Figure 2 - uploaded by Mitchell J. Callan
Content may be subject to copyright.
Mediation model. The no personal control and personal control conditions were dummy coded as 1 and 0, respectively (Study 2). † p .10. * p .05.

Mediation model. The no personal control and personal control conditions were dummy coded as 1 and 0, respectively (Study 2). † p .10. * p .05.

Source publication
Article
Full-text available
The authors propose that the high levels of support often observed for governmental and religious systems can be explained, in part, as a means of coping with the threat posed by chronically or situationally fluctuating levels of perceived personal control. Three experiments demonstrated a causal relation between lowered perceptions of personal con...

Context in source publication

Context 1
... investigate whether the personal control manipulation did in fact produce defensive reactions regarding overarching views of the role played by randomness and chance in the participants' lives, and whether these reactions mediated the effect of the personal control manipulation on belief in the existence of God as an external source of control, we conducted a series of separate regressions, as depicted in Figure 2. ...

Similar publications

Article
Full-text available
Although a recent update on the functional theory of counterfactual thinking suggests that counterfactuals are important for behavior regulation, there is some evidence that counterfactuals may not be functional for everyone. Two studies found differences between maladaptive and high personal standards perfectionism in the functionality of counterf...
Article
Full-text available
Defense theory holds that defensive illusions guard well-being. People supposedly are least depressed if they claim responsibility for good outcomes and deny responsibility for bad ones. Control theory states that active, effective problem solving builds well-being; thus a sense of personal control and responsibility for both success and failure is...
Article
Full-text available
In this study, the authors examined the relations of regulatory control to adults' daily stress-related responses. A physiological index of regulatory control (vagal tone) and daily reports of stress and coping were obtained from 92 college students. The results of the study generally confirmed the prediction that individuals who are high in regula...
Article
Full-text available
Contingent self-esteem, or self-worth hinged upon successfully meeting standards or attaining goals, requires continual maintenance and validation. Despite the inherent instability that accompanies contingent self-esteem, relatively little is known about how it relates to markers of mental health. A sample of 371 college students completed measures...
Article
Full-text available
The association between religiousness and depressive symptoms was examined with meta-analytic methods across 147 independent investigations (N = 98,975). Across all studies, the correlation between religiousness and depressive symptoms was -.096, indicating that greater religiousness is mildly associated with fewer symptoms. The results were not mo...

