoor Behaviors, and Resulting Health Risks
Lindsay T. Graham, Samuel D. Gosling, Richard L. Corsi
University of Texas at Austin
Americans spend approximately 90% of their day indoors (Klepeis, 2001). Interestingly, the products people introduce into and the behaviors they engage in within their indoor spaces inadvertently pose significant health risks (e.g., allergies, asthma, cancer) in the form of indoor air pollutants. The present work examines how personality is associated with the behaviors and choices people make in their indoor spaces. A sample of 2,459 participants self-reported personality and household product use (e.g., green cleaners) and daily behaviors (e.g., vacuuming) associated with indoor air pollutants. Results illustrate that certain personality profiles are associated with product use and behaviors that negatively impact a space’s air quality, thus putting some individuals at higher health risk than others. For example, individuals who use healthier (i.e., "green") household cleaners tend to be high in Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness whereas individuals who use bleach and harsh chemicals tend to be highly conscientious.
Terra Forma: Novel Insights into How Ecology Shapes Cognition and Behavior
Friday, February 27, 2015, 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM, Room 201B
Steven Neuberg, Arizona State University
This symposium widens the typical psychological scope to examine the power of the broader situation: ecology. Speakers present research demonstrating the impact of ecological factors (environmental harshness, population density, disease prevalence) on a range of conceptually-linked psychological and behavioral outcomes, including adolescent delinquency, parental investment, mate preferences, and race stereotypes.
Adapting to Ecological and Social Context: The Critical Role of Life History Theory
Bruce J. Ellis
University of Arizona
The environments people grow up in shape their social and cognitive functioning. Research on the effects of those adversities faced by children developing in harsh, unpredictable environments typically focuses on impairments to their growth, learning, and behavior. Here, rather than emphasizing what’s “wrong” with these youth, I take a strength-based approach and ask: “What’s right with these youth?” This work is guided by life history theory—a biological framework that addresses how organisms adapt their physiology and behavior to different ecological conditions. Based on a series of 3 studies with an overall sample of 376 participants, I present findings highlighting how youth who develop in harsh, unpredictable environments specialize their stress physiology, social and reproductive development, and cognitive abilities to match these high-adversity contexts. Different ecologies regulate development toward different physiological, cognitive, affective, and behavioral strategies.
The Crowded Life is a Slow Life: Evidence across Nations, States, and Individuals
Oliver Sng, Michael E. W. Varnum, Douglas T. Kenrick
Arizona State University
Early studies of humans and nonhuman animals focused on negative effects of crowdedness on behavior. Taking a fresh perspective to this topic, we draw upon life history theory to examine how population density affects a host of traits, at three levels of analysis. Across nations (N = 223) and across the United States (N = 50), dense populations tend to exhibit ‘slow’ behavioral strategies such as greater investment in education, later ages of marriage, and greater parental investment. In a third study (N = 254), in which growing population densities were experimentally made salient, individuals exhibited greater delay of gratification in a financial decision, suggesting a future-focused orientation. Integrating the current work with the earlier animal research, we address the conditions under which enhanced density can lead to different behavioral strategies, and discuss the implications of population density for understanding cultural and geographical variation in social behavior.
Is Variety the Best Medicine? The Impact of Disease Threat on Women’s Preference for Novel Partners
Sarah E. Hill, Marjorie L. Prokosch, Danielle J. DelPriore
Texas Christian University; University of Arizona
In the current research, we examine the relationship between the perceived disease prevalence in an environment and women’s preference for novel dating partners. Across four experiments (N = 363), we exposed participants to cues indicating a growing disease threat in their environment and measured their preference for novel dates and mates. As predicted, women with a history of vulnerability to illness responded to disease threat cues with an increased preference for partner variety. This shift towards variety-seeking was specific to women and to the domain of romantic relationships; it was not exhibited by men, and did not occur in non-relationship domains. These findings demonstrate a novel conceptual link between the threat of disease and female mating strategies, and highlight the power of broad, ecological pressures to shape proximate psychological processes.
Rethinking Stereotype Content: Are Race Stereotypes Actually Ecology Stereotypes?
