[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Self-control is critical for achievement and well-being. However, people's capacity for self-control is limited and becomes depleted through use. One prominent explanation for this depletion posits that self-control consumes energy through carbohydrate metabolization, which further suggests that ingesting carbohydrates improves self-control. Some evidence has supported this energy model, but because of its broad implications for efforts to improve self-control, we reevaluated the role of carbohydrates in self-control processes. In four experiments, we found that (a) exerting self-control did not increase carbohydrate metabolization, as assessed with highly precise measurements of blood glucose levels under carefully standardized conditions; (b) rinsing one's mouth with, but not ingesting, carbohydrate solutions immediately bolstered self-control; and (c) carbohydrate rinsing did not increase blood glucose. These findings challenge metabolic explanations for the role of carbohydrates in self-control depletion; we therefore propose an alternative motivational model for these and other previously observed effects of carbohydrates on self-control.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Psychologists are increasingly interested in embodiment based on the assumption that thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are grounded in bodily interaction with the environment. We examine how embodiment is used in social psychology, and we explore the ways in which embodied approaches enrich traditional theories. Although research in this area is burgeoning, much of it has been more descriptive than explanatory. We provide a critical discussion of the trajectory of embodiment research in social psychology. We contend that future researchers should engage in a phenomenon-based approach, highlight the theoretical boundary conditions and mediators involved, explore novel action-relevant outcome measures, and address the role of individual differences broadly defined. Such research will likely provide a more explanatory account of the role of embodiment in general terms as well as how it expands the knowledge base in social psychology.
Topics in Cognitive Science 07/2012; 4(4):705-16. · 2.88 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Metaphor representation theory contends that people conceptualise their non-perceptual states (e.g., emotion concepts) in perceptual terms. The present research extends this theory to colour manipulations and discrete emotional representations. Two experiments (N=265) examined whether a red font colour would facilitate anger conceptions, consistent with metaphors referring to anger to "seeing red". Evidence for an implicit anger-red association was robust and emotionally discrete in nature. Further, Experiment 2 examined the directionality of such associations and found that they were asymmetrical: Anger categorisations were faster when a red font colour was involved, but redness categorisations were not faster when an anger-related word was involved. Implications for multiple literatures are discussed.
Cognition and Emotion 06/2012; · 2.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Metaphor representation theory contends that people conceptualize their non-perceptual states (e.g., emotion concepts) in perceptual terms. The present research extends this theory to color manipulations and discrete emotional representations. Two experiments (N = 265) examined whether a red font color would facilitate anger conceptions, consistent with metaphors referring to anger to “seeing red”. Evidence for an implicit anger-red association was robust and emotionally discrete in nature. Further, Experiment 2 examined the directionality of such associations and found that they were asymmetrical: Anger categorizations were faster when a red font color was involved, but redness categorizations were not faster when an anger-related word was involved. Implications for multiple literatures are discussed.
Cognition and Emotion 01/2012; · 2.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A basic premise of the recently proffered color-in-context model is that the influence of color on psychological functioning varies as a function of the psychological context in which color is perceived. Some research has examined the appetitive and aversive implications of viewing the color red in romance- and achievement-relevant contexts, respectively, but in all existing empirical work approach and avoidance behavior has been studied in separate tasks and separate experiments. Research is needed to directly test whether red influences the same behavior differently depending entirely on psychological context.
The present experiment was designed to put this premise to direct test in romance- and achievement-relevant contexts within the same experimental paradigm involving walking behavior. Our results revealed that exposure to red (but not blue) indeed has differential implications for walking behavior as a function of the context in which the color is perceived. Red increased the speed with which participants walked to an ostensible interview about dating (a romance-relevant context), but decreased the speed with which they walked to an ostensible interview about intelligence (an achievement-relevant context).