Citations

... Another important function of religious beliefs and worldviews is that they give a sense of order and control (i.e., providing teleological insight), such as through the belief in the Christian God as a creator. For example, experimentally lowered perceptions of personal control have been associated with an increase in belief in a controlling God (Kay, Gaucher, Napier, Callan, & Laurin, 2008). Some scientific theories can also confer a similar sense of control. ...
... One way to compensate control is to utilize specific mindsets, including problem-solving (Su et al., 2017) and structure-seeking (Kay et al., 2008;Whitson and Galinsky, 2008) mindsets. Structure-seeking mindset is more relevant in this study because high-level construal by nature dictates structured and simple-patterned mental representation, providing a sense of structure to regain control. ...
... Prior studies have highlighted a high need for structure after control loss (Cutright et al., 2013) and that a structureseeking mindset compensates control (Kay et al., 2008;Whitson and Galinsky, 2008;Cutright, 2012). Therefore, the need for structure (Neuberg and Newsom, 1993) was utilized as a proxy to measure motivation to restore control. ...
... On the other hand, the results indicate the possibility of another strategy when control is deprived, which is to engage in abstract thinking. This broadens the control compensatory strategy sets that comprise seeking structured consumption, relying on superstitious rituals, seeking status, supporting authoritative governments or political leaders, etc. (Keinan, 2002;Kay et al., 2008Kay et al., , 2010Inesi et al., 2011;Shepherd et al., 2011;Cutright, 2012). ...
Article
Full-text available
The construal level theory (CLT) has been supported and applied widely in social psychology. Yet, what remains unclear is the mechanism behind it. The authors extend the current literature by hypothesizing that perceived control mediates and locus of control (LOC) moderates the effect of psychological distance on the construal level. Four experimental studies were conducted. The results indicate that individuals perceive low (vs. high) situational control from a psychological distance (vs. proximity), and the resultant control perception influences their motivation in control pursuit, producing a high (vs. low) construal level. Moreover, LOC (i.e., one’s chronic control belief) affects an individual’s motivation to pursue control and yields a reversal of distance-construal relationship under external (vs. internal) LOC as a result. Overall, this research first identifies perceived control as a closer predictor of construal level, and the findings are expected to help with influencing human behavior by facilitating individuals’ construal level via control-related constructs.
... Cross-national studies have similarly shown that citizens of countries with fewer social safety nets and higher rates of inequality, like the United States, also tend to be more religious than their peers in egalitarian, social-democratic countries [77], [80]. Experiments have also revealed that people become more inclined to endorse the existence of a controlling deity whenever they are manipulated into feeling their sense of personal control is under threat [81]. Similar patterns have been found among racial-ethnic and socioeconomic groups. ...
Article
Full-text available
Wide inequities in stress and health have been documented between Black and White women and men in the United States. This study asks: How does religion factor into these inequities? We approach this open question from a biopsychosocial perspective, developing three hypotheses for the stress-coping effects of religiosity between groups. We then test our hypotheses with survey and biomarker data from the Nashville Stress and Health Study (2011-2014), a probability sample of Black and White women and men from Davidson County, Tennessee. We find that Black women score the highest on all indicators of religiosity, followed by Black men, White women, and White men. We also find that increased divine control and religious coping predict higher levels of resilience biomarkers for Black women only, and lower levels for White respondents, especially White men. We discuss how our findings inform broader population health inequities and outline several avenues for future research.
... To help manage the chaos and unpredictability of daily life, people strive to perceive the world as orderly, where all events follow clear cause and effect relationships (Kay et al., 2008;Lerner, 1980). Wanting to perceive the world as orderly and non-random is argued to be one of the few fundamental human motives (Jost, 2018;Lerner, 1980;Seligman, 1975). ...
... Wanting to perceive the world as orderly and non-random is argued to be one of the few fundamental human motives (Jost, 2018;Lerner, 1980;Seligman, 1975). Compensatory control theory (CCT; Kay et al., 2008Kay et al., , 2009 argues that perceiving the world as orderly and structured is fundamental in facilitating the development of feelings of personal control-defined as "an individual's belief that [they] can personally predict, affect, and steer events in the present and future" (Kay et al., 2009, p. 264). CCT goes on to argue that when individuals perceive a lack of personal control, they engage in psychological processes to shore up their underlying perception that the world is orderly, and that this serves to rebuild the foundation upon which personal control and individual goal pursuit may be developed. ...
... As such, perceiving personal control to be low threatens not only agency of the self, but also the underlying foundation that the world is structured and orderly. To maintain their perception of an orderly world, then, individuals can turn to an array of control strategies, including external sources of control (Kay et al., 2008;Landau et al., 2015). People take steps to restore a sense of predictability and structure, including by seeing patterns amidst noise (Whitson & Galinsky, 2008;cf. ...
Article
Full-text available
Compensatory control theory (CCT) provides a framework for understanding the mechanisms at play when one's personal control is challenged. The model suggests that believing the world is a structured and predictable place is fundamental, insofar as it provides the foundation upon which people can believe they are able to exert control over their environment and act agentically towards goals. Because of this, CCT suggests, when personal control is threatened people try to reaffirm the more foundational belief in structure/predictability in the world, so that they then have a strong foundation to reestablish feelings of personal control and pursue their goals. This review seeks to understand how the basic assumptions of these compensatory control processes unfold in different cultural contexts. Drawing on research and theorizing from cultural psychology, we propose that cultural models of self and agency, culturally prevalent modes of control, and culture‐specific motivations all have implications for compensatory control processes. Culture determines, in part, whether or not personal control deprivation is experienced as a threat to perceiving an orderly world, how/whether individuals respond to low personal control, and the function that responses to restore a sense of order in the world serve. A theoretical model of compensatory control processes across cultures is proposed that has implications for how people cope with a wide range of personal and societal events that potentially threaten their personal control.
... People respond to threatened personal control with group-based control restoration ("extended primary control"; Fritsche, 2022) as long as a relevant in-group is cognitively available that people consider potentially agentic or for which establishing group agency seems possible. If such a group is not available in a given situation, people are expected to turn to establishing order and structure in their environment ("secondary control") through affirming existing social systems, as predicted by compensatory control theory [40]. For people, this reduction of uncertainty may lay the ground for restoring personal control at a later point in time. ...
Article
Full-text available
