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Graduate Student Committee Symposium
Graduate Student Committee Symposium - "...but I need more publications!": Balancing work/life, ethics, and productivity pressures as a grad student.
Friday, February 14, 2014, 8:15 AM - 9:30 AM, Ballroom B/C
Angela Legg, University of California, Riverside
Anna Balatel, University Ca' Foscari of Venice, Italy
Junior scientists face many balancing acts during their training. How to optimize research quality and avoid unethical practices? How to enjoy a successful career without sacrificing our social lives or well-being? Donââ‚¬â„¢t miss out on this opportunity to hear leading scholars discuss balance in academia.
How to be productive without the p-hacking
University of California, Berkeley
Grad students, in their role as "psychological scientists," seek to discover truths about human behavior. In their role as "unemployed in a devastating job market," they need to publish papers. I will talk about how one can embrace the former while pursuing the latter. The discussion will focus on sample size (increase it) and exploratory research (do it). Finally, I will try to highlight the importance of thinking in quality rather than quantity: If universities want to hire someone who is systematic and insightful (and I think that is what universities want), then length of CV is barely relevant. You will be judged by your best publications, so make those as good as possible (even if that means publishing fewer papers).
A How-To Guide: Being Successful Beyond Academics
University of Southern California
Most of us want work-life balance; we want to lean in and have it all. But men and women are both working more in paid employment than in the past, establishing higher bars for getting and advancing careers. How to be happy in this climate? As Hillary Clinton warned, "don't confuse having a career with having a life." Social psychology provides useful insights on enjoying the rest of your life along with your job. First, you need to know what to expect. Women and men have somewhat different experiences, on average, in the workforce, family, and leisure time. Life happiness is more closely linked to some of these life domains than others. Second, you need to be prepared. With effective self-regulation strategies, it is possible to pursue goals that are important to you in each life domain. Finally, knowledge and strategic planning can help you relax about the future.
An Interactionist Theory of Good and Bad Scientific Behavior
University of Oregon
Why do scientists sometimes do the right thing and sometimes not? Classic situationism emphasizes the importance of the external environment. Situationism is often contrasted with ââ‚¬Å“dispositionism,ââ‚¬Â which explains behavior as the context-invariant expression of stable traits. But neither situationism nor dispositionism is sufficient to understand complex social behaviors. In this talk I consider what we can learn from an interactionist approach to good and bad scientific behavior. Scientists have complex personalities with multiple, sometimes conflicting motivations; and the social environment of our profession presents numerous constraints, affordances, and incentives. Senior scientists with jobs and power are in a special position to shape our professional environment and the people in it. But junior researchers can actively participate in their own development too. They can select, modify, and respond to their environments. And burdened by fewer habits and forgotten assumptions, they are uniquely positioned to advocate for better ways of doing science.
Sharing Our Science with the Rest of the World
Amy J. C. Cuddy
Sparked in the last decade by a series of best-selling books, broad online dissemination through TED Talks and other lecture series, and frequent high-profile media coverage, social psychological research has captured the general publicââ‚¬â„¢s attention ââ‚¬â€œ a blessing and a curse. Social psychologists today are frequently asked to communicate their and other scholarsââ‚¬â„¢ findings to non-academic audiences. I will discuss why it is critical for us to share our science with people outside of academia, how to remain responsibly involved in public discussions of our research, and how to balance the benefits and costs of speaking to broad audiences. Finally, I will present some best practice guidelines that should help to clarify how to most effectively and efficiently communicate our science to the public.
Symposium Session A
Let's Get Connected: New and Untapped Routes to Social Connection
Friday, February 14, 2014, 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM, Ballroom D
Amit Kumar, Cornell University
Thomas Gilovich, Cornell University
This session investigates promising insights into how humans can connect with others. We provide empirical evidence for how experiential consumption and behavioral mimicry act as potential paths to social connectedness, discuss how people may mistakenly seek solitude instead of connection, and explore how connecting others with each other promotes well-being.
QUESTIONING THE â€œIâ€ IN EXPERIENCE: EXPERIENTIAL PURCHASES FOSTER SOCIAL CONNECTION
Amit Kumar, Thomas C. Mann, Thomas D. Gilovich
Research on experiential and material purchases (money spent on doing versus having) has focused on the benefits of experiential consumption in terms of consumer satisfaction and the underlying mechanisms that produce this difference. Here, we present another downstream consequence of spending money on experiences: fostering social connection. In Studies 1 and 2 we show that people feel more kinship with someone who has made the same (or a similar, but â€œupgradedâ€) experiential purchase as them than someone who made the same (or a similar, but â€œupgradedâ€) material purchase. In Study 3, we find that people feel more connected to others in general when they are asked to reflect on their experiential purchases. This connection is expressed in a greater desire to engage in social activities (Study 4) and participants behaviorally demonstrate social connectedness by acting more prosocially after thinking about their experiences than after thinking about their possessions (Study 5).
THE EXTROVERT ADVANTAGE: PROMOTING SOCIAL CONNECTEDNESS THROUGH BEHAVIORAL MIMICRY
Tanya L. Chartrand, Korrina Duffy
Intuitively, many people accept that introverts and extroverts navigate their social environments differently, but little empirical evidence has explored the automatic processes underlying this difference and the implications this could have for social connectedness. In general, the differences between introverts and extroverts have been conceptualized in terms of how depleting or energizing they find social interactions and furthermore how successfully they engage socially. We used nonconscious behavioral mimicry as a tool to measure how flexibly and skillfully introverts and extroverts navigate their social environment since behavioral mimicry has been shown to enhance feelings of social connection. We provide empirical evidence that extroverts automatically activate nonconscious processes that allow them to more successfully engage in social settings. This evidence highlights how automatic processes might underlie fundamental differences between introverts and extroverts and suggests that this may have important implications for feelings of social connectedness.
MISTAKENLY SEEKING SOLITUDE
Nicholas Epley, Juliana Schroeder
University of Chicago
Connecting with close others increases happiness but strangers in close proximity routinely ignore each other, suggesting either that solitude is more pleasant than interacting with distant others or that people misunderstand the consequences of social interaction. A series of experiments examined the actual experience of connecting to strangers on commuter trains, busses, and cabs. In each context, participants were instructed to connect with a stranger near them, to remain disconnected, or do whatever they normally do. In all contexts, participants reported a more positive (and no less productive) experience when they connected than when in solitude. Separate groups of participants in each context, however, expected precisely the opposite outcome, predicting a more positive experience in solitude. This mistaken expectation stems partly from underestimating othersâ€™ interest in connecting, creating a barrier to social engagement. Humans are social animals. In at least some contexts, perhaps not social enough for their own wellbeing.
MATCHMAKING PROMOTES HAPPINESS
Lalin Anik, Michael I. Norton
Duke University; Harvard Business School
Five experiments explore the psychology underlying peopleâ€™s proclivity to connect people to each other: to play â€œmatchmaker.â€ Experiment 1 shows that matching others on the basis of how well they will get along is more intrinsically rewarding than other tasks. Experiments 2 and 3 document two moderators of the rewarding nature of matchmaking. We first show that people high in â€œneed for network closureâ€ are most likely to find matchmaking rewarding and then document that the more unlikely the match, the more rewarding the matchmaking. Finally, Experiment 4 provides correlational evidence from a national sample of Americans that chronic matchmaking is associated with higher well-being; in Experiment 5, participants who played matchmaker in the laboratory reported boost in happiness. We discuss how connecting others creates capital at the level of the individual (increased happiness) while simultaneously creating social capital at the level of the group (more densely connected social networks).
Power and Close Relationships: The (In)Significance and Asymmetric Influence of Others in Goal Pursuit and Emotion
Friday, February 14, 2014, 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM, Ballroom A
Joe Magee, New York University
Kristin Laurin, Stanford University
New theoretical insights and empirical evidence answer questions about how social power operates in close relationships. These new developments cover topics including how social power influences self-regulation and goal pursuit in the context of close relationships, reactions to conflict situations, and social comparison and emotions in relationships.
Fighting for independence: Significant others' goals for oneself incite reactance among the powerful
Ena Inesi, Kimberly Rios
London Business School; Ohio University
We tested the prediction that power increases people's tendencies to act against the goals their close significant others have for them. Participants in Study 1 all reported in a pre-test that their mother wanted them to achieve, but that they themselves were relatively less interested in achieving. A week later, high-power (but not neutral-power) participants who were reminded of their mother were subsequently less likely to pursue an achievement goal. Study 2 replicated this pattern of results with romantic partners and showed that the effects were strongest when individuals were personally less interested in pursuing a goal they believed their significant other held for them. In Study 3, we looked at mothers and healthy eating goals, and found that the predicted pattern only emerged for close significant others. Further, feelings of reactance mediated high-power participants' tendencies to act against significant-other goals that they themselves held less strongly.
Power and goal pursuit in close relationships
Kristin Laurin, Grainne M. Fitzsimons, Eli J. Finkel
Stanford University; Duke University; Northwestern University
We examine how partners influence each other's goal pursuit as a function of each partner's power. In an initial lab study, low, but not high, power participants gravitated towards their interdependent partner's goals, cognitively activating that partner's high-priority goals, and inhibiting that partner's low-priority goals. Two field studies examine how low power individuals pursue their own goals in existing romantic relationships. In these studies, low power predicted a willingness to sacrifice one's own goals for the partner, and the pursuit of the partner's interests at the expense of one's own. In a final study, participants led to feel low power worked more to earn money for their romantic partner's goal than for their own. These results suggest that low power individuals in particular adopt their relationship partners' goals, and in the process abandon their own.
Power moderates the link between anger proneness and hostility during conflict interactions with romantic partners: Evidence using the principle of least interest
Angela M. Neal, Edward P. Lemay, Jr.
University of New Hampshire
According to the principle of least interest, the relatively more committed member of a romantic relationship has less social power relative to the less committed member. Using this as a framework, the current research examined whether social power would moderate effects of anger proneness on hostile behavior during conflict interactions within romantic relationships. High relationship commitment and low perceptions of the partner's commitment eliminated the effect of anger proneness on hostile behavior. Consistent with the principle of least interest, these findings suggest that lack of social power brought about by asymmetric involvement acts as an inhibitory factor, weakening tendencies to act on dispositional anger.
The social distance theory of power: Implications for close relationships
Joe Magee, Pamela K. Smith
New York University; University of California-San Diego
We present the portion of the social distance theory of power (Magee & Smith, 2013) grounded in research on close relationships. First, we propose that asymmetric dependence between individuals (i.e., power) produces asymmetric social distance, with high-power individuals feeling more distant than low-power individuals. We contend that asymmetric distance is created because high- and low-power individuals have different levels of motivation to affiliate with each other and also divergent expectations of each other's interest. Second, we argue that once asymmetric social distance is established, a number of factors serve to maintain it, including high-power individuals' cynical attributions about low-power individuals' friendly advances and interpersonal distancing signals given off by high-power individuals. Third, we articulate predictions about how power affects (a) social comparison, (b) susceptibility to influence, (c) mental state inference and responsiveness, and (d) emotions. Fourth, we review some key studies with evidence supporting these propositions and predictions.
With What Effects?: How Pro-Diversity Messages are Perceived by High and Low Status Groups
Friday, February 14, 2014, 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM, Ballroom G
Brenda Major, University of California, Santa Barbara
Despite the many approaches organizations employ to increase diversity, we know little about how diversity approaches affect high and low status groups. These talks examine how high and low status groups respond to diversity, in domains including justice perceptions, intergroup processes, threat, and performance. Implications for managing diversity are discussed.
Blind to injustice: Pro-diversity environments create illusions of fairness among high and low status groups
Cheryl R. Kaiser, Laura M. Brady, Teri A. Kirby, Brenda Major
University of Washington; University of California, Santa Barbara
Although pro-diversity messages aim to create welcoming environments for low status groups, these messages may also have ironic negative consequences for the very groups they intend to help. Three experiments drew upon theories of legitimacy to test whether the mere presence (vs. absence) of pro-diversity messages causes high status (men) and low status (women) groups to perceive organizations with pro-diversity environments as procedurally fair and non-discriminatory for low status groups. Results revealed that the presence (vs absence) of pro-diversity messages (i.e., offering diversity training, receiving diversity awards) caused men and women to perceive unfair personnel policies as fairer to women, and to become less sensitive to sexism and less supportive of women who claimed discrimination. This occurred even when women were clearly distributively disadvantaged relative to men. We discuss how pro-diversity environments can paradoxically make it more difficult for both high and low status groups to detect and remedy discrimination.
Pro-Diversity Messages in Organizations Create Identity Threat Among Whites
Brenda Major, Tessa L. Dover, Cheryl R. Kaiser
University of California, Santa Barbara; University of Washington
Although pro-diversity messages are proliferating in workplaces, little research has investigated how such messages are perceived and experienced by high and low status groups. We investigated how White Americans respond to company profiles that emphasize diversity as a corporate goal or do not mention diversity. Study 1 (N = 354) found that pro-diversity (vs. neutral) messages led Whites to report identity threat and perceive that Whites were more likely than minorities to experience discrimination at the company. Study 2 (N = 56) replicated these findings in an imagined hiring context. Study 3 (N = 74) found that White men exhibited cardiovascular responses characteristic of threat when interviewing at a pro-diversity company compared to a company that did not mention diversity, and led them to perceive that Whites would be more likely than minorities to experience discrimination at the former. Implications for enhancing organizational diversity and inclusive workplaces are discussed.
INSTITUTIONAL DIVERSITY CUES AND THREAT PERCEPTIONS AMONG ETHNIC GROUPS
Michelle L. Rheinschmidt, Victoria C. Plaut, Kimberly Rios
University of California, Berkeley; Ohio University
Diversity may lead to perceived competition between ethnic groups for limited resources (e.g., admissions spaces). As part of a mock graduate application, Asian and White undergraduates (N = 439) received a personal essay prompt, on the topic of either student diversity taking many forms (diversity condition) or oneâ€™s personal/creative influences (control condition). Students rated the extent to which the application 1) threatened their in-groupâ€™s educational access/resources (i.e., realistic group threat) and 2) affected specific ethnic groupsâ€™ chances of admissions (i.e., Asians, Whites, Latinos). Whites reported more realistic group threat in the diversity than control condition, while Asians reported realistic threat (on par with Whites in the diversity condition) across conditions. For both Asians and Whites, the diversity condition increased the extent to which they perceived their ingroup as harmed relative to outgroups in the admissions process. Implications of these groups' threat perceptions for intergroup relations in university settings are discussed.
The Fragility of Fit: Diverse Environments Shape the Concerns, Belonging, and Performance of Women and Men in STEM Settings
Mary C. Murphy, Claude M. Steele, Julie A. Garcia
Indiana University; Stanford University; California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
The cues hypothesis posits that situational cues in the local environment can trigger social identity threat. While past research examined how cues instigate identity threat among low status groups, these studies extend the cues hypothesis to high status groups (e.g., men)â€”providing a theoretical framework for when and how cues trigger threat among groups historically favored in STEM. Results demonstrate that as traditional settings (male instructors, male peers in STEM classes) shift to include nontraditional cues (female instructors, more female peers in STEM classes), men report similar experiences of threat as women in traditional STEM settings. Specifically, men experience more interpersonal concerns, less belonging and, as a result, worse intellectual performance when exposed to nontraditional settings; women experience the reverse. An experience sampling study replicates the lab effects in studentsâ€™ actual STEM classrooms. Implications for understanding vulnerability to identity threatâ€”among both high and low status group membersâ€”are discussed.
Understanding the Psychology of Change: Bridging Diverse Perspectives
Friday, February 14, 2014, 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM, Room 17
Kentaro Fujita, The Ohio State University
What motivates change â€“ the desire to improve or better a current state of affairs â€“ is a central question in psychology. This symposium brings together a diverse group of personality and social psychology researchers to explore common themes that emerge from an integrative cross-level analysis of the psychology of change.