These results are the first direct evidence that the influence of red on psychological functioning in humans varies by psychological context. Our findings contribute to both the literature on color psychology and the broader, emerging literature on the influence of context on basic psychological processes.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(7):e40333. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The metaphoric expression ‘bright smile’ may reflect the actual judgment of facial lightness under varying emotional expressions. The present research examined whether people in fact judge smiling faces as perceptually brighter than frowning faces. Four studies demonstrated that participants believed smiling faces were brighter compared to frowning faces in a binary choice task and in an absolute judgment task. The results suggest that emotional expressions (i.e., smiles and frowns) can bias judgments of facial brightness in ways consistent with the metaphor. Among other implications, such results suggest that stereotypes about darker-skinned individuals may be attenuated by smiles.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology - J EXP SOC PSYCHOL. 01/2012;
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Individuals who experience stereotype threat - the pressure resulting from social comparisons that are perceived as unfavourable - show performance decrements across a wide range of tasks. One account of this effect is that the cognitive pressure triggered by such threat drains the same cognitive (or working-memory) resources that are implicated in the respective task. The present study investigates whether mindfulness can be used to moderate stereotype threat, as mindfulness has previously been shown to alleviate working-memory load. Our results show that performance decrements that typically occur under stereotype threat can indeed be reversed when the individual engages in a brief (5 min) mindfulness task. The theoretical implications of our findings are discussed.
Consciousness and Cognition 11/2011; 21(1):471-5. · 2.31 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Metaphors are used to help people understand abstract concepts in terms of perceptual experiences (e.g., “feeling high” or “feeling down”). A consequence of this strategy is that metaphor can bias perception and decision making. For example, consistent with metaphors for affect and spatial perception (up = good, down = bad), people more readily identify positive things when high in location. North and south are abstract concepts, which are also tied by metaphor to spatial perception (north = up, south = down). Based on this, the authors hypothesized that, by virtue of a shared mapping with up and down, north and south may have affective associations (north = good, south = bad) that bias decisions related to housing in terms of location preference and expectations of where others live. The authors found convergent support for this hypothesis across four studies using correlational (Studies 1 and 2) and experimental (Studies 3 and 4) data.
Social Psychological and Personality Science. 09/2011; 2(5):547-553.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is striking that prosocial people are considered "sweet" (e.g., "she's a sweetie") because they are unlikely to differentially taste this way. These metaphors aid communication, but theories of conceptual metaphor and embodiment led us to hypothesize that they can be used to derive novel insights about personality processes. Five studies converged on this idea. Study 1 revealed that people believed strangers who liked sweet foods (e.g., candy) were also higher in agreeableness. Studies 2 and 3 showed that individual differences in the preference for sweet foods predicted prosocial personalities, prosocial intentions, and prosocial behaviors. Studies 4 and 5 used experimental designs and showed that momentarily savoring a sweet food (vs. a nonsweet food or no food) increased participants' self-reports of agreeableness and helping behavior. The results reveal that an embodied metaphor approach provides a complementary but unique perspective to traditional trait views of personality.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 08/2011; 102(1):163-74. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Low-anger individuals are less reactive, both emotionally and behaviourally, to a large variety of situational primes to anger and aggression. Why this is so, from an affective processing perspective, has been largely conjectural. Four studies (total N=270) sought to link individual differences in anger to tendencies exhibited in basic affective processing tasks. On the basis of motivational factors and considerations, it was hypothesised that negative evaluations would differentially activate a psychological alarm system at low levels of anger, resulting in a pause that should be evident in the speed of making subsequent evaluations. Just such a pattern was evident in all studies. By contrast, high-anger individuals did not pause following their negative evaluations. In relation to this affective processing tendency, at least, dramatically different effects were observed among low- versus high-anger individuals. Implications for the personality-processing literature, theories of trait anger, and fast-acting regulatory processes are discussed.