Keelah Elizabeth Grace Williams, Steven L. Neuberg
Arizona State University
Ecologies that are harsh and unpredictable pull for ‘fast’ behaviors such as impulsivity, whereas ecologies that are resource-rich and predictable pull for ‘slow’ behaviors such as future-focus. We propose that individuals possess a lay understanding of ecology’s influence on behavior, resulting in ecology-based stereotypes. Moreover, we suggest that because race is confounded with ecology in the U.S., Americans’ stereotypes about racial groups actually reflect their stereotypes about these groups’ presumed home ecologies. In a series of four studies (N = 925) we demonstrate that (1) individuals possess ecology-based stereotypes, (2) these stereotypes exist independent of race stereotypes, and (3) the application of race stereotypes to targets is reversed when targets present “race-inconsistent” ecology information. These findings have important implications for our conceptualization of race stereotypes, as well as for reducing the application of pernicious stereotypes to individuals.
Flexible Automaticity: New Approaches to Understanding Social and Contextual Influences on Implicit Evaluation
Friday, February 27, 2015, 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM, Room 202ABC
Y.Jenny Xiao, New York University
Jay Van Bavel, New York University
Although implicit evaluations are often considered stable and difficult to change, this symposium presents novel theoretical frameworks about the flexibility of implicit evaluations. Four speakers will discuss how social group and ethnic identification, intergroup dynamics, and contextual information can shape the formation and change of implicit attitude and evaluation.
To be or Not to be (Ethnic): Expressions of Ethnic Identification Differentially Impact Implicit National Inclusion of Non-White vs. White Ethnic Groups
Nilanjana Dasgupta, Kumar Yogeeswaran
University of Massachusetts Amherst; University of Canterbury at New Zealand
Americans embrace principles of ethnic diversity yet dislike minorities with strong ethnic identities. Two experiments examined this contradiction by differentiating between ethnic identity expressed in private vs. public by non-Whites and Whites. We tested whether targets’ identity expressions differentially affected perceivers’ group attitudes and beliefs about the entire ethnic group as legitimately American. At an explicit level, White and non-White groups were held to the same standard: they were both liked less and construed as less American when members expressed ethnic identity in public vs. private. However, at an implicit level, a double standard emerged: non-White groups were implicitly liked less and rejected as American if their members expressed ethnic identity publicly vs. privately, while implicit attitudes and beliefs about White ethnics were unaffected. Perceivers’ national identity moderated this effect: White perceivers who were strongly identified as American showed more of this double standard than others who were weakly identified.
Whom Can I Trust?: Rapid Evaluative Tuning and Changes in Intergroup Trust in Response to Variable Cooperative Opportunities
Dominic J Packer, Shiang-Yi Lin
Life in human societies hinges on cooperation, but decisions to cooperate with others are often risky. Shared group identities serve as one mechanism for facilitating cooperation, which may provide decision-makers with instrumental incentives to preferentially coordinate with ingroup members. Importantly, however, other (non-group) cooperation-facilitating mechanisms can alter this incentive structure and attenuate intergroup biases. In a series of datasets (total n > 15,000), we find that that biased decisions about who to affiliate with are reduced when effective cooperation-facilitating institutions (e.g., rule of law) help establish trust across group boundaries. Importantly, additional studies find that intergroup bias is reduced on rapid evaluative measures (total n = 234), such that implicit racial preferences are attenuated by cooperation-facilitating institutions. These findings demonstrate rapid tuning of the evaluative system in response to variable cooperative contingencies, which can function to orient individuals toward affiliating with people who are expected to cooperate in specific contexts.
Who do I Like Now?: Social Group Identification Shapes the Formation and Change of Implicit Evaluation
Y.Jenny Xiao, Jay J. Van Bavel
New York University
According to traditional dual attitude perspectives, implicit and explicit attitude change occurs through different processes. Specifically, implicit attitude change is believed to be difficult and unaffected by explicit processing goals. Here we present evidence that implicit evaluations can be quick to form and change through the influence of social group identification. In three experiments, we first demonstrate that people quickly develop implicit preferences towards their own minimal group compared to the out-group. Importantly, this pattern of implicit bias is flexibly moderated by the intergroup context. When we present two groups as cooperative (vs. competitive), the relative positivity towards the in-group is eliminated. Finally, being switched from one minimal group to the other reversed the pattern of implicit in-group preference. Individuals’ ease of switching implicit preference is correlated with their nee