Olivier Klein

Université Libre de Bruxelles, Bruxelles, Brussels Capital Region, Belgium

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Publications (60)101.55 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: By tuning messages about ambiguous information to their audience’s attitude, communicators can reduce uncertainty and form audience-congruent memories. This effect has been conceptualized as the creation of shared reality with the audience. We applied this approach to representations of ambiguous antecedents of sexual harassment and examined whether the effect depends on the event’s perceived ambiguity. Participants read a testimony about a supervisor’s ambiguous behaviors toward a female employee and described the behaviors to an audience who had previously evaluated him positively or negatively. We manipulated perceived ambiguity of the testimony by including or omitting information about eventual, clear-cut harassment (known vs. unknown outcome). As predicted, participants aligned their messages and memory with their audience’s evaluation only in the unknown-outcome condition, where epistemic uncertainty was higher. The findings highlight the role of epistemic needs in the communicative creation of a shared reality about a ubiquitous social situation with potentially harmful outcomes.
    Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition. 03/2015; 4.
  • Sandy Schumann, Olivier Klein
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    ABSTRACT: Anecdotes of past social movements suggest that Internet-enabled technologies, especially social media platforms, can facilitate collective actions. Recently, however, it has been argued that the participatory Internet encourages low-cost and low-risk activism—slacktivism—which may have detrimental consequences for groups that aim to achieve a collective purpose. More precisely, low-threshold digital practices such as signing online petitions or “liking” the Facebook page of a group are thought to derail subsequent engagement offline. We assessed this postulation in three experiments (N = 76, N = 59, and N = 48) and showed that so-called slacktivist actions indeed reduce the willingness to join a panel discussion and demonstration as well as the likelihood to sign a petition. This demobilizing effect was mediated by the satisfaction of group-enhancing motives; members considered low-threshold online collective actions as a substantial contribution to the group’s success. The findings highlight that behavior that is belittled as slacktivism addresses needs that pertain to individuals’ sense of group membership. Rather than hedonistic motives or personal interests, concerns for the ingroup’s welfare and viability influenced the decision to join future collective actions offline.
    European Journal of Social Psychology 01/2015; · 1.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: People consistently over-eat when served a large compared to a small (appropriate) portion of food. However, the mechanism underlying this so-called portion size effect is not well understood. We argue that the process of anchoring and adjustment naturally describes this effect, such that the size of a presented portion works as an anchor that strongly influences consumption. The classical anchoring and adjustment paradigm was applied to six hypothetical eating situations. Participants were asked to imagine being served either a small or a large portion of food (i.e., low and high anchor) and to indicate whether they would consume more or less than this amount. Then, they indicated how much they would eat. These estimates were compared to a no-anchor condition where participants did not imagine a specific portion size but only indicated how much they would eat. In addition, half of participants in the anchoring conditions received a discounting instruction stating that the portion size they had been asked to imagine was randomly selected and thus not informative for their consumption estimate. As expected, participants who imagined to be served larger portions estimated to consume significantly more food than participants in the no-anchor condition, and participants who imagined to be served smaller portions estimated to consume significantly less food than participants in the no-anchor condition. The discounting manipulation did not reduce this effect of the anchors. We suggest that the process of anchoring and adjustment may provide a useful framework to understand the portion size effect and we discuss implications of this perspective.
    Appetite 06/2014; · 2.54 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The unconscious-thought effect occurs when distraction improves complex decision making. Recent studies suggest that this effect is more likely to occur with low- than high-demanding distraction tasks. We discuss implications of these findings for Newell & Shanks' (N&S's) claim that evidence is lacking for the intervention of unconscious processes in complex decision making.
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 01/2014; · 18.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Social representations of the historical past, anchored in historical experience and cultural values, play a motivational role for justifying collective behaviour. The First and Second World Wars (WWI and WWII) are the most remembered historical events around the world. The aim of the current study is to investigate, based on country-level data, the relationship between the country's role during the war, social development, cultural values and willingness to fight in a future war, and how social representations of WWII mediate these processes. The data from the World History Survey were collected from a total of 6628 university students from 36 countries. The results showed that ascribing WWII a progressive (UN creation, democracy) or technological-scientific explanation, but also perceiving WWII as a social catastrophe, prevailed more than beliefs justifying WWII (just and necessary war). Directly or indirectly victorious nations endorse legitimizing and positive representations of world wars more than defeated ones. The effects of hierarchical and collectivistic values and low social development on willingness to fight in a war are mediated by legitimizing social representations of WWII. Importantly, when controlled for socio-structural differences (human development index), the indirect effect of being a victorious nation in a war on willingness to fight through legitimizing representations of WWII was also significant. These findings suggest that social representations of WWII serve as anchors for determining the role of a nation in collective violence. Social representations legitimizing past collective violence seem to facilitate more positive attitudes towards potential future collective violence in victorious nations.