Social Psychological Interventions and Social Change: A Self-Affirmation Perspective
David K. Sherman, Geoffrey L. Cohen
University of California, Santa Barbara; Stanford University
Psychological threatâ€”the perception that oneâ€™s self-integrity is challengedâ€”can lead to both resistance to change and underperformance. However, social psychological interventions that lessen threat can promote lasting change. Self-affirmation theory has led to the development of such interventions. This talk presents: 1) affirmation intervention studies among middle school Latino American and White American children that showed long-term beneficial change in Latino American studentsâ€™ grades; and 2) a theoretical overview of how such change occurs. Affirmations help people to sustain a narrative of integrity in the face of threatening circumstances. Less encumbered by threat, people can better tap into resources available for growth, such as educational opportunity or persuasive evidence. Consequently, affirmations are best seen as catalysts that unleash the effect of forces in the environment that are otherwise inhibited by psychological threat. Through recursive processes that interact with the social environment, these effects can be carried forward through time.
Changing Well-Being Over Time: Intra- and Interpersonal Processes
Jennifer Crocker, Amy Canevello
The Ohio State University; University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Most people want to be happy, experiencing decreased anxiety and dysphoria and increased self-esteem. But can long-term improvements in well-being be achieved, and if so, what role do interpersonal relationships play in this process, if any? Using data from a longitudinal study of 119 freshman roommate dyads, we explore the role of interpersonal goals in change in well-being over time. Analyses using the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model (APIM) show that change in well-being depends on peopleâ€™s own goals, not the goals of their relationship partners, suggesting a strictly intrapersonal effect of goals on well-being. Delving more deeply into the interpersonal dynamics of support and responsiveness that follow from these goals, however, we show that one personâ€™s goals can lead to long-term change in a relationship partnerâ€™s well-being. For better or worse, the goals we have in our relationships can affect our own well-being and that of our relationship partners.
Taking the long view: A goal systems approach to dissent decisions
Dominic J. Packer
Collective change is often driven by dissent. This talk applies a goal systems framework to dissent decisions â€“ proposing that they involve a tension between shorter-term stability goals and longer-term change goals. Group members may be animated by either goal type, and their behavior with respect to norms is influenced by which are currently dominant. Four experiments test this framework by manipulating construal level, a factor that influences goal selection, such that people are more likely to make decisions furthering long-term goals at high (vs. low) level construal. Among motivated group members, high level construal should animate dissent, whereas low level construal should animate conformity. As predicted, at high level construal, strongly identified and highly conscientious members were more willing to dissent from group norms than members low in identification and conscientiousness. At low level construal, strong identifiers and highly conscientious individuals were equally or more conformist.
Change we can believe in: Using perceptions of changeability to promote system change over system justification
Kentaro Fujita, India R. Johnson
The Ohio State University; Elon University
System justification theory (SJT) research suggests that people are motivated to defend and rationalize the status quo (e.g., Jost & Hunyady, 2002). Although SJT presents an elegant theoretical framework that explains when and why people might be motivated to defend the status quo, it has less to say about when people might be motivated to seek reform. To address this, we propose the existence of a second countervailing system-level motivation: system change, a future-focused motive concerned with bettering the status quo over time. The operation of these two distinct system-level motives should be most evident when people are given an opportunity to receive diagnostic information about the status quo. Whereas system justification promotes preferences for positive information, system change promotes preferences for negative information. I will present empirical evidence that when the status quo is perceived as changeable versus unchangeable, people prefer negative versus positive system-relevant feedback, respectively.
Character Comes Back: New Evidence for Moral Personality
Friday, February 14, 2014, 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM, Room 9
Eranda Jayawickreme, Wake Forest University
New evidence is presented on the nature of character. Perceptions of character are agreed upon by distinct observers, and dominate person-perception. Beliefs about character encourage prosocial behavior, and moral behavior is as stable as other behavior. Together, we provide convergent evidence for the importance of a person-centered approach to morality.
Visible virtues: Agreement on perceptions of moral character
Erik G. Helzer, R. Michael Furr, Maxwell Barranti, William Fleeson
Wake Forest University
To what degree are perceptions of moral character agreed upon by different observers? New data from our lab suggest that different observers agree to a significant degree on questions of virtue. In judging common targets, peer-ratings of moral character were shown to agree with one another, as well as with self-ratings of character. Agreement was also observed with respect to targetsâ€™ moral profiles: Different observers agreed with one another, as well as with the self, on targetsâ€™ particular character strengths and weaknesses. These findings suggest that moral character is an agreed-upon and realistic lens through which people view themselves and those around them.
Moral character predominates in person perception and evaluation
Geoffrey P. Goodwin, Jared Piazza, Paul Rozin
University of Pennsylvania
What sorts of trait information do people most care about when forming impressions of others? Recent research in social cognition suggests that social â€œwarmthâ€, broadly construed, should be of prime importance in impression formation. Yet, some prior research suggests that information about othersâ€™ specifically moral traits â€“ their moral â€˜characterâ€™ â€“ may be a primary dimension. Although these dimensions have sometimes been conceived of as interchangeable, we show that they are indeed separable (Study 1), and that moral character traits are seen as more fundamental to identity than warmth traits (Study 2). Further studies that used correlational and experimental methods showed that moral character information is more important in impression formation than is social warmth information (Studies 3-6). Study 7 showed that moral character information determines the impressions people form of individuals described in obituaries better than does warmth information. Implications for current theories of person perception and social cognition are discussed.
Belief in the Existence of True Altruism
Jochen E. Gebauer, Constantine Sedikides, Mark R. Leary, Jens B. Asendorpf
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; University of Southampton; Duke University
Does true altruism exist in humans? In other words, is the desire to ultimately serve others' interest-- rather than self-interest-- part of the human motivational repertoire? This question occupies a central role in the understanding of human nature in general and human character in particular. Philosophers, theologians, sociologists, economists, and psychologists have fiercely disagreed on an answer. This state renders a related but distinct question worth asking: To what degree do lay people believe in the existence of true altruism? Such lay beliefs can be important and consequential in their own right, independent of whether true altruism exists or not. Here, we introduce the Belief in the Existence of True Altruism (BETA) scale and show that lay beliefs in altruism's existence vary between lay people and that these individual differences in BETA are consequential for higher helping behavior.
Eavesdropping on Character: Testing the Stability of Naturalistically Observed Virtuous Daily Behavior
Kathryn L. Bollich, Simine Vazire, John M. Doris, Matthias R. Mehl
Washington University in St. Louis; University of Arizona
Despite decades of interest in moral character, important basic theoretical questions remain empirically unanswered, including the degree to which moral traits even exist. To examine this, we investigated the stability of moral behavior relative to neutral and negative daily behavior using the Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR), a small digital audio-recorder that periodically samples snippets of ambient sounds from peopleâ€™s everyday lives. In three studies (total N=190), participants wore an EAR over one or two weekends. Research assistants coded these audio files for virtuous behaviors (e.g., empathy, affection, gratitude), evaluatively negative behaviors (e.g., criticize, blame, brag), and neutral behaviors (e.g., prepositions, adverbs, articles). We found that across two measures of temporal stability, not only was everyday moral behavior quite stable (r = .44), but its stability was comparable to negative (r = .43) and neutral (r = .40) behaviors. Together, these findings indicate moral character is largely stable and trait-like.
New research on self-concept clarity: How knowing oneself interacts with esteem, meaning, and authenticity
Friday, February 14, 2014, 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM, Room 19
Helen Boucher, Bates College
Ken DeMarree, University of Buffalo, SUNY
We present new research on self-concept clarity, focusing on novel antecedents and consequences of clarity. Talks describe how self-discrepancies undermine self-clarity, how people defend threats to self-clarity, and how high, relative to low, self-clarity promotes expression of the true self and easier, less frustrating social interactions.
The role of self-esteem goals in predicting self-clarity
Kenneth DeMarree, Kimberly Rios
University of Buffalo, SUNY; University of Chicago
In many cultures, people typically want to have high self-esteem. However, such desires can be discrepant from people's actual levels of self-esteem, especially among people with low self-esteem. Research on discrepancies between actual and desired attitudes has demonstrated that such discrepancies can create a sense of conflict, offering a potential explanation for why low self-esteem people tend to experience reduced self-clarity. We tested whether actual and desired levels of self-esteem would interact to predict self-clarity, with discrepant combinations (e.g., high desired, low actual self-esteem) producing the least clarity. In two samples using either student or international populations, we found that when desired and actual self-esteem are incongruent, self-clarity decreases. In a third study we manipulated desired self-esteem and found that the relationship between actual self-esteem and self-clarity is stronger when desired self-esteem is high.
Self-concept clarity threats evoke worldview defense
Helen Boucher, Thomas Bloch, Addie Pelletier
According to the Meaning Maintenance Model, threats such as mortality salience, uncertainty, and isolation from close others elicit defensive responses because they violate meaning frameworks. We examined whether threats to self-clarity would also evoke compensatory meaning-restoring efforts in the form of worldview defense. Participants made to feel uncertain about themselves gave larger rewards to a worldview supporter, but larger punishments to a worldview violator, than participants who thought about self-certainties (Study 1). We included moderators, showing that high self-esteem individuals (HSE) thinking about self-inconsistencies gave more polarized evaluations of someone criticizing versus complimenting their ingroup than HSEs considering self-consistencies (Study 2). We found similar responses to a relational self-clarity threat, but only among individuals for whom relationships are self-defining (Study 3). Importantly, self-clarity threats did not activate death concerns (Study 4), suggesting that the purpose of worldview defense in these studies was to restore meaningfulness, rather than allay death anxiety.
Knowing one's self to be one's self: Self-concept clarity and authentic living
Rebecca Schlegel, Matthew Vess
Texas A&M University; Ohio University
The consistency, certainty, and coherence of people's self-beliefs are critically important aspects of healthy psychological functioning. In this talk, we'll explore the idea that self-concept clarity plays an important role in people's ability to express who they believe they truly are, deep down (i.e., their true self-concepts). First, we'll present a broad conceptual analysis of the true self-concept as a psychological construct. Next, we'll describe how people's understanding and expression of their true self-concepts impact an assortment of important psychological outcomes. This will include a description of empirical work linking the true self-concept to perceptions of meaning in life, specific patterns of self-conscious affect in the face of personal shortcomings, and sensitivity to social influence in response to existential threat. Finally, we'll discuss the conceptual and empirical links between self-concept clarity and the true self-concept, highlighting notable areas of overlap and directions for future research.
Low self-concept clarity and difficult social interactions
Wendi Gardner, Caitlin Duffy, Eli Finkel
Self-concept clarity (SCC; defined as confident, stable, and consistent self-knowledge), is associated with subjective well-being in North American culture. The current research focuses upon one potential pathway through which higher SCC leads to greater well-being: the ease one feels within social interactions. Successful social interactions demand both interpersonal coordination and understanding, processes potentially enhanced by authentic self-expression, and thus challenged by lower SCC. Longitudinal studies, online surveys, and laboratory manipulations converge on the challenges faced by low SCC individuals. Specifically, low SCC individuals experience their interactions as cognitively and emotionally depleting, and this depletion appears to result from their inability to express their authentic self within these interactions. Given the importance of relationships to well-being, as well as the prevalence of social interactions in daily life, it is proposed that one link between SCC and well-being may be the ease versus difficulty experienced during social interaction.
When to Judge a Book by Its Cover: Timing, Context, and Individual Differences in First Impressions
Friday, February 14, 2014, 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM, Ballroom B/C
Vivian Zayas, Cornell University
Nicholas Rule, University of Toronto
People readily judge a book by its cover, forming impressions of others from minimal cues. Yet, how does this happen in the real-world? Four speakers showcase the latest research on impression-formation, examining accurate and inaccurate judgments, individual differences in judgments, and the persistence/malleability of these judgments over time and contexts.
Itâ€™s in the hands, not the face: Accurate and inaccurate impressions of the quality of professional playersâ€™ poker hands
Michael L. Slepian, Steven G. Young, Abraham M. Rutchick, Nalini Ambady
Stanford University; Fairleigh Dickinson University; California State University
Research demonstrates that our first impressions can often be surprisingly accurate. But if someone has something to hide, can they prevent perceivers from forming accurate impressions? Ranging from the everyday (telling a white lie) to the extraordinary (hiding information of national security), people can be motivated to prevent accurate first impressions. We examined this question across four studies, examining untrained observersâ€™ perceptions of professional poker players. They indeed had inaccurate impressions of playersâ€™ poker hand-quality when observing their facial-expressions. Yet from merely observing how they moved their arms to place a bet, observers accurately detected hand-quality and outcomes. Nonverbal sensitivity enhanced this accuracy, unless attention was directed toward diagnostic motor cues. Professional poker players can indeed prevent accurate impressions by their facial-expressions. Yet, even in the most restrictive of settings (highly-expert poker players placing bets worth millions of dollars) nonverbal behavior can provide revealing information to form accurate impressions.
Do first impressions based on photographs predict impressions following live interactions?
Vivian Zayas, Gül Günaydin, Emre Selcuk
Cornell University; Bilkent University; Middle East Technical University
People routinely â€œjudge a book by its cover.â€ But, do these initial judgments hold even after having actually read the book? This work is the first to investigate how initial impressions made from a single photograph relate to impressions made 1-month later, after actually interacting with the target. Participants viewed photographs of women and judged their likeability and personality traits. Over 1-month later, participants interacted with one of the women (e.g., played trivia, chatted). Not only did participantsâ€™ initial liking judgments based on photographs color their initial judgments of the targetâ€™s personality (attributing positive traits to liked targets), but these initial impressions strongly predicted liking after an actual interaction that took place 1-month later, and continued to color personality judgments following the interaction. Thus, despite the well-known idiom to â€œnot judge a book by its cover,â€ such judgments are good proxies for judgments about the bookâ€”even after reading it.
Some people see what they want to see: Individual differences in snap judgments
Erika N. Carlson, Simine Vazire
University of Toronto, Mississauga; Washington University in St. Louis
We try to make good first impressions on others, but recent work suggests those efforts might be too little or too late; those others may have already made up their minds about us. Who forms positive (or negative) first impressions, and who holds onto these impressions? In two studies, groups of undergraduates met weekly over the course of a semester and rated each memberâ€™s personality several times. We also collected self- and informant-reports of each student's personality. Results revealed that different people see the social world in very different ways. For example, extraverted and agreeable people initially perceived others as compassionate, trustworthy, likable, and intelligent and maintained these impressions over time whereas narcissists initially perceived others as less likeable and more critical, and over time, perceived others as even less likeable and more defensive. We discuss how these differing perspectives of the social world likely have important interpersonal consequences.
The Siren Song of first impressions: Judging from the face even when you know better
University of Toronto
First impressions are ubiquitous, but how powerful and influential are these initial impressions? A series of studies demonstrates that individuals, despite their best intentions, are unable to escape the gravity of judging others based on how they look versus what they know about them. In one set of studies, I demonstrate that impressions of trustworthiness are influenced more by how other people look than how they behave. In another study, I demonstrate a similar persistence in judgments of sexual orientation. Even after learning that people were gay or straight, participants regressed back to their initial impressions when judgment time was limited. With additional time, however, participants were able to recover the information they had learned and instead made their judgments based on knowledge instead of appearance. These data provide important insights to the cognitive processes endemic to the pervasive, and even intrusive, nature of first impressions.
Attention Drives Emotion
Friday, February 14, 2014, 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM, Room 18 A/B
Leaf Van Boven, University of Colorado Boulder
Carey Morewedge, Carnegie Mellon University
Four papers highlight the reciprocal relationship between attention and emotion. Selective attention is shown to enhance the emotional intensity of otherwise neutral objects, explain negativity bias in emotional evaluation, increase the emotional impact of social (versus counterfactual) comparisons, and to undermine hedonic goals of experiencing positive emotion.
