[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anxiety leads to exaggerated perceptions of distance, which may impair performance on a physical task. In two studies, we tested one strategy to reduce anxiety and induce perceived proximity to increase performance. We predicted implementation intentions that reduce anxiety would increase perceived visual proximity to goal-relevant targets, which would indirectly improve performance. In two studies, we induced performance anxiety on a physical task. Participants who formed implementation intentions to reduce anxiety perceived goal-relevant targets (e.g., golf hole, dartboard) as physically closer and performed better than both participants without a strategy (Study 1) and participants with only a goal to regulate anxiety (Study 2). Furthermore, perceived proximity improved performance indirectly by increasing subjective task ease (Study 2). Results suggest that implementation intentions can reduce anxiety and lead to perceived proximity of goal-relevant targets, which helps perceivers make progress on goals.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 02/2013; · 2.22 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Though people often believe their visual experiences reflect the objective state of the surrounding world, a wealth of recent evidence suggests that perceptions are systematically biased. We draw from contemporary research and supplement with real world anecdotes to suggest that two aspects of perception are subject to influence by states internal to perceivers themselves. We focus on the biases that arise from two difficult tasks faced by the visual system. First, visual information is often unclear and ambiguous; yet visual input must be categorized quickly and efficiently. Second, people can focus on only a subset of perceptual information at once, and as a result visual attention is necessarily directed at a subset of the surrounding world. We document ways in which expectations, desires, and fears help to resolve perceptual ambiguity and direct attention. Finally, we discuss the functional nature of visual biases and note potential consequences in important domains.
Social and Personality Psychology Compass 01/2013; 7(6).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Do stimuli appear to be closer when they are more threatening? We tested people's perceptions of distance to stimuli that they felt were threatening relative to perceptions of stimuli they felt were disgusting or neutral. Two studies demonstrated that stimuli that emitted affective signals of threat (e.g., an aggressive male student) were seen as physically closer than stimuli that emitted affective signals of disgust (e.g., a repulsive male student) or no affective signal. Even after controlling for the direct effects of physiological arousal, object familiarity, and intensity of the negative emotional reaction, we found that threatening stimuli appeared to be physically closer than did disgusting ones (Study 2). These findings highlight the links among biased perception, action regulation, and successful navigation of the environment.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Regulatory conflict can emerge when people experience a strong motivation to act on goals but a conflicting inclination to withhold action because physical resources available, or physiological potentials, are low. This study demonstrated that distance perception is biased in ways that theory suggests assists in managing this conflict. Participants estimated the distance to a target location. Individual differences in physiological potential measured via waist-to-hip ratio interacted with manipulated motivational states to predict visual perception. Among people low in physiological potential and likely to experience regulatory conflict, the environment appeared easier to traverse when motivation was strong compared with weak. Among people high in potential and less likely to experience conflict, perception was not predicted by motivational strength. The role of motivated distance perception in self-regulation is discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
Journal of Experimental Psychology General 03/2012; · 3.99 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Does awareness of female body ideals affect women's global self-esteem? We measured awareness of ideal standards for beauty via two approaches. As one approach, participants (55 undergraduate women) self-reported their general propensity to be aware of society's thin ideal standard. As a second approach, we measured visual attention orienting to ideal standards; we covertly measured participants' eye movements to peers' purported ideal standards. Self-reported awareness predicted lower baseline self-esteem; this relationship was mediated by internalization of the thin ideal. Awareness as assessed through attention orienting to peers' ideal standards predicted decreases in global self-esteem, above the effects of self-reported awareness, internalization, and actual measures of physical fitness. Implications for awareness of ideal standards and the media's portrayal of the thin ideal are discussed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We review a growing body of literature that evidences the reciprocal relationship between body and mind, known as embodied cognition. We argue that an embodied mind may serve a functional purpose, aiding in self-regulatory processes. Specifically, we suggest that embodied cognition assists in self-regulation by increasing signal strength, encouraging appropriate goal-relevant action, and incorporating situational constraints to cue appropriate information processing styles. Furthermore, we propose that affect serves as the link between an embodied mind and self-regulatory action. Finally, we situate this research in debates on theories of mind, and we advocate for a highly interactive system that integrates information across modalities.
Social and Personality Psychology Compass 08/2009; 3(5):759 - 774.