Cognition and Emotion 05/2011; 26(2):261-81. · 2.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although many psychological models suggest that human beings are invariably motivated to avoid negative stimuli, more recent theories suggest that people are frequently motivated to approach angering social challenges in order to confront and overcome them. To examine these models, the current investigation sought to determine whether angry facial expressions potentiate approach-motivated motor behaviors. Across 3 studies, individuals were faster to initiate approach movements toward angry facial expressions than to initiate avoidance movements away from such facial expressions. This approach advantage differed significantly from participants' responses to both emotionally neutral (Studies 1 & 3) and fearful (Study 2) facial expressions. Furthermore, this pattern was most apparent when physical approach appeared to be effective in overcoming the social challenge posed by angry facial expressions (Study 3). The results are discussed in terms of the processes underlying anger-related approach motivation and the conditions under which they are likely to arise.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 02/2010; 98(2):201-10. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Stereotypes ascribe positive social traits to attractive individuals. Such stereotypes are viewed as erroneous. However, these stereotypes may have a kernel of truth if more sociable individuals present themselves in a manner that increases their attractiveness, a plausible idea given social engagement goals. To examine this idea, two studies involving 217 participants used a zero-acquaintance design in which unacquainted judges rated the attractiveness of participants in impromptu photographs. Participants high in the self-reported traits of agreeableness or extraversion, the two Big 5 traits most relevant to interpersonal behavior, were rated more attractive. Further results indicated that personality–attraction relationships were mediated by a well-groomed appearance. The results suggest a kernel of truth to the idea that sociable individuals are also attractive.
Journal of Research in Personality 01/2010; 44(2):293-296. · 2.00 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anger is frequently referred to in terms of heat-related metaphors (e.g., hot-headed). The metaphoric representation perspective contends that such metaphors are not simply a poetic means of expressing anger but actually reflect the manner in which the concept of anger is cognitively represented. Drawing upon this perspective, the present studies examined the idea that the cognitive representation of anger is systematically related to the cognitive representation of heat. A total of 7 studies, involving 438 participants, provided support for this view. Visual depictions of heat facilitated the use of anger-related conceptual knowledge, and this occurred in tasks involving lexical stimuli as well as facial expressions. Furthermore, priming anger-related thoughts led participants to judge unfamiliar cities and the actual room temperature as hotter in nature. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for embodied views of emotion concepts and their potential social consequences.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Approach motivation consists of the active, engaged pursuit of one's goals. The purpose of the present three studies (N = 258) was to examine whether approach motivation could be cognitively modeled, thereby providing process-based insights into personality functioning. Behavioral facilitation was assessed in terms of faster (or facilitated) reaction time with practice. As hypothesized, such tendencies predicted higher levels of approach motivation, higher levels of positive affect, and lower levels of depressive symptoms and did so across cognitive, behavioral, self-reported, and peer-reported outcomes. Tendencies toward behavioral facilitation, on the other hand, did not correlate with self-reported traits (Study 1) and did not predict avoidance motivation or negative affect (all studies). The results indicate a systematic relationship between behavioral facilitation in cognitive tasks and approach motivation in daily life. Results are discussed in terms of the benefits of modeling the cognitive processes hypothesized to underlie individual differences motivation, affect, and depression.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Motivation is seen to guide selective attention in favor of motivation-consistent stimuli. However, such links may be bi-directional
in nature, such that selective attention processes may also bias and determine one’s motivational state. In the present study,
we examined the latter direction of influence by randomly assigning participants to one of two conditions designed to train
selective attention either toward or away from rewarding word stimuli. The effects of this manipulation were examined in terms
of approach-related intentions, emotional state, and reward-reactive behavior. It was found that the selective attention manipulation
influenced preferences and behavior, but not conscious emotional state. Findings are discussed in relation to implications
for motivation, cognition, and emotion.