Attention Increases Emotional Intensity
Leaf Van Boven, Kellen Mrkva, Jacob Westfall
University of Colorado Boulder
Emotional objects capture and hold attention. But what makes objects emotional to begin with? We hypothesize that attention engenders emotional intensity, particularly for neutral objects. Across several experiments, participants viewed sequences of 100 trials of randomly ordered sets of 10 images that were neutral (e.g., pottery), positive (e.g., puppies), or negative (e.g., putrefaction). One randomly assigned image was designated as target, and participants noted every time that image appeared. This procedure manipulated attention, while equating exposure. Participants subsequently reported that target images were more emotionally evocative than non-target images, and this effect was larger for neutral images than for positive or negative images. The effect of attention was also transient, significantly diminishing over time. Unlike mere exposure, there was no effect of attention on liking or evaluation. These results highlight the bidirectional relationship between attention and emotion, suggesting that objects become emotional when people attend to them.
Loss Attention and Loss Complaint Bias Explain the Negativity Bias
Eldad Yechiam, Ariel Telpaz, Guy Hochman
Technion-Israel Institute of Technology; Duke University
Among the most robust findings in social psychology is that negative attributes influence emotion and behavior more than positive attributes. This â€œnegativity biasâ€ is commonly explained by loss aversion, an asymmetry in the utility of losses versus gains. We offer an alternative explanation of the negativity bias as a function of two other tendencies: (a) â€œloss attention,â€ the increased attention to tasks in conditions involving losses; and (b) â€œcomplaint bias,â€ a tendency to complain about losses and avoid praise of gains. In two experiments, the negativity bias effects on arousal and hedonic ratings emerged even in the absence of loss aversion, in decisions involving small stakes where participants did not avoid risky alternatives with equivalent gains and losses. Moreover, the negativity bias in hedonic ratings was reduced when participants were encouraged to tell the truth using the â€œbogus pipelineâ€ method, suggesting that the negativity bias partly reflects a response bias.
Why Alternatives Have Greater Hedonic Impact If They Are Experienced By Someone Else
Carey Morewedge, Meng Zhu
Carnegie Mellon University; Johns Hopkins University
People overestimate the hedonic impact of comparing an experience to its alternatives across a variety of hedonic experiences. When comparisons are social, rather than counterfactual, the belief in the potency of hedonic comparisons is so strong that people often prefer rewards with lower absolute value that are comparatively better than the rewards received by their peers (positional goods), over than rewards with greater absolute value that are comparatively worse than the rewards received by their peers. We tested whether social comparisons have an especially powerful impact on hedonic value, or if belief in their greater affective potency is a forecasting error. We found that social comparisons are indeed more likely to impact the hedonic value of experiences than similar counterfactual comparisons. Moreover, the experiments suggest that the greater attention devoted to alternatives experienced by someone else underlies the strong impact of social comparisons on hedonic experiences.
Less Is More: Emotion Goals, Emotion Experience, and Psychological Health
Iris Mauss, Maya Tamir
University of Colorado, Berkeley; Hebrew University, Jerusalem
We examine a feature of emotion regulation that has not received much attention: the hedonic goals people have (i.e., how they want to feel). Taking this goal perspective uncovers two seemingly paradoxical effects. First, having a positive emotion goal (wanting to feel happy) can lead to lower positive affect and worse psychological health. Second, not having an emotion goal (accepting oneâ€™s emotions) can lead to lower negative affect and improved psychological health. These effects are seemingly mediated by attention to and evaluation of emotional states. For example, people with positive emotion goals attend to their own emotional states more and evaluate them less positively compared with desired states, whereas people without emotion goals attend to their own emotional states less and evaluate them less negatively. This research suggests that understanding hedonic goals informs and expands our understanding of emotion regulation and its sometimes paradoxical effects on emotion experience and health.
Social and Cognitive Consequences of Psychological Essentialism
Friday, February 14, 2014, 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM, Room 18 C/D
Matthew Lebowitz, Yale University
Ilan Dar-Nimrod, University of Sydney
Social categorization frequently yields psychological essentialism—a belief that shared underlying "essences," often construed as biological, fundamentally determine the characteristics of group members. Essentialized social categories may be defined by a racial identity, other demographic attribute, or medical diagnosis. Presenters will discuss consequences of essentialist thinking in several real-world domains.
The four horsemen of genetic essentialism: Theoretical underpinnings, methodological advancements, and empirical findings
Ilan Dar-Nimrod, Matthew Ruby, Benjamin Cheung, Kevin Tam, Damian Murray
University of Sydney; Universität Hamburg; University of British Columbia; Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Recent theoretical developments identify the cognitive processes set in motion once a person makes genetic attributions. These attributions activate biased cognitions termed the Genetic Essentialist Biases, leading to a surge in the likelihood that people view relevant genetic correlates as more: 1. immutable and predetermined, 2. likely to have a specific etiology, 3. likely to establish homogenous and discrete social categorizations, and 4. natural. In a series of six studies, a newly developed multifaceted instrument was used to set these biased cognitions within the larger context of psychological constructs revolving around a range of concepts from perceived control and intergroup perceptions, to attitude formations and health beliefs. Additionally, using correlational and vignette designs these studies reveal when these biases converge in their predictions (e.g., independently predict conservative personality constructs) and when their predictions diverge (e.g., punitive tendencies towards a criminal are positively predicted from homogeneity but negatively from specific etiology).
Biogenetic explanation, essentialism, and psychiatric stigma: Two meta-analyses
Erlend Kvaale, Nick Haslam, William Gottdiener
University of Melbourne; John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY
Biogenetic explanations of mental disorders are increasingly endorsed by professionals and laypeople alike. Some have hoped that this development will reduce stigma: sufferers cannot be blamed if mental disorders are diseases over which they have limited control. However, biogenetic explanations might increase stigma by inducing essentialist thinking, which often promotes prejudice. If sufferers are thought to have a pathological essence they may be perceived as fundamentally alien, uncontrollable, and unchangeable. Two meta-analyses comprehensively examined this possibility. One reviewed 25 studies of correlations between biogenetic explanations and stigma components (blame, desire for social distance, perceived dangerousness, prognostic pessimism). The other reviewed 28 experimental studies that manipulated biogenetic explanations. Biogenetic explanations were consistently associated with reduced blame. However, consistent with the essentialist account, they were associated with increased perceived dangerousness in both meta-analyses and with increased social distance and pessimism in one. Implications are drawn for the 'mixed blessings' of biogenetic explanation.
Biological essentialism in conceptualizations of psychopathology among symptomatic individuals and mental-health clinicians
Matthew S. Lebowitz, Woo-kyoung Ahn
As predicted by theories of biological essentialism, existing research links biomedical conceptualizations of psychopathology to stigmatizing attitudes and prognostic pessimism (the belief that disorders are relatively immutable). We examined such effects among individuals affected by psychopathology and practicing mental-health clinicians. In the first set of studies, individuals were assessed for depressive symptoms and then rated their causal attributions for, and expected duration of, such symptoms. Biochemical and genetic attributions predicted greater prognostic pessimism among people with and without elevated depression symptomatology. However, a psychoeducation intervention focused on the malleability of gene effects and neurobiology was found to decrease essentialist beliefs. The second set of studies examined practicing mental-health cliniciansâ€™ empathy, an important determinant of stigmatizing attitudes and a bedrock of therapist-client relationships. Clinicians experienced significantly less empathy when hypothetical patientsâ€™ symptoms were explained biologically rather than psychosocially. Social and clinical implications of the findings will be discussed.
Mixed Essences: Folk Beliefs about Genetic Overlap Predict Avoidance of Biracial Individuals
Sonia K. Kang, Jason E. Plaks, Jessica D. Remedios, Alison L. Chasteen
University of Toronto; Tufts University
Genetic essentialist biases include the idea that DNA can establish boundaries between racial categories. We examined mental representations of racial "essences" by asking people to estimate the amount of genetic overlap between racial groups. While some laypeople believe different-race individuals are genetically similar, others believe—consistent with genetic essentialism—that they share little, if any, genetic overlap. We investigated how these beliefs affect neural and behavioral reactions to biracial targets—individuals whose "mixed essences" defy essentialist notions. We found that individuals who provided low genetic overlap estimates displayed stronger neural avoidance responses to biracial (vs. mono-racial) targets, as well as more negative explicit ratings of biracial compared to Black targets. Further, these individuals sat further away when expecting to meet a biracial person than when expecting to meet a Black person. These data demonstrate that beliefs about shared genetic overlap predict reactions to biracial and racially-ambiguous individuals.
Two of What?: On What Bases Should Processes be Divided in Dual-Process Models?
Friday, February 14, 2014, 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM, Ballroom E/F
Jeffrey Sherman, University of California, Davis
We present challenges to the use of automaticity versus control as an organizing principle in dual-process models. Research questions the links between features of automaticity and control and classes of mental operations. The use of this dichotomy also is criticized on theoretical grounds. These issues are examined in historical context.
Yes It Can
The Hebrew University
In this talk I present a framework for thinking about the differences between conscious and unconscious processes. The proposed view is couched in evolutionary considerations and in the capacity limitations of conscious processes. Taking these as my point of departure, I propose that every fundamental, basic level function that can be carried out by conscious processes can also be carried out by unconscious processes. Old, new and very new data from various sub disciplines of the cognitive sciences will be presented; conceptual and methodological implications of this view will be succinctly discussed.
Who Needs Associations Anyway? Automatic Effects are Mediated by Propositional Knowledge
Jan De Houwer
Ghent University, Belgium
Popular dual process models postulate that all automatic effects are mediated by associations in memory whereas all non-automatic effects are mediated by propositional knowledge. Such an overlap is unlikely, especially given the fact that it is difficult to draw a clear line between effects that are automatic and those that are non-automatic. I evaluate the hypothesis that seemingly automatic effects such as evaluative conditioning and implicit evaluation are mediated by propositional knowledge that, unlike associations, can contain information about how concepts are related (e.g., "I am good" vs "I want to be good"). First, even seemingly automatic effects have features of non-automaticity that could be due to the operation of non-automatic propositional processes. Second, the automatic features of automatic effects could be due to the automatic formation or activation of propositional knowledge. Third, evidence suggests that relational information does moderate automatic effects such as evaluative conditioning and implicit evaluation.
Process Models Require Process Measures: Unconfounding Operating Principles and Operating Conditions
Jeffrey W. Sherman, Regina Krieglmeyer, Jimmy Calanchini
University of California, Davis; University of Würzburg
Dual-process models are frequently mapped onto the distinction between automatic and controlled processing. However, it is critical that process models distinguish between operating principles and operating conditions. Operating principles refer to the qualitative nature of the proposed processes-the mechanisms through which the processes transform inputs into outputs. In contrast, operating conditions, such as features of automaticity and control, refer to the conditions under which different processes operate. In this talk, I will describe some of the negative consequences of confounding operating principles and operating conditions, describe the methodological challenges of unconfounding them, and will describe techniques for achieving that goal. I conclude by arguing that it is time to eliminate the automatic/controlled distinction as a definitional component of dual-process models.
The Evolution of Dual-Process Theories of the Social Mind
New York University
My talk examines the evolution of dual-process (DP) theories into a general and generative perspective on the social mind. Similar to cognitive consistency theories, which comprise a comparably general and generative perspective, the impetus for DP theories was the question of human rationality. Inspired by decision-theoretic research documenting systematic violations of orderly inductive inference, early DP theories distinguished between heuristic short-cuts and systematic processing as trading off speed and accuracy. Expanding DP theories, scholars have subsequently proposed dualities involving awareness and control and dualities in the nature of the underlying mental operations, such as associative vs. propositional processing. All the while, DP scholars have addressed meta-theoretical questions of whether these dualities cohere into separable mental systems, developed increasingly precise measurement techniques, and expanded the scope of the theories to encompass numerous aspects of individual functioning in society from person perception, social judgment, and persuasion to self-regulation, prejudice, and intergroup relations.
The Next Frontier in Social Support and Health Research: Clarifying the Micro-Level Mechanisms
Friday, February 14, 2014, 9:45 AM - 11:00 AM, Room 6
Elizabeth Keneski, The University of Texas at Austin
Timothy Loving, The University of Texas at Austin
Speakers explore the roles of self-regulation and stress buffering in the social support-health link and address relevant micro-level psychological and physiological mechanisms. The talks address how providing, receiving, and perceiving support affect physiological responses (e.g. diurnal cortisol slopes), neurological regulation (i.e., threat-related hypothalamic function), and health behaviors.
Social Network Support Moderates Physiological & Physical Health Outcomes of Marital Stress
Elizabeth Keneski, Timothy J. Loving, Lisa A. Neff
The University of Texas at Austin
Although social network support has been linked to a variety of positive health outcomes, the mechanisms underlying this association have yet to be fully elucidated. The present study tested whether network support buffers individuals from the negative physiological and physical health consequences of marital stress. Newlywed couples reported their perceptions of network support before completing a daily diary. As part of this diary, spouses reported daily martial stressors and provided daily waking and evening saliva samples for cortisol assessment. Self-reported physical health was assessed in a series of follow-up surveys over three years. Analyses revealed that spouses who reported more (versus less) satisfying social network support experienced healthier (steeper) diurnal cortisol slopes on days in which they experienced greater marital stress, and network support positively influenced long-term physical health trajectories. Thus, network support improves individualsâ€™ daily physiological responses to marital stressors and guards against long-term detriments in physical health.
How Providing Support May Impact Self-Regulatory Health and Interpersonal Outcomes
Courtney L. Gosnell, Shelly L. Gable
University of California, Santa Barbara
We hypothesized that providing support in response to othersâ€™ negative events (which may involve greater concerns regarding providing effective support) would deplete self-regulatory resources, whereas support in response to positive events would boost resources. In a 14-day diary study participants with greater effectiveness concerns reported greater feelings of depletion and poorly-regulated health and interpersonal behaviors (e.g., overeating, snapping at friends). Additionally, negative support provision days were associated with greater effectiveness concerns and poorer health and interpersonal behavior regulation whereas positive provision days were associated with greater strivings towards health and personal goals. In a second laboratory study, we manipulated individualsâ€™ concerns about providing effective support to their romantic partner for a speech (negative event). Individuals with greater effectiveness concerns showed greater handgrip depletion. These studies suggest concerns over providing effective support (often seen in response to negative events) are associated with poorer health and interpersonal outcomes due to self-regulatory failures.
The Influence of Sleep Quality on the Stress Buffering Effects of Social Connectedness
Kathi L. Heffner
University of Rochester
Social connectedness enhances self-regulation, including regulation of sleep, emotion and stress physiology. Poor sleep quality itself can substantially impinge on self-regulation domains. Poor sleep is also associated with altered socio-emotional processing, which may weaken an individual's ability to benefit from available social resources. To test the influence of sleep in self-regulation pathways, we examine whether sleep quality alters the extent to which social support and feelings of connectedness buffer psychophysiological effects of stress. In a laboratory stressor study of healthy older adults, affect measures and saliva were collected at baseline and across a recovery period following cognitive testing. The stress hormone cortisol and alpha amylase, a marker of sympathetic arousal, were assessed from saliva. Poor sleepers, although reporting similar levels of social support availability, do not appear to benefit from social resources and connectedness in the same way as good sleepers. Implications for the social modulation of self-regulation are discussed.
Marriage as a Moderator of Threat-Related Hypothalamic Regulation in Straight- and Same-Sex Couples
University of Virginia
Relationships enhance health and wellbeing. Marriage in particular has been cited as a buffer against poor health. Questions have arisen concerning the difference between marriage and romantic cohabitation. Some have argued that marriage confers advantages that cohabitating relationships do not. This question will implicate same-sex couples as they acquire the right to marry. We report that the regulation of threat-related hypothalamic functioning (a neural substrate linking stress to compromised health) during supportive handholding occurs in married but not cohabiting couples matched for relationship quality and length. Moreover, we report the same difference between self-identified married and cohabiting same-sex couples. Thus, regardless of sexual orientation, marriage is associated with the social regulation of threat-related hypothalamic functioning, but cohabitation is not. Possible reasons for these observations include, but are probably not limited to, differences in the meaning of marriage and cohabitation.