    International Journal of Intercultural Relations 01/2014; · 1.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the 1960s, a historical event occurred at one of Europe's most prestigious universities: The Dutch-speaking students forced the French-speaking students to relocate and establish their own university. We compared the extent to which members of each social group developed elaborate memories of the events surrounding the conflict and whether they were associated with differences in rehearsal type (media, conversational, rumination) and initiating conditions (importance, political engagement, and negative/positive emotions). All participants were university students at the time of the conflict. We found that Dutch-speakers exhibited more elaborate memories compared to French-speakers and that importance was associated with elaborate memories only for the Dutch-speakers. However, positive emotions appear to be critical in the formation of elaborate memories across the social groups. We found no such associations for negative emotions. We discuss these results in terms of the social/cognitive processes transcending social group membership in understanding how individuals remember past conflicts.
    Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition. 09/2013; 2(3):166–172.
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    ABSTRACT: A survey revealed that researchers still seem to encounter difficulties to cope with outliers. Detecting outliers by determining an interval spanning over the mean plus/minus three standard deviations remains a common practice. However, since both the mean and the standard deviation are particularly sensitive to outliers, this method is problematic. We highlight the disadvantages of this method and present the median absolute deviation, an alternative and more robust measure of dispersion that is easy to implement. We also explain the procedures for calculating this indicator in SPSS and R software.
    Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 07/2013; 49(4):764–766. · 2.22 Impact Factor
  • Psychological Science 04/2013; · 4.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objectification and dehumanization represent motivational conundrums because they are phenomena in which people are seen in ways that are fundamentally inaccurate; seeing people as objects, as animals, or not as people. The purpose of the 60th Nebraska Symposium on Motivation was to examine the motivational underpinnings of objectification and dehumanization of the self and others. To provide an overall context for this volume, we first provide classic conceptualizations of objectification and dehumanization and speculate about relations between the two. We then introduce a unified theory of objectification and dehumanization within the global versus local processing model (GLOMO) and provide initial supporting evidence. Finally, we introduce the chapters in this volume, which provide additional significant and novel motivational perspectives on objectification and dehumanization.
    Nebraska Symposium on Motivation. Nebraska Symposium on Motivation 01/2013; 60:1-23. · 1.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This article revisits two classical issues in experimental methodology: experimenter bias and demand characteristics. We report a content analysis of the method section of experiments reported in two psychology journals (Psychological Science and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology), focusing on aspects of the procedure associated with these two phenomena, such as mention of the presence of the experimenter, suspicion probing, and handling of deception. We note that such information is very often absent, which prevents observers from gauging the extent to which such factors influence the results. We consider the reasons that may explain this omission, including the automatization of psychology experiments, the evolution of research topics, and, most important, a view of research participants as passive receptacles of stimuli. Using a situated social cognition perspective, we emphasize the importance of integrating the social context of experiments in the explanation of psychological phenomena. We illustrate this argument via a controversy on stereotype-based behavioral priming effects.
    Perspectives on Psychological Science 11/2012; 7(6):572–584. · 4.89 Impact Factor
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    Appetite 10/2012; 59(2):616. · 2.54 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In line with Allport's contact hypothesis, previous research showed that direct intergroup contact can reduce prejudices. However, establishing face-to-face contact is not always feasible. We postulate that Facebook-groups are a setting where direct and observed intergroup contact can develop, reducing prejudices and increasing mutual acceptance. Analyzing the comments of nine Facebook-groups with the destructive and constructive conflict scale, our results indicated that the expression of prejudices decreased and that of mutual acceptance increased over time, both for in- and outgroup members of the Facebook-groups. Only the expression of less prejudices, but not that of more mutual acceptance was predicted by intergroup contact. The influence of group-based motivations on the engagement in intergroup contact is discussed, and the overall findings are integrated in Steele and Brown's process model of media practices.
    Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking 07/2012; 15(8):411-6. · 2.41 Impact Factor
  • Sandy Schumann, Olivier Klein, Karen Douglas
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    ABSTRACT: This study examines how Internet use can empower users to carry out collective actions for an environmentalism movement organization. More precisely, we focused on the impact of online interactivity, i.e., the fact that users can share content online and receive feedback on it from others. The participatory Internet fulfills thereby two preconditions of a sense of psychological empowerment: a) receiving information about the goals and performance of an organization and b) experiencing an effective reward system. Using an experimental design, our results showed that users' sense of empowerment was indeed increased by online interactivity. Higher sense of empowerment led to stronger willingness to participate in a panel discussion and demonstration for the environmentalist organization. In addition, when users were identifiable with their name and photo as compared to being anonymous while making their contributions, the likelihood to get engaged was higher, mediated by an increased sense of empowerment. The importance of intra-individual processes when studying the impact of Internet use on behavior is discussed, as well as the role of identifiability online.
    Proceedings of the 7th international conference on Persuasive Technology: design for health and safety; 06/2012
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    Psychological Science 04/2012; 23(5):469-71. · 4.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Examine the influence of altering the size of snack food (ie, small vs large cookies) on short-term energy intake. First- and sixth-graders (n = 77) participated in a between-subjects experimental design. All participants were offered the same gram weight of cookies during an afternoon tea at their school. For half of the participants, food was cut in 2 to make the small item size. Food intake (number of cookies, gram weight, and energy intake) was examined using ANOVA. Decreasing the item size of food led to a decrease of 25% in gram weight intake, corresponding to 68 kcal. Appetitive ratings and subject and food characteristics had no moderating effect. Reducing the item size of food could prove a useful dietary prevention strategy based on decreased consumption, aimed at countering obesity-promoting eating behaviors favored by the easy availability of large food portions.
    Journal of nutrition education and behavior 03/2012; 44(3):251-5. · 1.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: While larger containers have been found to increase food intake, it is unclear whether this effect is driven by container size, portion size, or their combination, as these variables are usually confounded. The study was advertised as examining the effects of snack food consumption on information processing and participants were served M&M's for free consumption in individual cubicles while watching a TV show. Participants were served (1) a medium portion of M&M's in a small (n=30) or (2) in a large container (n=29), or (3) a large portion in a large container (n=29). The larger container increased intake by 129% (199 kcal) despite holding portion size constant, while controlling for different confounding variables. This research suggests that larger containers stimulate food intake over and above their impact on portion size.
    Appetite 01/2012; 58(3):814-7. · 2.54 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The following values have no corresponding Zotero field: ID - 4178
    België-Belgique: één staat, twee collectieve geheugens?, Edited by Olivier Luminet, 01/2012: pages 33-56; Snoeck.
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    ABSTRACT: Successful reconciliation between groups following a violent conflict requires psychological change. We test a model predicting intergroup attitudes towards Muslims in Lebanon among Maronite (Christian) Lebanese youths. Identification with both their religious subgroup and with the superordinate national group predicted attitudes towards Muslims, in opposite directions. These effects of levels of identification on intergroup attitudes were mediated by attributions of responsibility for the war (Muslim responsibility) and perception that the current generation of out-group members is different from the war generation (perceived out-group discontinuity). Identification with Lebanon fosters positive attitudes towards Muslims by lowering Muslim responsibility for the war, and by increasing perceptions of foreign responsibility and perceived out-group discontinuity. In contrast, increased identification with their own religious subgroup undermines attitude change by increasing Muslim responsibility for the war and lessening perception of out-group discontinuity. Representations of the past have implications for attitudes towards former enemies and reconciliation in the present.
    Group Processes & Intergroup Relations 01/2012; 15(2):179-192. · 1.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The following values have no corresponding Zotero field: ID - 3823
    Memory Studies 01/2012; 5(1):16-31. · 1.07 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The following values have no corresponding Zotero field: ID - 4177
    België-Belgique: één staat, twee collectieve geheugens?, Edited by Olivier Luminet, 01/2012: pages 15-32; Snoeck.

Publication Stats

321 Citations
101.55 Total Impact Points


  • 2001–2014
    • Université Libre de Bruxelles
      • • Research Centre of Social and Intercultural Psychology (CRPSI)
      • • Consciousness, Cognition & Computation Group
      • • Research Centre of Cognition and Neurosciences (CRNC)
      • • Service de Psychologie & Psychothérapie
      Bruxelles, Brussels Capital Region, Belgium
  • 2002–2012
    • Vrije Universiteit Brussel
      Bruxelles, Brussels Capital Region, Belgium
  • 2005
    • University of Grenoble
      Grenoble, Rhône-Alpes, France
  • 2003–2004
    • Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS)
      Bruxelles, Brussels Capital Region, Belgium