Motivation and Emotion 05/2008; 32(2):120-126. · 1.23 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Research has shown that those individuals high in agreeableness recruit helpful thoughts in hostile contexts, presumably in the service of controlling aggressive behavior. The present experiment follows from such work, but importantly does so in a manner seeking to support causal conclusions. Participants were randomly assigned to an experimental training condition, in which hostile prime words were followed by helpful target words, or to a control condition that did not involve such pairings. Those assigned to the experimental condition subsequently exhibited lower levels of aggression in a laboratory task. Additional considerations and findings support the potential involvement of self-regulation processes. In general terms, the experiment reveals that a brief cognitive manipulation targeting processes thought to underlie aggression control was in fact causally effective in reducing subsequent levels of aggressive behavior.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 01/2008;
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Evaluation is a core topic of interest in both social psychology and linguistic theory, but there are relatively few social-cognitive studies examining the “online” consequences of affective metaphor. The experiments presented here sought to investigate such online consequences in relation to an understudied class of metaphors linking evaluation to size (i.e., “bigger is better”). Consistent with such metaphors, we found that positive (vs. negative) words were evaluated more quickly (Experiment 1) and accurately (Experiment 2) when presented in a larger (vs. smaller) font size. Parallel and opposite effects were found for negative words. A third experiment demonstrated that words presented in a larger font size were evaluated more favorably, thus extending size effects to evaluative judgments. Together, the studies converge on the importance of size metaphors for understanding evaluation from a social-cognitive perspective.
Basic and Applied Social Psychology 01/2008; 30(1):46-55. · 1.09 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Four studies involving 230 undergraduates examined the interactive effects of dispositional approach and avoidance, as manifest in the traits of extraversion and neuroticism. Participants who were high in both traits or low in both traits exhibited less assertive knocking behavior (Study 1), had difficulties refraining from blinking (Study 2), and displayed more anxious behavior during a mental health interview (Study 3). Study 4 tested the idea that such extraversion by neuroticism interactions might be associated with difficulties in recognizing and responding to goal-relevant stimuli. Results involving a go/no go task confirmed this hypothesis. In total, the results highlight the manner in which the co-activation of dispositional motives related to approach and avoidance can compromise effective self-regulation.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 01/2008;
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: "God" and "Devil" are abstract concepts often linked to vertical metaphors (e.g., "glory to God in the highest," "the Devil lives down in hell"). It is unknown, however, whether these metaphors simply aid communication or implicate a deeper mode of concept representation. In 6 experiments, the authors examined the extent to which the vertical dimension is used in noncommunication contexts involving God and the Devil. Experiment 1 established that people have implicit associations between God-Devil and up-down. Experiment 2 revealed that people encode God-related concepts faster if presented in a high (vs. low) vertical position. Experiment 3 found that people's memory for the vertical location of God- and Devil-like images showed a metaphor-consistent bias (up for God; down for Devil). Experiments 4, 5a, and 5b revealed that people rated strangers as more likely to believe in God when their images appeared in a high versus low vertical position, and this effect was independent of inferences related to power and likability. These robust results reveal that vertical perceptions are invoked when people access divinity-related cognitions.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 12/2007; 93(5):699-710. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aggression involving groups (versus individuals) can be particularly severe (e.g., hazings). Although an impressive amount of experimental research on the aggression of individuals exists, relatively less experimental research on aggression involving groups exists. We use existing theories of aggression and the available research to present a framework of aggression when groups are involved. We propose a provisional model that suggests that the extent of aggression to be committed depends on the composition of both source (i.e., perpetrators – group or individual) and target (i.e., victims – group or individual) entities. Evidence suggests that groups commit and receive more aggression than individuals. We propose that accessible hostile thoughts and the experience of negative affect contribute to the target effect (i.e., more aggression committed toward groups versus individuals), whereas disinhibition processes and arousal contribute to the source effect (i.e., more aggression committed by groups versus individuals). Our framework can guide future theory and research on aggression involving groups.
Social and Personality Psychology Compass 09/2007; 1(1):298 - 312.