Symposium Session B and Data Blitz
Friday, February 14, 2014, 11:15 AM - 12:30 PM, Ballroom D
Simine Vazire, Washington University, St. Louis
Nathan DeWall, University of Kentucky
Twelve speakers each have 5 minutes, 4 slides, and 1 question -- it you have never attended a data blitz, this is a must attend symposium. We culled the most exciting research from submitted symposia and posters and wrapped it into a single 75-minute event. You will hear topics representing a broad spectrum of personality and social psychology in a lightening fast symposium.
Continuing a Family Tradition: University Legacy as a Scaffold for Identity and Identity-Relevant Action
Matthew Baldwin, Ludwin Molina
University of Kansas
This research explored the influence of family legacy on personal identity and identity-relevant action. Across three studies, we observed differences in identity, behavior, and attitudes between university students who had family attend the university prior and those who did not (i.e., legacy vs. no legacy). In Study 1, legacy students were more strongly identified with the university, had more favorable attitudes toward the university, and had less favorable attitudes toward a rival outgroup university. In Study 2, we replicate these patterns and also show that legacy studentsâ€™ stronger identification contributed to feelings of family connectedness and self-continuity. Finally, in Study 3 we show that legacy students had higher academic engagement, higher current and anticipated GPA, and an easier transition to college. These findings suggest that family legacy motivates particular identities and behaviors for the purpose of validating important family relations. In the university context, this translates to higher academic success.
Why are physically formidable men afforded higher status in organizational settings? Strength as an evolved cue to in-group contribution capacity
Aaron W. Lukaszewski, James R. Roney, Cameron P. Anderson, Zachary L. Simmons
Loyola Marymount University; UCSB; UC Berkeley; University of Portland
Humans primarily achieve social status by generating benefits for the group, rather than through aggressive contests. Nonetheless, people willingly confer high status upon physically formidable group members. This study advances a model that reconciles these contradictory conclusions, wherein the evolved psychology of social status conferral interprets menâ€™s physical strength as a cue to in-group contribution capacity, which results in the conferral of status upon stronger men. To test this, targets in photos were rated on (i) multiple aspects of in-group contribution capacity, (ii) forceful pursuit of self-interest, and (iii) likely status within a white collar organization. In support of the proposed model, male (but not female) targetsâ€™ actual physical strength predicted social status affordances, and this effect was mediated by perceptions of their ability to make specific types of formidability-related contributions to group functioning. Results are discussed in terms of the respective roles of dominance vs. prestige in attaining status.
Ethical Departures from Monogamy: Attachment and Consensual Non-monogamy
Amy C. Moors, Terri Conley, Robin S. Edelstein, William J. Chopik
University of Michigan
Recent research suggests that people overwhelmingly view monogamy as the optimal form of romantic partnering and stigmatize consensual non-monogamous relationships (CNM). Lay people are not alone in their moral judgments of monogamy; attachment researchers often interchange the words ââ‚¬Å“dyadicââ‚¬Â and ââ‚¬Å“love,ââ‚¬Â equating love with exclusivity. Yet, CNM relationships (ethical agreements to engage in multiple romantic/sexual-partnering) look very similar to secure attachment relationships. Specifically, individuals in CNM relationships report high levels of trust, honesty, and relationship satisfaction. We will present novel data linking individual differences in attachment with attitudes toward CNM, willingness to engage in CNM, and actual CNM engagement. In two large Internet samples (both Ns > 1,200), we found that avoidance was robustly linked to positive attitudes toward CNM relationships and willingness to engage in them. However, avoidant individuals were less likely to actually engage in CNM than in monogamous relationships. Implications for attachment research will be discussed.
The Topography of Generosity: Nonlinear Evaluations of Prosocial Actions
Nadav Klein, Nicholas Epley
University of Chicago
A personâ€™s reputation is based at least partly on their actions towards others. Completely selfish actions are evaluated negatively whereas completely selfless actions are evaluated positively. We examine the points in-between these extremes to understand how varying degrees of prosociality affect reputations. Six experiments find consistent nonlinear evaluations of prosociality. Participants evaluated prosocial actors in the contexts of giving in a dictator game, donations to a not-for-profit orchestra, and divisions of desirable food items. We find that people evaluate fair actions more positively than selfish actions, but do not evaluate generous actions more positively than fair actions. A fourth experiment finds that this pattern reflects a reputational premium given to fair actions. Two final experiments identify comparison processes as a proximal mechanism for nonlinear evaluations of prosociality. We speculate that reputational inferences may be biased in a way that optimizes group functioning.
Early enculturation and developmental invariance of implicit intergroup attitudes
Eva E. Chen, Yarrow Dunham, Mahzarin R. Banaji
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; Yale University; Harvard University
What underlies the tendency to see members of out-groups as threatening? Social experience must play a role, but in the present research we explore the hypothesis that a tendency to see outgroup members as more threatening emerges early in development, prior to substantial intergroup experience. In four experiments, encompassing 883 adults and 3-to-13-yr-old children across two cultures and two status groups within one culture, we demonstrate that a tendency to see angry faces as belonging to the outgroup emerges at a young age and persists into adulthood. Further examination reveals a difference between the high-status and low-status groups. While members of two socially dominant majorities categorized angry faces as the outgroup, members of a disadvantaged minority showed no such tendency. Our results indicate that a basic outgroup threat response appears early and is stable across development, and that it is closely integrated with basic perceptual processes related to emotion discrimination.
Does Travel Truly Broaden the Mind? Breadth but not Depth of Foreign Experiences Increases Generalized Trust
Jiyin Cao, Adam Galinsky, William Maddux
Northwestern University; Columbia University; INSEAD
Three studies examined the effect of breadth and depth of foreign experiences on generalized trust, the belief in the benevolence of human nature. Study 1 demonstrated that the breadth (number of countries traveled) but not the depth (amount of time spent traveling) of foreign travel experiences was positively associated with trust behavior in a decision-making game. Study 2 replicated this effect by manipulating a focus on the breadth vs. depth of a foreign experience in an experimental paradigm. Study 3 was a longitudinal study that measured generalized trust before and after participants traveled abroad and found that the breadth but not the depth of these foreign experiences predicted increases in generalized trust. Across three studies, using different research methods (correlational, lab experiment, longitudinal), samples (United States, Chinese) and operationzations (trust game, generalized trust scale), we found a robust relationship between the breadth of foreign travel experiences and generalized trust.
Meditation increases compassionate responses to suffering
Paul Condon, Gaelle Desbordes, Willa Miller, David DeSteno
Northeastern University; Massachusetts General Hospital; Harvard University
To date, little empirical evidence has demonstrated the beneficial interpersonal effects of meditation practice. The current study employed an ecologically valid situation that exposed participants to a person in visible pain. Following eight-week training courses in meditation or a non-meditation control, participants arrived at a lab individually to complete purported measures of cognitive ability. Upon entering the waiting area for many labs, participants seated themselves in the last remaining chair in a row of three; confederates occupied the other two chairs. As the participant sat and waited, a third confederate using crutches and a large walking boot entered the waiting area while displaying discomfort. We assessed compassionate responding by whether participants gave up their seat to allow the confederate with crutches to sit, thereby relieving her discomfort. As expected, participants who completed a meditation course gave up their seat more frequently than did those from the non-meditation control.
Healthier than thou? How physician health affects patients' fear of judgment
Lauren Christine. Howe, Benoit Monin
Across five studies, we examine whether appearing to be the "picture of health" can damage doctor-patient interactions, and when the disclosure of imperfect health may be beneficial. In study 1, we discover that people believe that doctors meet unrealistically high health standards. In study 2, we find that doctor profiles often stress ideal health when providing personal information to patients. Next, we examine whether this image of perfect health can be threatening. In study 3, we find that providing this â€œidealâ€ personal health information makes doctors seem more judgmental, leading to decreased approachability and comfort when imagining doctor-patient interactions. Studies 4 and 5 examine the power of exposing oneâ€™s fallibility in the healthcare context. We find that participants who face stigmatized health issues prefer doctors who have a negative health habit revealed. Thus, revealing flaws may help people to form connections and diminish fear of judgment across potentially threatening boundaries.
Free to Punish: A Motivated Account of Free Will Belief
Cory Jane. Clark, Jamie Luguri, Peter H. Ditto, Joshua Knobe, Azim Shariff, Roy Baumeister
University of California, Irvine; Yale University; University of Oregon; Florida State University
A world without free will is an amoral world. Belief in free will is a pervasive phenomenon that has important consequences for prosocial actions and punitive judgments. However, little research has investigated why belief in free will is so widespread and what function it serves. We argue that free will beliefs partially flow from a fundamental desire to hold others morally responsible and justify punishing them for wrongful behavior. Across 8 studies, belief in free will increased after exposure to immoral behavior and the subsequent desire to punish. Further, belief in free will served as a buffer against the negative psychological consequences of the social and cultural requirement to punish. Taken together, our findings suggest that the strength and resilience of free will beliefs reflect a general desire to invest the world with moral significance â€“ to hold people morally responsible for their actions by seeing them as having choice.
Pan-cultural Self-enhancement: Evidence from ERPs
Yuanyuan Shi, Lili Wu, Ruolei Gu, Yu L.L. Luo, Huajian Cai
Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
This study examined whether self-enhancement is universal using event-related potential (ERP) technique. After being primed with independent self or interdependent self, forty-seven participants from Beijing, China were asked to judge whether presented traits (positive or negative) described themselves or not. The ERPs were recorded simultaneously. Behavioral data showed that participants responded faster to positive traits than negative ones when traits were judged as self-descriptive, but the opposite was true when traits were not judged as self-descriptive regardless of self-construals, suggesting pan-cultural self-enhancement. ERP data showed that self-construal priming modulated the amplitude of N200 and P200, suggesting the manipulation worked. Relevantly, negative traits elicited larger amplitude on N100, P200, LPP than positive ones when traits were judged as self-descriptive; but this was not true when traits were not judged as self-descriptive, suggesting self-enhancement modulates brain activities. Moreover, these effects manifested independent of self-construals, indicating the universality of self-enhancement.
Becoming American-like while Not Liking American Culture: 4 year follow up
Amanda Taylor. Eggen, Xiaoming Ma, Yuri Miyamoto
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Some acculturation studies reveal that adults tend to change psychologically to match host cultures (e.g., De Leersnyder, Mesquita & Kim, 2011; Heine & Lehman, 2004), whereas other studies reveal no change (Cheung et al., 2011; Minoura, 1992). The current study suggests that domain dependency partly explains the discrepancy, with host culture-matching in the cultural mandate domain (i.e., psychological tendencies internalized based on culturally dominant values and meanings intuitively mandated, such as self-construal) but not in the cultural evaluation domain (i.e., psychological processes requiring active reflecting on thoughts and feelings toward another culture). Our longitudinal study of Asian international students over four years while in the U.S. showed participants aligning their self-construals with American patterns but not changing, or slightly declining, in their evaluations of American culture. Furthermore, matching American self-construal patterns and greater evaluations of American culture predicted better mental health.
Increasing concern for others in antisocial individuals
Nathan Arbuckle, Matthew Shane, William Cunningham
University of Ontario Institute of Technology; University of Toronto
Antisocial behavior carries with it substantial costs, both for the victims of this behavior and for a society that seeks to regulate it. This has led to considerable research examining the cognitive, emotional, and social deficits that characterize those who consistently disregard others. The present work instead focused on motivating antisocial individuals to increase their concern for others. In two studies, undergraduates high in psychopathy exhibited increased concern for others in an economic game when those others were described as ingroup members as opposed to strangers. In a third study utilizing a probation/parole population, both psychopaths and non-psychopaths demonstrated increased neural activity in empathy-related regions of the brain (i.e., ACC, insula) when directed to enhance their concern for someone in pain as opposed to passively viewing someone in pain. Together, these results indicate that antisocial individuals can choose to demonstrate concern for others when they are motivated to do so.
Interpersonal Processes in the Context of Social Networks
Friday, February 14, 2014, 11:15 AM - 12:30 PM, Room 19
Grace Jackson, UCLA
Interpersonal processes take place within relationships that are themselves embedded in broader social networks. The work presented in this symposium draws upon recent developments in social network analysis to examine how specific interpersonal processes â€“ self-disclosure, drinking, marriage, and attachment â€“ interact with the social networks in which they take place.
A Social Network Comparison of Low-Income Black and White Newlywed Couples
Grace Jackson, David Kennedy, Thomas N. Bradbury, Benjamin R. Karney
UCLA; RAND Corporation
Efforts to explain racial disparities in marital outcomes have focused on economic differences between Blacks and Whites, but have neglected potential differences in the social networks within which marriages are embedded. The current study addressed this gap by drawing on interviews with 57 first-married newlyweds from low-income communities to compare the composition and structure of Black and White couplesâ€™ social networks. Results indicated that low-income Black couples entered marriage at a social disadvantage relative to White couples, with more family relationships, but fewer positive relationships and sources of emotional support (for wives), fewer connections to married individuals, and fewer shared relationships between spouses. Some network differences could be attributed to the fact that, even within low-income communities, Black newlyweds had lower household incomes, were younger, and were more likely to be parents than White newlyweds, but Black couplesâ€™ social disadvantages persisted even when these economic and demographic differences were controlled.
Romantic Attachment and Friendship Networks: Individual Differences in Attachment Manifesting in Group Social Behavior
Amanda N. Gessleman, Benjamin S. Crosier, Gregory D. Webster
University of Florida
Is attachment related to popularity? Specifically, are romantically avoidantly attached adults less likely to be nominated as friends by peers? Social network analysis is ideal for addressing such socialâ€“personality questions because it integrates information about individuals (nodes) and their relationships (ties). Prior research showed that Big Five personality relates to social network structure (Crosier et al., 2013). In the present research, we predicted that avoidant attachment would be negatively related to popularity in social networks. In Study 1 (N=44), an undergraduate psychology classroom indicated the strength of their friendships with other class members and completed measures of personality (BFI-44; John & Srivastava, 1999) and attachment (ECR-R; Fraley et al., 2000). After controlling for Big Five personality, avoidant attachment was negatively related to eigenvector indegree centralityâ€”a measure of popularity (r=-.31). In Study 2 (N=67), we replicated this effect with the same measures in a different undergraduate psychology class (r=-.27).
Social Drinking: Alcohol Use and Personality Traits Predict Collegiate Social Networks
Allan Clifton, James MacKillop, Joshua D. Miller
Vassar College; University of Georgia
Alcohol misuse among college students is a major public health problem, which is likely driven by both individual differences and social influences. We assessed the acquaintance and friendship connections among N=96 students at two time points, and used social network analysis to model these sociocentric networks. We also assessed personality traits and alcohol misuse by these students, and examined the relationship with social network characteristics. As expected, personality characteristics, including Extraversion, Agreeableness, Impulsivity, and Sensation Seeking, were predictive of network position, such as centrality, connectivity, and membership within cohesive subgroups. However, alcohol misuse, as well as motivations for drinking alcohol, were much stronger predictors of network structure. Results suggest that both personality and collegiate alcohol misuse are important in understanding social network characteristics.
Social networking is a double-edged sword: Low self-esteem and self-disclosure on Facebook
Joanne V. Wood, Amanda L. Forest, Daniel Machado
University of Waterloo; University of Pittsburgh
Popular media have promoted the idea that social networking websites may enrich the interpersonal lives of people who struggle to make social connections. Do such websites benefit people with low self-esteem (LSEs)? LSEsâ€™ self-protectiveness normally inhibits them from self-disclosing, which is crucial to fostering connections. We suspected that Facebook would reduce the perceived riskiness of self-disclosure, thus encouraging LSEs to express themselves more openly. We found that (1) LSEs do see Facebook as a safe medium for self-disclosure, and 2) when we manipulated the communication mediumâ€”online vs. face-to-faceâ€”LSEs expressed themselves more freely online. However, (3) LSEs also express considerable negativity online, to which (4) other peopleâ€”both strangers and Facebook friendsâ€”respond unfavorably. Hence, LSEsâ€™ negativity may bring about the very rejection that they fear. This research illustrates how social media provide new ways to test theories about self-esteem and relationship processes.
The essence of intergroup conflict: Psychological essentialism in the intergroup processes we thought we already understood
Friday, February 14, 2014, 11:15 AM - 12:30 PM, Ballroom G
Ariana Bell, University of California, Los Angeles
This symposium highlights how psychological essentialism shapes intergroup relations. Across four papers we document that essentialist beliefs decrease the quality of childrenâ€™s cross-ethnic interactions, increase adult acceptance of bullying among adolescents, and accommodate divergent motivations of different group members. Implications for research on intergroup conflict throughout the lifespan are discussed.
Believing that prejudice can change: Implications for childrenâ€™s interracial anxiety
Amanda Williams, Kristin Pauker, Evan Apfelbaum, Carol Dweck, Jennifer Eberhardt
University of Hawaii; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Stanford University
Despite efforts to improve race relations, interracial friendships decline around the 5th grade. We explored what contributes to this decline and the emergence of interracial anxiety among a diverse sample of 8-12-year-olds from two different contexts. We hypothesized that childrenâ€™s theories about prejudiceâ€”whether prejudice was considered more fixed or malleableâ€”would provide an interpretive framework for responding to the perceived challenge of interracial interactions. Results indicate that students with more fixed theories about prejudice reported less diverse friendships, less interest in interracial interactions, and more interracial anxiety, above and beyond their implicit prejudice. Further, the relationship between prejudice theories and interracial anxiety was accounted for by childrenâ€™s concern about appearing prejudiced. Evidence of interracial anxiety in childrenâ€™s nonverbal behavior emerged in 10-12-year-olds and was moderated by childrenâ€™s theories about prejudice; only children with a fixed view of prejudice exhibited nonverbal withdrawal when creating a video-message for a different-race partner.
The motivational origins of social concepts
Studies reveal links between adultsâ€™ essentialist beliefs about, and attitudes towards, various social categories. Social psychologists argue that this link might result from adultsâ€™ understanding of dominance hierarchies, social systems, or social identities. The present developmental studies investigated whether such links derive from fundamental motivations, namely ingroup affiliation and outgroup avoidance. The studies assessed these questions among Jewish Israeli 5-10 year-olds, in the context of their beliefs and attitudes toward Jews and Arabs. Study 1 found a correlation between children's essentialist beliefs about ethnicity and selective imitation â€“ an affiliative behavior â€“ of ingroup members. Study 2 found that priming essentialism via a story led to: a) greater distancing between ingroup and outgroup members in a spontaneous drawing task, and b) implicit biased intergroup associations in a Child-IAT. Thus, altogether, essentialism was related to both affiliative and avoidance motivations, and these relations seemed to predate a full-fledged understanding of social structures.
The essence of men is . . . sexist?: Perceiving biological bases of sexism in males inhibits confronting sexism
Ariana Naomi. Bell, Phillip Atiba. Goff
University of California, Los Angeles
If sexist behavior is biologically innate, why bother confronting it? The present research investigates whether or not this reasoning leads adults to avoid confronting sexism in adolescent boysâ€”the age group of males adults biologically essentialize the most. We hypothesized that sexual aggression is more essentialized than other expressions of sexism, and that essentialist stereotypes about males are exaggerated for adolescentsâ€”who are popularly depicted as beholden to â€œraging hormonesâ€ during puberty. In Study 1, we found that adolescent males were perceived as more biologically motivated and sexually aggressive than males of other ages. In Study 2, participants primed with either biological or cultural notions of gender evaluated a sexist bullying incident between teenagers. Biologically primed participants were less likely to confront sexist bullying behavior in adolescent males, especially when the bullying incident involved sexual aggression. Findings suggest that essentialist notions of gender are an important barrier to confronting sexism.
Is racial categorization an epistemic or a social challenge?
Deborah A. Prentice, Margaret E. Tankard
Our research explores two contrasting views of the motivation that underlies racial categorization. The essentialist view holds that racial categorizations are motivated by a desire to carve human nature at its joints. The social-structural view holds that racial categorizations are motivated by a desire to carve the social world at its joints. These views make competing predictions about who will be most strongly motivated to make valid racial categorizations and when. We test these predictions using a paradigm in which participants categorize faces according to race and then complete the Personal Need for Structure scale. Across five studies, we manipulate the racial make-up of the faces and whether the category structure imposes a binary choice or allows more nuanced categorization. Results provide evidence favoring the social-structural view, but only among Asian, Black, and Latino participants. We find no evidence that Whitesâ€™ racial categorizations are motivated by epistemic or social-adjustive concerns.
Interest: From Spark to Passion
Friday, February 14, 2014, 11:15 AM - 12:30 PM, Ballroom E/F
Paul O'Keefe, Stanford University
This symposium covers an array of research and theorization on interest across its developmental process. Presenters will discuss how particular achievement goals and task values can promote interest, how beliefs about the nature of interest influence the adoption of interests, and how passion can take multiple forms with different outcomes.
The Role of Goal Attainment Expectancies In Achievement Goal Pursuit and the Development of Interest
Chris Hulleman, Corwin Senko
University of Virginia; SUNY New Paltz
Goals are important antecedents of achievement behavior and contribute to the development of interest. The current studies introduce the goal attainment expectancy construct to achievement goal theory, and investigate its predictive relationship with interest development. Three studies, two in college classrooms and the other using a novel math task in the laboratory, converged on the same finding. For mastery-approach goals and performance-approach goals alike, the harder the goal appeared to attain, the less likely participants were to pursue it, ultimately with negative repercussions to participantsâ€™ task interest and achievement. Additionally, in each study, mastery-approach goals were generally considered easier to achieve than performance-approach goals. Study 3 also demonstrates that these judgments are highly amenable to cues in the situation: Mastery-approach goal expectancies are colored by the apparent complexity of the material to be learned. Multiple theoretical implications are considered, particularly for work on achievement goal antecedents and interest development.
Increasing Interest by Communicating Value
Elizabeth Canning, Judith Harackiewicz, Yoi Tibbetts
University of Wisconsin
If educators and parents can help students find relevance or meaning in a subject, they may be able to promote interest and achievement. To do this, however, it is unclear whether they should tell their students that schoolwork is important or whether they should help students discover this on their own. The current studies explore the best ways to communicate value, particularly for students most at riskâ€”those with low confidence in their ability. Across three laboratory studies, we examine three aspects of utility value communication: type (internally generated vs. externally provided), timing (before vs. after learning), and content (identity-independent vs. identity-dependent utility, in which identity-dependent information emphasizes career/future, whereas identity-independent information emphasizes general, everyday utility). We found that interest increased for students with low confidence when both types of utility value (internal and external) are utilized together, when utility is communicated after learning, and when the content is identity-independent.
Implicit Theories of Interest
Paul A. O'Keefe, Carol S. Dweck, Gregory M. Walton
This research examined the beliefs that personal interests are either fixed (inherent and â€œrevealedâ€) or malleable (constructed and changeable). In Study 1, undergraduates were assessed for their theory of interest and primary interest domain (technology or humanities), and later read technology- and humanities-related articles. Among those with a malleable theory, interest ratings for the two articles did not vary by their primary interest domain. In contrast, a fixed theory resulted in less interest in the article that mismatched their primary interest domain. Study 2 replicated these results using a theory of interest manipulation. Furthermore, Study 3 showed that a fixed theory led to the outright rejection of relatively more interest domains, and Study 4 demonstrated that theories of interest are distinct from other related constructs. Results suggest the benefits of holding a malleable theory in that it promotes greater diversity in interest domains and the active construction of those interests.
The social consequences of personality: New insights into mediating processes
Friday, February 14, 2014, 11:15 AM - 12:30 PM, Room 9
Mitja Back, University of Muenster
Simine Vazire, Washington University, St. Louis
What are the processes underlying effects of personality on everyday social relationships? The current talks apply multiple methods (experience sampling, online diaries, round robin interactions) and capture four crucial processes (situation selection, person-situation interaction, behavioral expression, interpersonal judgment), thereby moving beyond description to explanation of the social consequences of personality.
When Introverts Get Social: Introvertsââ‚¬â„¢ Social Interactions Predict Well-Being
Simine Vazire, Robert E. Wilson, Erika N. Carlson, Brittany C. Solomon, Kathryn L. Bollich, Kelci Harris, Sara Weston, Joshua J. Jackson
Washington University, St. Louis; University of Toronto
Extraversion is a strong predictor of socializing. However, introverts socialize sometimes, too. In this talk, we explore the correlates and consequences of introverts coming out of their shell and interacting with others. We tracked 128 college students over two weeks of experience sampling (four times per day) and collected global self- and informant-reports of their personality. Introverts spent less time with others (r = -.21). However, among introverts, agreeableness (r = .34) and happiness (r = .44) predicted spending more time with others, and loneliness predicted spending less time with others (r = -.44), whereas extravertsââ‚¬â„¢ well-being was not related to time spent with others. Finally, introverts, but not extraverts, were more satisfied with their friendships and their social lives if they interacted more with people they liked. These results suggest that introverts benefit more than extraverts from social interaction, especially interactions with people they like.
Who Attains Status? Similarities and Differences Across Social Contexts
Nicole Lawless, Sanjay Srivastava
University of Oregon
Previous research has indicated that possessing dominance-related traits (e.g., extraversion, self-confidence) helps individuals gain status in small groups. However, little attention has been focused on whether the traits that predict status attainment vary based on the demands of different social contexts. We examined status attainment in both affiliative and competitive group tasks. Personality traits were measured before the task; peer- and self-perceptions of status and personality were obtained afterward. Consistent with previous research, extraversion was positively associated with status attainment, regardless of the nature of the task. In contrast, however, participants who were more agreeable attained status in affiliative but not in competitive contexts, whereas individuals who were more conscientious and had higher self-esteem attained status in competitive but not affiliative contexts. These results indicate that some traits differentiate status attainment in different contexts, and further implications are discussed.
Personality and the development of peer relations: Mediating interaction behaviors and interpersonal perceptions
Albrecht C. P. Kuefner, Roos Hutteman, Steffen Nestler, Mitja D. Back
University of Muenster
We aimed at unraveling the behavioral and perceptual processes that mediate the effects of personality on the quantity and quality of developing peer relations. One age-cohort of psychology freshmen (N=130) was investigated at zero acquaintance and then repeatedly over the course of the first two semesters. Agentic (e.g., Extraversion, dominance) and communal traits (e.g., Agreeableness, warmth) were assessed via self- and informant-reports. In addition, students reported on their own and their partnersââ‚¬â„¢ behavior for each of their everyday mutual interactions (more than 7,000 event-based smartphone reports) as well as their relationship impressions (weekly online diaries). Results are in line with a longitudinal social interaction approach to the dynamic interplay of personality and social relationships. Whereas Agency predicted social status and being seen as a leader via the expression of dominant interaction behaviors, Communion predicted friendship quality and being liked by means of friendly behaviors.
Accurate first impressions leave a lasting impression: The long-term benefits of accuracy for relationship development
Jeremy C. Biesanz, Lauren J. Human, Gillian M. Sandstrom, Elizabeth W. Dunn
University of British Columbia
Does the accuracy of our first impressions have immediate and longer-term effects on relationship development? To address this question, we examined whether accurate first impressions of new classmates (N=113) promote liking and relationship development longitudinally over the course of three months. Accuracy, assessed as distinctive self-other agreement, was marginally associated with greater liking at the start of the semester. Importantly, accurate first impressions significantly predicted greater interaction over time. Further, accurate first impressions continued to promote social interaction even after controlling for initial liking, suggesting that these positive effects of accuracy operate independently of initial liking. Forming positively biased first impressions was a strong predictor of both initial and longer-term relationship development, while assumed similarity showed strong initial but not long-term associations with relationship development. In sum, independent of the benefits of biased impressions, forming accurate personality impressions has a positive impact on relationship development among new acquaintances.
Identity Concealment: A Normative Social Psychological Phenomenon
Friday, February 14, 2014, 11:15 AM - 12:30 PM, Room 17
Jonathan Cook, The Pennsylvania State University
Diane Quinn, University of Connecticut
We draw attention to new methodological, theoretical, and empirical advances in studying identity concealment. Presentations cover antecedents to and consequences of concealment and the intersection of visible and concealable stigmatized identities. We discuss a wide variety of concealable identities, including mental and physical illness, sexual orientation, and domestic violence.
Antecedents and Consequences of Concealing Chronic Illness: The Case of Multiple Sclerosis
Jonathan E. Cook, Gertraud Stadler, Valerie Purdie-Vaughns, Niall Bolger
The Pennsylvania State University; Columbia University
Nearly half of American adults have a chronic illness (Wu & Green, 2000), yet the effect of chronic illness on social psychological processes has received little attention. We focus on identity concealment, specifically concealment of multiple sclerosis (MS), a progressively debilitating neurological disease. Because MS symptoms are often initially subtle, MS provides a valuable window into identity concealment and disclosure processes. Moreover, MS is less confounded with issues of controllability associated with other diseases (e.g., HIV). Among 53 participants with MS (ages 23-71), the vast majority reported some degree of active concealment (e.g., at work) or negative consequences of disclosure (e.g., losing jobs). Concealment was predicted by perceptions of stereotypes about people with MS, being a target of stigma, and having more internalized stigma (ps < .01). Active concealment, predicted more frequent alcohol consumption (p = .04). Ongoing longitudinal research and implications for social stigma theory will be discussed.
The Impact of Law in Reducing Interpersonal Discrimination against Lesbian and Gay Job Applicants
Mikki Hebl, Laura Barron
Concealment of sexual orientation may be influenced by the presence or absence of protective ordinances and laws. Some legislators have questioned the efficacy of Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) legislation and we examine this. In Study 1, data from 111 households reveal heightened awareness and support of ENDA in communities with (vs without) antidiscrimination legislation. In Study 2, gay/lesbian or assumed heterosexual individuals applied for jobs at 295 retail stores in neighboring cities with or without legislation. "Gay" versus assumed heterosexual applicants who applied for jobs experienced much less interpersonal discrimination in areas with (versus without) protective legislation. In Study 3, interviewers who were (versus were not) trained about legal protection exhibited significantly less discrimination toward 295 gay/lesbian job applicants. Taken as a whole, the results inform legislative debate by showing that there is efficacy of pending national legislation (i.e., ENDA), which we believe will also decrease pressures to conceal.
Stigma Concealment and Social Avoidance Goals
Laura Richman, Micah Lattanner
People with concealed stigmatized identities can feel disconnected even within their close relationships. Rejection or fear of rejection due to stigma is among the factors that can motivate people to regulate their behavior by adopting avoidance-oriented social goals. People who conceal stigmas may be particularly likely to use such avoidance strategies to protect against rejection, embarrassment, or conflict. We propose a model of social self-regulation that describes how people with concealable stigmas are likely to adopt social avoidance goals, which predict increased relationship dissatisfaction and decreased well-being. Two mTurk experiments demonstrate support for our model. People who concealed their treatment for mental illness from others were more likely to endorse social avoidance motives in their close relationships as compared to those who were not concealing. Concealment was also related to negative expectations about future relationships. We discuss the consequences of adopting these interpersonal strategies on well-being.
The Intersection of Visible and Concealed Stigmatized Identities
Diane M. Quinn, Michelle K. Williams, Nicole M. Overstreet
University of Connecticut; Yale University
Historically, research on social stigma has focused on one stigmatized identity at a time, without consideration of how multiple stigmatized identities interact. We examine how experiences of discrimination based on a racial/ethnic minority identity might sensitize people to anticipate increased discrimination related to a second, concealed stigmatized identity. In a community sample of African American and Latino American adults who also possessed a concealed stigmatized identity (mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, or childhood abuse), we found that more experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination over the lifetime predicted increased anticipated stigma about the disclosure of the concealed stigmatized identity. Experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination predicted higher levels of both psychological distress and chronic illness but only the effect on psychological distress was mediated through increased anticipated stigma about the concealed identity. Understanding the full ramifications of social stigma requires more research into the interplay between concealed and visible stigmatized identities.
Sizing Each Other Up: Interpersonal Dynamics in Negotiations
Friday, February 14, 2014, 11:15 AM - 12:30 PM, Ballroom A
Daniel Ames, Columbia University
Negotiation is a dynamic social process that requires parties to calibrate their approach to shifting perceptions of their counterpart to achieve desired outcomes. This symposium examines how key behaviors and characteristics that influence negotiatorsâ€™ impressions of their counterparts sway the course of negotiation and produce lingering downstream effects.
Precise Offers Are Potent Anchors: Conciliatory Counteroffers and Attributions of Knowledge in Negotiations
Elizabeth Wiley, Malia Mason, Alice Lee, Daniel Ames
People habitually use round prices as first offers in negotiations. We test whether the specificity with which a first offer is expressed has appreciable effects on first-offer recipients' perceptions and strategic choices. Studies 1aâ€“d establish that first-offer recipients make greater counteroffer adjustments to round versus precise offers. Study 2 demonstrates this phenomenon in an interactive, strategic exchange. Study 3 shows that negotiators who make precise first offers are assumed to be more informed than negotiators who make round first offers and that this perception partially mediates the effect of first-offer precision on recipient adjustments. First-offer recipients appear to make assumptions about their counterpart's language choices and infer meanings that are not explicitly conveyed. Precise numerical expressions imply a greater level of knowledge than round expressions and are therefore assumed by recipients to be more informative of the true value of the good being negotiated.
Can â€˜Eating With the Enemyâ€™ Create Higher-Value Deals? Integrating Two Competing Perspectives on Food Sharing
Margaret Neale, Peter Belmi
Does sharing food during negotiation lead to higher value deals? Lay theories suggest two competing perspectives on this issue. One perspective -- largely based on a popular but untested cultural assumption -- suggests that sharing food has positive consequences in conflict and negotiation settings. A competing perspective, on the other hand, suggests that sharing food will lead to suboptimal outcomes because it will lead negotiators to overemphasize social relations. In this investigation, we propose a theoretical account that integrates these two divergent perspectives. Specifically, we propose that the effect of food sharing will depend on the nature of the negotiation: food sharing will be beneficial to value creation in competitive negotiations, but detrimental to value creation in cooperative negotiations. The hypothesis is predicated on the idea that food sharing can create or inhibit uncertainty depending on the nature of the negotiation. We report three studies that support this hypothesis.
Not All Anger is Created Equal: The Impact of the Expresserâ€™s Culture on the Social Effects of Anger in Negotiations
Hajo Adam, Aiwa Shirako
Rice University; New York University
The influence of culture on the social effects of emotions in negotiations has recently gained the attention of researchers, but to date this research has focused exclusively on the cultural background of the perceiver of the emotion expression. The current research offers the first investigation of how the cultural background of the expresser influences negotiation outcomes. On the basis of the stereotype that East Asians are emotionally inexpressive and European Americans are emotionally expressive, we predicted that anger will have a stronger signaling value when East Asians rather than European American negotiators express it. Specifically, we predicted that angry East Asian negotiators will be perceived as tougher and more threatening and therefore elicit greater cooperation from counterparts compared with angry European American negotiators. Results from 4 studies using different types of negotiation, different measures of negotiation outcomes, and different subject populations supported these predictions.
Oblivious Jerks: How Overly Assertive Individuals Sustain Unawareness
Abbie Suzanne. Wazlwek, Daniel Ames
Overly assertive individuals seem to barrel through life, often terrorizing innocent bystanders along their paths. Past research centers on the victims left strewn about on their trail of damage. Here, we take the perspective of over-assertive individuals and explore how critical feedback can (fail to) alert them to their inappropriate behavior. In real world negotiations, we found that over-assertive individuals suffer relational consequences but do not necessarily suffer immediate instrumental consequences; thus, their behavior persists without the sting of direct negative repercussions (Study 1). Turning to a controlled negotiation, we found that negotiators rarely give feedback to their over-assertive counterparts, even when provided opportunities to do so anonymously (Study 2). Evidence indicates that victims of over-assertiveness often believe that effort to provide feedback would be ineffectual (Study 3). Further, when over-assertive individuals are confronted with evidence of their inappropriateness, they are likely to dismiss it (Study 4).
Self-transcendence: The latest innovative research in awe, elevation, and admiration
Friday, February 14, 2014, 11:15 AM - 12:30 PM, Room 18 A/B
Paul Piff, University of California, Berkeley
Feelings of self-transcendence are among the most cherished human experiences. Defined as a dramatically reduced attention to the self, self-transcendence allows people to rise above stimulus-response patterns and lose themselves in all-encompassing events. Four talks detail cutting-edge research on the self-transcendent emotions of awe, elevation, and admiration.
Self-transcendence is all around us, except in the lab
New York University
Moral psychology has focused on a small portion of human experience, particularly responses to harm and unfairness. Yet from Saulâ€™s conversion on the road to Damascus, through William Jamesâ€™ Varieties of Religious Experience, alcoholics anonymous, and Timothy Learyâ€™s advice about psychedelic drugs, evidence of massive moral conversion via self-transcendence is all around us. In this talk Iâ€™ll describe the limited history of psychological research on self-transcendent emotions, and Iâ€™ll report what is known about the emotion of moral elevation. Self-transcendent emotions are hard to study in the lab, but they do have predictable effects on cognition and behavior. A new generation of researchers has found innovative ways to trigger and measure these effects. These effects include subjective well-being, enhanced learning, and increased prosocial behavior, suggesting that these emotions may have many beneficial real-world applications.
Beyond expectations: Subjective, physiological, and cognitive features of awe
Michelle N. Shiota
Arizona State University
Functional theories of emotions often emphasize their â€œselfishâ€ aspects â€“ the ways they focus attention on oneâ€™s current state, perspective, and goals. In contrast, functional definitions of awe emphasize its â€œselflessâ€ aspect â€“ directing awareness away from oneâ€™s expectations and immediate personal concerns. Four studies offer data supporting this analysis. Study 1 finds that prototypical awe experiences involve subjective self-diminishment, disengagement from daily concerns, and salience of something greater than the self. Study 2 documents a physiological response that may link awe to intake of information â€“reduction in beta-adrenergic influence on the heart, measured via cardiac pre-ejection period. Studies 3 and 4 suggest a subtle way in which awe promotes self-transcendence, suppressing the impact of internal knowledge structures (stereotypes, event schemas) when processing new stimuli. These findings suggest that awe takes us outside ourselves and away from day-to-day concerns, and helps us restructure the way we see the world.
Cognitive, behavioral and neural indicators of psychological distance in elevation and admiration
Simone Schnall, Gabriela Pavarini, Xiao-Fei Yang, Mary Helen. Immordino-Yang
University of Cambridge; University of Southern California
Witnessing exemplary actions triggers admiration for actions involving a special skill, or elevation for actions involving moral virtue. We analyzed indicators of distancing from the immediate environment in spontaneous verbal and nonverbal responses to narratives depicting skilled or virtuous others during an interview, and relations to individualsâ€™ neural activations when experiencing these emotions during subsequent fMRI. Compared to admiration, when experiencing moral elevation, participants exhibited fewer negative social comparisons between self and protagonist and more high-level construals. They spoke more slowly and were more likely to avert their gaze. Neurally, participants who had averted their gaze more frequently during elevation in the interview showed greater activation in core posterior regions of the brainâ€™s default network during elevation, thought to reflect engagement of inward-focused attention. No such relationship was found for admiration. These findings suggest that elevation increases psychological distance by turning attention inward and toward higher values.
Self-transcendent positive emotions increase spirituality
Patty Van Cappellen, Vassilis Saroglou, Barbara Fredrickson
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Université catholique de Louvain
Self-transcendent positive emotions (STPE) of awe, elevation, and admiration are elicited by perceptions of higher good and beauty. We investigated whether STPE would lead to increased spirituality. Spirituality reflects the belief in a higher power, infusing the world with unity and purpose in life. Across multiple studies and diverse samples, experimental inductions of awe, elevation, and admiration (via narrative recall or video clips) increased spiritual beliefs compared to amusement and a neutral condition. We identified two mediators of these effects: increased belief in the benevolence of others and meaning in life. We also investigated religiosity as a potential moderator of these effects and found that STPE increased spirituality even among less-religious individuals. In two follow-up studies, STPE caused highly religious people to endorse more religious related feelings and behavioral intentions. These studies indicate that experiences of self-transcendence promote positive beliefs about the world and increase inclinations toward spirituality.
The 25% of Dissonance Theory that Social Psychology Forgot: Group Identity Matters
Friday, February 14, 2014, 11:15 AM - 12:30 PM, Ballroom B/C
Deborah Hall, Arizona State University
Wendy Wood, University of Southern California
Festinger devoted one-fourth of his 1957 volume on cognitive dissonance to the ways in which social groups can elicit and alleviate dissonance, yet social psychology has focused almost exclusively on dissonance as an intrapersonal phenomenon. Building on theories of social identity, this symposium revisits group dissonance in its modern form.
Vicarious Hypocrisy: Dissonance Caused by Exposure to a Hypocritical Ingroup Member
Elizabeth S. Focella, Jeff Stone, Nicholas C. Fernandez
University of Missouri; University of Arizona
This research provides a link between vicarious hypocrisy and classic, individual-based dissonance phenomena. Across studies, observing an ingroup memberâ€™s hypocritical behavior elicited vicarious dissonance, which participants reduced by adopting the hypocriteâ€™s advice. Importantly, classic moderators and mediators of dissonance affected the vicarious hypocrisy process. In Experiment 1, witnessing the hypocrisy of a similar ingroup member about using sunscreen led to more positive attitudes toward sunscreen than witnessing the hypocrisy of an outgroup or dissimilar ingroup member. In Experiment 2, highly identified ingroup participants acquired a sample of sunscreen when the ingroup memberâ€™s hypocrisy was attributed to high, compared to low, choice. In Experiments 3 and 4, affirmation of oneâ€™s ingroup identity and misattribution of arousal attenuated the effect of vicarious hypocrisy on attitude bolstering and sunscreen acquisition, respectively. These studies indicate that vicarious hypocrisy is a novel social-identity based intervention for motivating health behavior that capitalizes on classic dissonance effects.
Dissonance in Groups Due to Attitudinal and Behavioral Disagreement
Blake M. McKimmie
The University of Queensland
One source of group-based dissonance is group disagreement, as when individual group members express personal opinions that conflict with group consensus. Group disagreement may also arise due to the behaviors of other group members. To test these two sources of disagreement, participants (N = 64) were informed that two ingroup members each agreed to write an essay either in support of, or against, full payment of tuition fees. Furthermore, the group membersâ€™ attitudes were described as the same or different from participantsâ€™ attitudes towards the topic. Participants had reduced levels of identification with the group when there was attitudinal disagreement, and showed polarized attitudes when there was behavioral disagreement. This suggested that participants engaged in downplaying the importance of the group membership and attitude bolstering to manage the dissonant cognitions introduced by the disagreement on both of these dimensions.
Crossing Party Lines: Identifying with Political Outgroups Creates Cognitive Dissonance
Deborah L. Hall, Wendy Wood
Arizona State University; University of Southern California
Political candidates try to engage a range of voters by accentuating their similarity to diverse audiences. Presidential campaigns thus provide a novel test of group dissonance in which voters from one political group may feel similar to the leader of the rival political party. The present research tested this dissonance model during two Presidential elections. In 2008, Republican voters who watched a rousing speech by then-Democratic candidate, Obama, reported greater dissonance-related affect when they experienced greater similarity to Obama. In 2012, Democratic voters reported greater dissonance affect when experimentally induced to feel similar (versus dissimilar) to then-Republican nominee, Mitt Romney. These findings demonstrate that similarity to the negative reference standard provided by outgroups can elicit the feelings of psychological threat that accompany cognitive dissonance, highlighting a dilemma faced by politicians who seek to appeal to voters by accentuating basic similarities that transcend party lines.
Vicarious Dissonance and the Meaning of Group Membership
How can group members resolve dissonance caused by observing the behavior of fellow group members? A group-based dissonance perspective (Cooper & Hogg, 2007) highlights novel avenues for dissonance reduction. Two studies tested whether vicarious dissonance can be resolved not only through intrapersonal processes but also through group dynamics. Vicarious dissonance reflects important social identities, when individuals identify with fellow group members who are in the throes of dissonance-producing behavior. In the studies, the dissonant experience of observing fellow group members consume unhealthy food motivated some participants to change their personal attitudes toward eating healthier. However, other participants resolved the dissonance by redrawing group boundaries to exclude the member who acted inconsistently. Thus, the psychological definition of group membership was subject to participantsâ€™ experience of cognitive dissonance.
Cumulative Consequences: The Link Between Life Course Processes and Intervention Processes
Friday, February 14, 2014, 11:15 AM - 12:30 PM, Room 18 C/D
Kody Manke, Stanford University
Geoffrey Cohen, Stanford University
Psychological and social processes interact to shape life course trajectories, helping explain how social experiences have lasting effects. Laboratory, longitudinal, and intervention studies suggest that reciprocally reinforcing interactions between these systems result in â€œcycles of adaptive potential.â€ We discuss how to leverage these cycles to propagate adaptive outcomes over time.
Reinforcing the Soft Spots of Social Identity
Kevin R. Binning, David K. Sherman, Geoffrey L. Cohen
UCLA; UCSB; Stanford University
When valued social identities become salient, they can create a vulnerable spot on the self-concept - much like a weak spot on a bicycle inner-tube - that people actively protect and defend. For example, people may conform to group norms and ignore information that reflects poorly on the group. Or they may disengage from academic pursuits because of worry about confirming negative ingroup stereotypes. The presence of social identity soft spots is revealed in a series of studies employing a global self-affirmation manipulation designed to bolster the self-concept against external threats. Self-affirmation appeared to reinforce the self from within, making Americans less likely to conform to ingroup norms (Studies 1-2) and the academic performance of Latino American students less vulnerable to stereotype threat (Studies 3-4). These effects persisted over days, months, and years, suggesting that reinforcing the self-concept can initiate processes that strengthen identity soft spots over time.
Stereotype Threat Perseverance: A Single Experience with Stigmatization Can Have Persistent Effects
Kody J. Manke, Geoffrey L. Cohen
How do threatening experiences affect the trajectory of an individual over time? Female participants took either a threatening (math) or non-threatening (verbal) test. The females in the threat condition showed decreased performance on a math test a week later, as well as decreased identification with math and with their gender group, compared to their non-threatened peers. In follow-up studies, results revealed that both subtle threats (reporting gender before a math test) and overt threats (reading an article about the existence of gender differences in math ability) yielded similar results, even though participants were debriefed. Furthermore, a one-year follow-up study suggested that these effects persisted, even outside of the lab. Together, these results suggest that even single instantiations of threat can have lasting consequences. In turn, these negative consequences may change an individualâ€™s trajectory. The implications for how individuals respond to threat are discussed.
Reconceptualizing Agency within the Life Course: The Power of Looking Ahead
Steven Hitlin, Monica Kirkpatrick Johnson
University of Iowa; Washington State University
Empirical treatments of agency have not caught up with theoretical explication; empirical projects almost always focus on concurrent beliefs about oneâ€™s ability to act successfully. We suggest that understanding the modern life course necessitates a multi-dimensional understanding of agency involving a) perceived capacities and b) perceived life-chances. We also suggest that a proper understanding of agencyâ€™s potential power within a life course necessitates moving beyond domain-specific expectations. Utilizing the Youth Development Study (YDS), we employ a scale of general life expectations in adolescence to explore the potential influence of a general sense of optimistic life-expectations in addition to the traditional agency-as-efficacy approach on a range of important outcomes. Possessing more agency, properly understood, influences mental health trajectories in positive ways, and accentuates occupational success trajectories, across the transition to adulthood.
Beliefs About Change: How Emotion and Intelligence Beliefs Predict Important Academic and Emotional Trajectories
Carissa Romero, Allison Master, Dave Paunesku, James J. Gross, Carol S. Dweck
Stanford University; University of Washington
Adolescents face many academic and emotional challenges in middle school, but notable differences are evident in how well they adapt. What predicts adolescentsâ€™ academic and emotional trajectories during this period? One important factor might be adolescentsâ€™ beliefs about the potential for changeâ€”specifically whether they believe intelligence and emotions can be changed. The current study examines how these beliefs affect academic and affective outcomes over time. One hundred fifteen students from a diverse school completed surveys throughout middle school, and their grades and course selections were obtained from school records. Students who believed that intelligence could be changed were more likely to move to advanced math courses over time. Students with lower well-being at the beginning of middle school who believed that emotions could be changed were more likely to show greater well-being over time. These findings illustrate the power of adolescentsâ€™ beliefs and how their effects unfold over time.
The Devil Is in the Details: Revealing the Complexities of the Relationship Between Parenthood and Well-Being
Friday, February 14, 2014, 11:15 AM - 12:30 PM, Room 6
Kostadin Kushlev, University of British Columbia
Katherine Nelson, University of California, Riverside
Is parenthood related to higher well-being? Any yes or no answer is likely to be overly simplistic and ignore the more interesting question of when parenthood is related to higher well-being. In this symposium, we demonstrate that parentsâ€™ well-being depends on demographic, psychological, and methodological factors.
Parenthood Unpacked: When, Why, and How Is Parenthood Associated With Well-Being?
S. Katherine Nelson, Sonja Lyubomirsky
University of California, Riverside
Past research on the association between parenthood and well-being has been mixed: Some studies suggest that parents experience a well-being benefit, while others suggest the reverse. To reconcile these conflicting findings and better understand the emotional experience of parenthood, we developed a model of parentsâ€™ well-being, which highlights how and why parents experience more happiness (e.g., via greater purpose) or less happiness (e.g., via increased financial strain) than nonparents (i.e., mediators of the parenthood to well-being link), as well as when parents experience more or less happiness (i.e., moderators). In 3 studies using 3 different methodologies, we provide evidence that parenthood is associated with greater well-being: Parents experience greater happiness and satisfaction overall, more positive emotions and meaning in their daily lives, and more positive emotions and meaning when spending time with their children. Furthermore, these studies demonstrate that parentsâ€™ well-being is moderated by marital status, gender, and age.
Using Panel Data to Estimate the Effect of Childbirth on Parents' Life Satisfaction
Richard E. Lucas, Ivana Anusic, Stevie Yap, Gunvor Marie. Dyrdal
Michigan State University; University of Oslo
We use longitudinal data from four nationally representative panel studies (from Germany, the U.K., Switzerland, and Australia) to investigate whether parent's life satisfaction changes following the birth of their first child and whether characteristics of the parents moderate these changes. In all four studies, participants reported a boost in life satisfaction around the time their first child was born, but the effect was neither large nor long-lasting. In one of the four studies, there was no lasting difference from baseline levels in the years after the birth of a child and in the other three studies the effect was negative. However, follow-up analyses with matched controls showed that observed declines in satisfaction are likely due to normative effects of aging rather than to the event itself. Overall, the effects of childbirth on long-term levels life satisfaction appear to be small.
Parental Caregiving Goals Shape Well-Being and the Quality of the Parentâ€“Child Bond
Emily A. Impett, Bonnie Le
University of Toronto
The nature of the parentâ€“child relationshipâ€”especially in its earliest yearsâ€”entails unilateral caregiving from parents to their children. We developed a scale to measure parentsâ€™ goals for providing care for their children, and then used this scale in 10-day daily experience study of 85 parents of 4- and 8-year old children. On days when parents cared for children to express love and provide them with security, they experienced increased daily positive emotions and closeness. In contrast, on days when parents provided care out of self-conscious concerns that others would perceive them as good parents, they experienced less positive emotion and closeness; and when they provided care to gain their childâ€™s acceptance, they felt less closeness and experienced more conflict with their children. The results show that the motivation with which parents approach caregiving plays a critical role in shaping well-being and the quality of the parentâ€“child bond.
Money Impoverishes Parental Experience
Kostadin Kushlev, Elizabeth W. Dunn, Claire Ashton-James
University of British Columbia; VU University Amsterdam
Money is undoubtedly interconnected with peopleâ€™s psychological functioningâ€”not only through the effects of having money, but also through the goals associated with money. We show that having money and simply activating the concept of money both compromised a main benefit of childrenâ€”subjective sense of meaning in life. In Study 1, socioeconomic status (SES) was related to experiencing less meaning when parents were taking care of their children but not during the rest of the day. In Study 2, priming the concept of money compromised parentsâ€™ sense of meaning while they were spending time with their children at a festival. Finally, Study 3 suggested that this latter effect may be due to the conflict between the agentic goals activated by money and the communal nature of childcare. Study 3 also showed that the effect of money priming on meaning is moderated by gender with a stronger effect for mothers.
Symposium Session C
Special Session: Psychology in Action
Friday, February 14, 2014, 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM, Ballroom D
Cheryl Kaiser, University of Washington
Eli Finkel, Northwestern University
Four short talks with big ideas about the latest research on connections between people and space, myths about meaning in life, love, and more, featuring personality and social psychologists Roy Baumeister, Sam Gosling, Laura King, and Barbara Fredrickson.
Putting Personality in its Place: Exploring the Connections Between People and Space
Samuel D. Gosling
University of Texas
The Reality of the Social: Of Molecules, Money, and Meaning
Roy F. Baumeister
Florida State University
Barbara L. Fredrickson
University of North Carolina
Your Life is Probably Pretty Meaningful: Five Myths About Meaning in Life
Laura A. King
University of Missouri
The Role of Social and Economic Interdependence in Responses to Social Exclusion
Friday, February 14, 2014, 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM, Ballroom G
Ayse Uskul, University of Kent
This symposium examines the role of social and economic interdependence in psychological, physiological and neural responses induced by social exclusion. Presenting research from across and within cultures, the papers demonstrate that interdependence can buffer or exacerbate the negative consequences of social exclusion and increase empathy for close others' social exclusion.
The Interdependent Self as a Buffer of Social Exclusion
Megan Knowles, Wendi Gardner
Franklin & Marshall College; Northwestern University
Interdependent self-construals include relationships and group memberships as part of the self-concept, and as such may serve as a chronic reminder of one's social ties. Five studies examined whether an accessible interdependent self-construal could buffer the negative consequences of exclusion. Indeed, participants who accessed interdependent self-descriptors were protected from the negative emotional effects of rejection, but not failure (Study 1). Similarly, individual differences on the Self-Construal Scale (Singelis, 1994) moderated exclusion-induced cognitive deficits (Study 2) and aggressive tendencies (Study 3). Buffering appeared due to the implicit activation of the social self. This activation appeared automatically in response to rejection (Study 4), mediated self-construal's effect on self-esteem (Study 4), and, when blocked by priming, eliminated the protective effects of chronic interdependence (Study 5). Altogether, these studies imply that a highly interdependent self-construal imparts a wealth of implicit social ties that may replenish a sense of connection in times of social need.
Protected by Collectivism - Culture and Social Exclusion
Michaela Pfundmair, Nilüfer Aydin, Verena Graupmann, Dieter Frey
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München; DePaul University
The current studies examined whether and how the experience of social exclusion is moderated by cultural background. In Studies 1 and 2, we compared German and Chinese participants' psychological and physiological reactions after social exclusion, investigating the level of need fulfillment and heart rate during a scenario task and Cyberball. We found that participants with collectivistic background, compared to those with individualistic background, were less negatively affected by social exclusion. In Studies 3 and 4, we investigated possible explanatory mechanisms. In a scenario task, we found that differences in the experience of social exclusion between German and Chinese participants were related to different threat perception but not to different implicit social representations. Moreover, we showed that collectivistic participants positively distorted reality when playing Cyberball with a friend (in-group) but not when playing it with a stranger (out-group). The findings indicate that orientation towards others can be beneficial in the face of threat.
The Role of Economic Interdependence in Responses to Social Exclusion among Farmers and Herders
Ayse Uskul, Harriet Over
University of Kent; University of York
Who matters to individuals' survival is powerfully shaped by economic affordances, which in turn can influence how individuals react and respond to social exclusion by those who matter more or less. Four studies investigated the role of economic structures (farming vs. herding) and source of exclusion (close other vs. stranger) in social exclusion experiences. In a recall (Study 1) and a scenario task (Study 2), herders were more strongly affected by exclusion from strangers whereas the psychological consequences of exclusion by close others were similar for farmers and herders. Furthermore, herders recommended more affiliative responses to ostracism by strangers both to those who ostracized (Study 3) and to naive individuals and that the amount of time spent with strangers mediated these group differences (Study 4). Taken together, these results demonstrate that the economic systems shape how individuals interact with others and that this, in turn, can shape their sensitivity and responses to social exclusion.
Interdependent self-construal reduces empathy gaps for close-others' social exclusion: Evidence from a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study in Chinese nationals
Meghan Meyer, Naomi I. Eisenberger, Shihui Han
University of California, Los Angeles; 2PKU-IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Peking University
Empathy gaps (i.e., reduced empathy) for social exclusion prevail, in part, because others' social experiences are perceived as separate from the self. Interestingly, individuals from collectivistic cultures tend to incorporate close-others into self-concepts (i.e., interdependent self-construal). Thus, interdependent self-construal may attenuate empathy gaps for close-others' exclusion. To examine this possibility, Chinese nationals with strong interdependent self-construals underwent fMRI scanning while observing close-others' (friends) and non close-others' (strangers) social exclusion. Consistent with our prediction, participants reported more empathy for friends' versus strangers' exclusion. Neurally, friends' exclusion (independent of- and relative to- strangers' exclusion) activated brain regions associated with the affective distress associated with firsthand social exclusion (dACC/insula) as well as thinking about the self (MPFC), and activation in these regions was functionally coupled and correlated with participants' trait interdependent self-construal. We suggest that interdependent self-construal may close empathy gaps for close-others' social exclusion via communication between self-processing and affective brain mechanisms.
Power from Top to Bottom: How the Sense of Power Affects Judgment at the Levels of Culture, Self, Physical Environment, and Emotion
Friday, February 14, 2014, 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM, Ballroom E/F
Erica Beall, University of Southern California
Jesse Graham, University of Southern California
Though power is a relational social construct, the subjective experience associated with power has a psychological life of its own, arising and operating independently of explicit asymmetric social dynamics. This symposium explores the full range of powerâ€™s deep integration into human thought and behavior, from culture, to physiology and emotion.
Stand Tall, But Donâ€™t Put Your Feet Up: Universal and Culturally-Specific Effects of Expansive Postures
Lora E. Park, Lindsey Streamer, Li Huang, Adam Galinsky
University at Buffalo, SUNY; INSEAD, France; Columbia University
There is a fundamental link between expansive body postures and power. The current research suggests that this link depends on peopleâ€™s cultural background, and on the specific type of posture enacted. Three expansive postures were examined in the present studies: the expansive-hands-spread-on-desk pose, the expansive-upright-sitting pose, and expansive-feet-on-desk pose. Of these postures, the expansive-feet-on-desk pose was universally perceived as the least consistent with East Asian norms of modesty, humility, and restraint. The expansive-hands-spread-on-desk and expansive-upright-sitting postures led to greater sense of power than constricted postures for both Americans and East Asians. In contrast, the expansive-feet-on-desk pose led to greater explicit and implicit power activation and riskier decision-making for Americans, but not for East Asians. Together, these findings suggest that the accessibility of power-related constructs and associated judgments are influenced by the type of posture and the symbolic meaning of that posture.
Power and Reduced Temporal Discounting
Nathanael Fast, Priyanka Joshi
University of Southern California
Decision makers generally feel disconnected from their future selves, an experience that leads them to prefer smaller immediate gains to larger future gains. This pervasive tendency is known as temporal discounting. Drawing from recent advances in the power literature, we suggest that the experience of power enhances oneâ€™s connection with the future self, resulting in reduced temporal discounting. In Study 1, we show that participants assigned to high-power roles are less likely than others to display temporal discounting. In Studies 2 and 3, we find that priming power reduces temporal discounting in monetary and non-monetary tasks and, further, that connection with the future self mediates the relationship between power and reduced discounting. In Study 4, we show that experiencing a general sense of power in the workplace predicts actual lifetime savings. Implications and future research directions are discussed.
The Ergonomics of Power and Dishonesty
Andy J. Yap, Abbie S. Wazlawek, Brian J. Lucas, Amy J. C. Cuddy, Dana R. Carney
Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Columbia University; Northwestern University; Harvard University; University of California, Berkeley
Research in environmental sciences has found that the ergonomic design of human-made environments influences thought, feeling and action. Here, we examine the impact of physical environments on dishonest behavior. Four studies tested whether certain bodily configurationsâ€”or posturesâ€”incidentally imposed by our environment lead to increases in dishonest behavior. The first three experiments found that individuals who engaged in expansive postures (either explicitly or inadvertently) were more likely to steal money, cheat on a test, and commit traffic violations in a driving simulation. Results suggested that participantsâ€™ self-reported sense of power mediated the link between postural expansiveness and dishonesty. Study 4 revealed that automobiles with more expansive driversâ€™ seats were more likely to be illegally parked on New York City streets. Taken together, results suggest that: (1) environments that expand the body can inadvertently lead us to feel more powerful, and (2) these feelings of power can cause dishonest behavior.
Powerful Guts: How Power Limits the Role of Disgust in Moral Judgments
Erica M. Beall, Jesse Graham
University of Southern California
Power and disgust both affect the psychological processes involved in moral judgment, and yet little is known about how these two factors interact - in a moral context, or otherwise. In three studies, we explore the relationship between power and disgust, and investigate the consequences of this relationship for moral judgments. We find that trait-level power and disgust sensitivity are negatively correlated, and that an experimentally induced sense of power attenuates moral judgments of disgusting taboo violations. Additionally, we present evidence that power decreases individuals' sensitivity to the actual experience of disgust without affecting the extent to which they identify and categorize objects, behaviors, and people as â€œdisgusting.â€ On the whole, this buffering effect of power against the visceral experience of disgust supports the Approach Theoryâ€™s claim that power engages the BAS and suppresses the BIS.
The Role of Ability Beliefs in Academic Gender Gaps
Friday, February 14, 2014, 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM, Room 17
Sarah-Jane Leslie, Princeton University
Andrei Cimpian, University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign
Academic gender gaps are widespread, but not well understood. This symposium presents interdisciplinary findings that converge on the significance of ability beliefs in explaining these gaps. Across a range of contexts, males and females are differentially impacted by the extent to which innate talent vs. effort is perceived as important.
Effort and Ability Based Forms of Belonging Predict Learning Engagement Differently for Males and Females in Math
Catherine Good, Jennifer Mangels, Laura Deering
Baruch College, CUNY
Sense of belonging (SOB) is an important factor in femalesâ€™ achievement and representation in STEM. However, the foundations of that belongingâ€”either oneâ€™s efforts or oneâ€™s innate abilityâ€”may predict differential outcomes, especially in a learning paradigm. A model is presented that tests the relationship between effort-based SOB, ability-based (SOB), and engagement with a math learning task for males and females. Results indicated that for females, ability-based SOB predicted less learning engagement whereas effort-based SOB predicted more learning engagement. Alternately, for males the pattern reversed: ability-based SOB predicted more learning engagement whereas effort-based SOB predicted less learning engagement. Results suggest that the culture of talent in mathematics may influence the impact of differential foundations of belonging in gender-stereotypic ways. Because femalesâ€™ learning engagement benefits from a strong sense of belonging that is rooted in effort, educators should foster effort-based SOB to reduce gender gaps in STEM.
Gender Gaps in Academia: The Role of Discipline Specific Beliefs about What is Required for Success
Sarah-Jane Leslie, Andrei Cimpian, Meredith Meyer
Princeton University; University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign; Otterbein University
The gender imbalance in STEM subjects dominates current debates about womenâ€™s underrepresentation in academia. In reality, however, the pattern of womenâ€™s involvement is much more complex, with women being well-represented in some sciences and poorly represented in some humanities (e.g., in 2011, 54% of US PhDs in molecular biology were women vs. only 31% in philosophy). We introduce the Field-specific Ability Beliefs hypothesis, which explains this complex pattern of female representation across academia: Women are underrepresented in fields whose practitioners believe that raw intellectual talent, rather than effort, is the main requirement for success in those fields. Results from a nation-wide survey of academics from 30 disciplines (N = 1820) revealed that, as predicted, the more a field valued â€œgiftednessâ€ over dedication, the fewer women obtained PhDs in that field. This result held even when controlling for a number of other factors that have been hypothesized to predict gender gaps.
Experimental and Developmental Evidence for the Field-specific Ability Beliefs Hypothesis
Andrei Cimpian, Lin Bian, Sarah-Jane Leslie
University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign; Princeton University
Since current cultural stereotypes suggest that women are less likely than men to possess raw intellectual talent (e.g., Kirkcaldy et al., 2007), women may find disciplines or environments that portray success as requiring such talent to be unwelcoming. In this talk, we will present experimental evidence for this hypothesis (termed the Field-specific Ability Beliefs hypothesis). In three studies, we introduced adults to a variety of novel activities and manipulated what was said to be required for success (brilliance vs. dedication). As predicted, although no gender differences were found for the activities said to require effort and dedication, women held more negative attitudes towards the activities portrayed as requiring raw ability. The same pattern of results was found in 6- and 7-year-olds, suggesting that the roots of this phenomenon stretch deep into childhood. More broadly, these findings may provide insight into the causes of womenâ€™s underrepresentation in certain sectors of academia.
Teachersâ€™ perceptions of studentsâ€™ mathematics proficiency may exacerbate early gender gaps in achievement
Joseph P. Robinson, Sarah T. Lubienski, Colleen M. Ganley, Yasemin Copur-Gencturk
University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign; Florida State University; Rice University
Recent research suggests that teachers overrate the performance of girls relative to boys and hold more positive attitudes towards girlsâ€™ mathematics abilities. However, these prior estimates of teachersâ€™ supposed female bias are potentially misleading because these estimates (and teachers themselves) confound achievement with teachersâ€™ perceptions of behavior and effort. Using nationally representative data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 (ECLS-K), Study 1 demonstrates that teachers actually rate boysâ€™ mathematics proficiency higher than that of girls who perform and behave similarly to the boys. Study 2 uses causal mediation analyses to explore the extent to which this conditional underrating of girls explains the widening gender gap in mathematics in early elementary school. We find robust evidence suggesting that underrating girlsâ€™ mathematics proficiency accounts for a substantial portion of the development of the mathematics achievement gap between similarly performing and behaving boys and girls in the early grades.
Lessons for Social and Personality Psychology from Clinical Psychology
Friday, February 14, 2014, 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM, Room 9
Jonathan Adler, Olin College of Engineering
This symposium is designed to demonstrate the applicability of key methodological approaches and analytical techniques from clinical psychology that may be unfamiliar but highly useful for research in social and personality psychology. The four talks provide a range of novel practices that promise to advance personality and social psychological research.
Change Can Be Spike-y â€“ and You Can Measure That
Jonathan M. Adler, Luke H. Harmeling, Ilana Walder-Biesanz
Olin College of Engineering; Bates College
Actual change over time often does not follow neat lines; it has spikes that may be meaningful. Psychotherapy researchers are interested in the phenomenon of â€œsudden gainsâ€ (SGs), episodes when clients make dramatic improvements, and they have developed a set of analytical techniques for quantifying these SGs. This talk will describe a new study that extends the SGs literature into a naturalistic sample, using a broad measure of well-being. It is the first to identify specific narrative meaning-making variables that precede SGs. 54 clients completed measures of well-being and wrote private narratives prior to their first session of treatment and in-between every session. SGs analyses extended findings from previous studies to this naturalistic setting. Further analyses revealed two narrative characteristics â€“ depth of processing and high narrative coherence â€“ as significant precursors to SGs in well-being. The applicability of these methods for social and personality research with longitudinal data will be emphasized.
Accelerated Science at the Interface of Personality, Social, and Clinical Psychology: A Lesson from Social Neuroendocrinology and Externalizing Psychopathology
Jennifer L. Tackett, Kathrin Herzhoff, Kathleen W. Reardon, Robert A. Josephs
University of Houston; University of Texas at Austin
Interactive effects of gonadal (e.g., testosterone) and stress (e.g., cortisol) hormones have emerged as a robust mechanism underlying normal-range social dominance, power, and competitiveness. These effects have occasionally replicated for clinical externalizing phenotypes (such as aggression), although only in all-male clinical samples. In a series of recent studies, we aimed to link these literatures by employing the broad, normally distributed psychological space captured by personality traits. In a mixed-gender, community sample of adolescents (N = 106, ages 13-18), we demonstrate that personality trait moderation elucidates: 1) differential risk and resiliency effects for testosterone on externalizing problems, 2) testosterone × cortisol associations with externalizing problems, and 3) estradiol × cortisol associations with externalizing problems. In all of these studies, inattention to personality trait moderation results in overall null findings, suggesting that an integration of these three domains of psychological science substantially enhances our understanding of hormonal mechanisms underlying socially dominant phenotypes.
Coping Can be About More Than Just You and I â€“ And Words Can Reveal It
Kelly E. Rentscher, Michael J. Rohrbaugh, Varda Shoham, Matthias R. Mehl
University of Arizona
This presentation highlights the potential that communal coping, a clinical construct, has for going beyond the individual in social and personality research. Communal coping â€“ a relational process in which partners view a problem as ours rather than yours or mine, and take we-based action to address it (Lyons et al., 1998) â€“ has emerged as an important predictor of relationships and health. Several studies have also linked couplesâ€™ first-person plural pronoun use (we-talk), as a potential linguistic marker of communal coping, with adaptive relationship and health functioning. We present findings from two couple-focused intervention studies that aimed to promote communal coping with health problems, in which pre-treatment we-talk and change in we-talk over the course of intervention predicted favorable patient health outcomes. These findings strengthen the construct validity of measuring communal coping through couplesâ€™ language use and identify communal coping as an important potential mechanism through which relationships influence health outcomes.
Personality Pathology is an Important Part of the Link between Personality and Health.
Thomas F. Oltmanns, Marci E.J. Gleason, Yana Weinstein, Steve Balsis
Washington University in St. Louis; University of Texas at Austin; University of Massachusetts at Lowell; Texas A&M University
Most studies linking personality to health have focused on the adaptive range of personality traits. Findings from our study indicate clearly that personality pathology accounts for additional variance in health behaviors, subjective ratings of health, the presence of specific diseases, the frequency of stressful life events, and levels of social integration that is not explained by a normal range measure. The total proportion of variance explained by personality variables is substantial. In this talk, we will separate the proportion of variance uniquely associated with normal range personality traits (combining self and informant NEO-PI-R scores) so that it can be compared to the proportion of variance uniquely associated with maladaptive variants of personality (combining self and informant questionnaires focused on features of personality disorder as well as a diagnostic interview). In almost each instance, measures of personality pathology account for more variance than measures of normal range personality traits.
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Self-Affirmation But Were Afraid to Ask: How Does it Work? Is it Always Good? And Why Should I Care?
Friday, February 14, 2014, 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM, Room 18 A/B
Kathleen Vohs, University of Minnesota
Brandon Schmeichel, Texas A&M Univ
This symposium highlights fresh new developments in self-affirmation. Park reports that self-affirmation is the first known antidote to moneyâ€™s negative consequences. Klein found that self-affirmed persons make better plans for the future. Critcher reveals that self-affirmation puts threats into perspective. Schmeichel found, surprisingly, that self-affirmation produces goal disengagement.
Self-Affirmation Has the Power to Offset the Harmful Effects of Money Reminders
Kathleen Vohs, Ji Kyung. Park
University of Minnesota; University of Delaware
Research has shown that money reminders encourage the pursuit of personal goals and separateness from others, which ultimately detracts from the interpersonal self. Three behavioral experiments replicated self-sufficiency effects and then showed that self-affirmation has the power to negate those deleterious effects. Experiment 1 showed that participants primed with money donated less to charity â€“ unless they were self-affirmed, raising their donations to the level of nonmoney-primed participants. Money-primed participants who were self-affirmed were also more likely than their counterparts to ask for help on difficult tasks. Experiment 2 showed that self-affirmation eliminated the tendency for money-primed participants to favor solo instead of joint experiences. Experiment 3 showed that self-affirmation made the (normal) sting of social rejection return among money-primed participants who normally report feeling numb to ostracism. In summary, self-affirmation is the first known process to eliminate moneyâ€™s deleterious effects on the personal and interpersonal self.
Implementation Intentions Are a Key to Why and How Self-Affirmation So Effectively Changes Behavior
William Klein, Peter Harris, Rebecca Ferrer
NIH; University of Sussex
Self-affirmation is powerfully effective in promoting adaptive behavior change in response to threatening messages about personal risk. Three studies tested why self-affirmation produces success, and we posited that it promotes the development of specific plans (implementation intentions). In Experiments 1-2, female undergraduate students who drink alcohol read an article linking alcohol to breast cancer risk. If they were self-affirmed beforehand, they created more specific steps to reduce consumption relative to non-affirmed students (e.g., fewer beverages at parties). Experiment 3 crossed self-affirmation with an opportunity to form implementation intentions after learning the importance of fruit and vegetable consumption. We assessed participants 7 days later and found that participants in the condition combining self-affirmation and implementation intentions reported the highest fruit/vegetable consumption. This work provides two core contributions â€“ uncovering a process (self-affirmation) that naturally stimulates implementation intentions and a key reason for self-affirmationâ€™s powerful effects â€” through stimulating implementation intentions.
The Affirmation-as-Perspective Model
Clayton Critcher, David Dunning
UC Berkeley; Cornell University
We present an â€œaffirmation-as-perspectiveâ€ model that demonstrates how self-affirmation alleviates self-threat. Four experiments found support for the model across four threat domains: health, intellectual, personality, and academic. Experiment 1 found threatened identities become hyperaccessible in the self-concept, thereby exaggerating the experience and perceived scope of the threat. Experiment 2 showed that self-affirmations allow threatened people to gain perspective. Under threat, feelings of self-worth were heavily determined by participantsâ€™ poor self-assessment in the threatened domain. Yet following affirmation, situational feelings of self-worth were restored to match participantsâ€™ broader dispositional self-esteem. Experiment 3 showed that affirmed individuals reported that the threat tainted only a narrow part of the self; this broadened perspective statistically accounted for lowered defensiveness. Experiment 4 orthogonally manipulated both perspective and self-affirmation, finding that perspective likely explains why self-affirmation reduces defensiveness. The affirmation-as-perspective model also helps resolve several lingering mysteries in the self-affirmation literature.
Novel and Surprising Effects of Self-Affirmation on Goal Disengagement and Approach Motivation
Brandon Schmeichel, Kathleen Vohs, Adrienne Crowell
Texas A&M University; University of Minnesota
Self-affirmation changes how people respond to ego threats and other aversive experiences. The current data reveal novel and surprising effects of self-affirmation in response to failure and to positive emotional events, respectively. A first set of three experiments found that, in situations that involve repeated failure, affirmed individuals disengage from goal pursuit more readily than do others. Mediation findings indicated that affirmed persons internalize the implications of failure and lose motivation toward the goal. Building on these findings, a second pair of experiments yielded another surprising effect â€” that self-affirmed persons exhibit reduced approach motivation. Specifically, they respond less intensely (on self-reports and physiological measures) to positive emotional stimuli than do non-affirmed persons. These findings shed new light on what self-affirmation does by suggesting that it increases the impact of negative events and reduces the impact of positive ones.
Symposium Session D
Friday, February 14, 2014, 3:30 PM - 4:45 PM, Ballroom D
Expanding Social and Personality Psychology in Departments, Universities, and within SPSP
James Pennebaker, President
Science is changing. Grants, glory, and the most novel ideas are no longer found at the center of a discipline. Rather, the real advancements are at the fringes or in the interstitial spaces between fields. It is not surprising, then, that some of the most innovative social and personality psychology is being conducted by computer scientists and researchers in medical and business schools, communication departments, and the private sector such as Google. Rather than cower in fear or demand a return to the good old days, we should explore these new directions. Implications of adopting a 21st century definition of social and personality psychology will be discussed in thinking about psychology departments, universities, and even SPSP.
On the Importance of Social Context: Expanding Our View
Friday, February 14, 2014, 3:30 PM - 4:45 PM, Room 17
Amy Canevello, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Although social psychology focuses on context, some argue that theory and research often overlooks broad contextual factors. We discuss how the larger social and relational context influences basic social psychological phenomena. These talks stress the importance of considering seemingly distal contextual and relational factors when investigating basic social psychological processes.
Relational Context Shapes Emotional Lives (and Vice Versa)
Margaret S. Clark
In this talk cases are made that: a) relational context is a powerful determinant of emotional expression and, in turn, b) emotional expression is a powerful determinant of relational context. â€œBasicâ€ emotions such as fear, sadness, and happiness convey information about needs and desires. Therefore they are expressed (and even amplified), elicit support and grow relationships when responsive relationships are expected and desired or exist. They are suppressed otherwise. Moreover, emotions that have been considered â€œsocial, moral, or secondaryâ€ such as embarrassment, hurt, and gratitude only occur in relational context and, when they do, they serve to initiate, grow and repair close relationships. Although considerable data exist (and will be efficiently presented) supporting these points, it will be noted that the vast majority of emotion research remains individualistic, fails to take relational context into account, and, therefore, fail to capture the nature of peopleâ€™s emotional lives.
You Give Me Strength: The Self-Control Benefits of Having a Partner with High Self-Control
Catrin Finkenauer, Tila M. Pronk, Asuman Buyukcan-Tetik
Self-control helps partners to successfully protect and maintain their relationship. Do partners influence each otherâ€™s level of self-control over the course of a romantic relationship? We hypothesized that self-control strengthens over time, but only when oneâ€™s partner possesses high self-control. We tested this prediction in a longitudinal study among 199 first-marriage newlywed couples, using a multilevel growth curve analysis. Results showed a significant interaction between time and partner self-control in predicting the development of self-control. Specifically, self-control increased over the four years after marriage, but only for participants whose partner had a relatively high level of self-control. When the level of self-control of the partner was relatively low, self-control remained stable over time. Having a partner with a high level of self-control can thus have a beneficial effect on oneâ€™s own level of self-control, which may in turn help one become a better relationship partner.
The Context Surrounding Romantic Evaluations: Research Paradigm Matters
Paul W. Eastwick
University of Texas at Austin
Do the sexes differ in the extent to which they desire physical attractiveness and earning prospects in a romantic partner? New research suggests that the answer may depend on the research paradigm (Eastwick, Luchies, Finkel, & Hunt, in press, Psychological Bulletin). These two sex differences emerge consistently when people evaluate hypothetical opposite-sex targets. Yet evidence for these sex differences has been more equivocal in paradigms where participants repo