People desire agentic representations of their personal and collective selves, such as their own nation. When national agency is put into question, this should increase their inclination to restore it, particularly when they simultaneously lack perceptions of personal control. In this article, we test this hypothesis of group-based control in the context of political elections occurring during socio-economic crises. We propose that people who are reminded of low (vs. high) personal control will have an increased tendency to reject traditional political parties that stand for the maintenance of a non-agentic political system. We experimentally manipulated the salience of low vs. high personal control in five studies and measured participants’ intentions to support traditional and new political parties. Across four of five studies, in line with the predictions, low personal control reduced support for the main traditional conservative party (e.g., Partido Popular (PP) in Spain, the Republicans in France). These results appeared in contexts of national economic and/or political crisis, and were most pronounced when low (vs. high) national agency was made salient in Studies 4 and 5. The findings support the notion that rejecting the stability of the national political system can serve as a means to maintain a sense of control through the collective self.
... 456) Nowadays, creativity is commonly seen as the result of a cyclic interplay between a productive component that generates novel outcomes and an evaluative component that selects (or rejects) the contextually appropriate (or inappropriate) outcomes. In this sense, creativity results from a dual-process architecture (see, e.g., Guilford, 1967 ): a more spontaneous, generative, unstructured, unbounded process -often termed 'divergent' -that provides originality and novelty to the creative act by exploring multiple solutions to the problem at hand; and a more controlled, structured, bound-to-the-context process -often termed 'con-that the perception of lack of control, which can be experimentally induced ( Kay, Gaucher, Napier, Callan, & Laurin, 2008 ;Landau, Kay, & Whitson, 2015 ), promotes the detection of associations between knowledge units in memory, that is, that perceived lack of control promotes divergent thinking. The rationale is as follows. ...
... However, specific circumstances (i.e., cognitions or events) can lead individuals to experience a (temporary) reduction of perceived control. Given that the experience of lack of control is an aversive state ( Whalen, 1998 ), individuals are motivated to respond with compensatory strategies for restoring perceived control to desired levels ( Kay et al, 2008 ). It has been proposed that one of these strategies is to interpret the different aspects of the situation that one is facing, even aspects that have nothing to do with the events causing the perception of lack of control, as they had a predictable structure ( Whitson & Galinsky, 2008 ): in order to reinstate control, people tend to affirm structured interpretations of the world (i.e. ...
... Within this general theoretical framework, we can provide a possible account for the observed effect of lack of control on divergent creativity. According to the compensatory control theory ( Kay et al., 2008 ), individuals experiencing lack of control are motivated to restore perceived control to desired levels. As mentioned in the Introduction, one way to restore perceived control is by interpreting the different aspects of a given context as they had a predictable structure ( Landau et al, 2015 ), that is, by finding a simple, coherent, and clear interpretation of these aspects. ...
Article
Full-text available
The sense of lack of control has been shown to foster illusory pattern perception, superstition, conspiracy and religious beliefs. In two identical experiments we investigated whether the feeling of lacking control (vs. control) can also foster creative thinking, which we operationalized as the ability to produce associative and dissociative combinations of either related and unrelated concepts. Participants were asked to think about an incident in their life wherein they felt either to be in control or to lose control of the situation. Immediately afterwards, they had to perform a set of tasks tapping (divergent) creative thinking. In both experiments, we observed higher scores in all creativity tasks for participants who recalled loss-of-control events than for those recalling in-control events. Our findings suggest that compensatory processes, triggered by experiencing lack of control, can promote divergent thinking. We propose an account situated within current models of semantic control.
... Various psychological threats, including uncertainty, terrorism, absence of control, economic troubles, and goal conflicts, cause individuals to leverage political ideologies to protect against threat-related anxiety (e.g. Hogg et al., 2007;Kay et al., 2008;McGregor et al., 2001). Neurophysiological evidence suggests that these various threats converge on a common, underlying motivational system that triggers anxiety-specific processes and subsequent defensive reactivity (Jonas et al., 2014). ...
Article
Full-text available
There is considerable research showing that economic threat influences people's social and political views. There are two prevailing perspectives on threat and political attitudes , broadly defined as the Conservative Shift Hypothesis and the Entrenching Hypothesis. The former predicts that threat induces change in the conservative direction (for both conservatives and liberals), whereas the latter predicts that threat causes people to adhere more strongly to their pre-existing political perspective. In two experimental studies (one pre-registered replication), we find evidence in support of the Entrenching Hypothesis. Conservatives responded to Economic Threat with increased endorsement of the conservative moral foundation Purity, whereas liberals responded to Economic Threat with decreased endorsement of the Purity foundation. Economic Threat appears to increase commitment to one's pre-existing political ideology and not conservatism specifically. Implications for psychological theory and future directions are discussed.
... Compensatory control theory assumes that people have a psychological need to maintain order in their beliefs and to prevent randomness and chaos so that when perceptions of personal control are threatened, people are motivated to believe in religion, which also provides a sense of order. There is a substitution effect between perceptions of self-control and the external control of religion (Kay et al. 2008). Here, the perceptions of self-control refer to an individual's confidence in predicting, influencing, and directing events in the present and future (Kay et al. 2009). ...
Article
Full-text available
Risk preference theory states that religiosity positively correlates with risk aversion. Based on data from the 2018 wave of the China Family Panel Studies (CFPS), this study tested risk preference theory in the Chinese mainland. A binary logistic regression model was used to empirically test the relationship between risk preference and religious belief. At the same time, a robustness test was carried out using the propensity score-matching method and other datasets, and multinomial logistic regression was conducted to explore the heterogeneity of the relationship between risk preference and religious belief. The results showed that risk-seeking people are more likely to have religious beliefs. The importance of the study lies in the extension of risk preference theory to consideration of religious regulations.
... Superstitions might assist people in regaining thwarted control because they allow people to establish meaningful connections among different stimuli, make sense of the current environment, and predict outcomes of future events. According to the compensatory control theory (Kay et al., 2008), people may turn to an alternative means of control by aligning themselves to the environment when their primary and internal source of control is deprived. Thus, people lacking control might attempt to explain events by attributing them to external forces in the environment. ...
... The prediction that thwarted control may increase superstitious tendencies has received support from previous empirical research. For example, studies have shown that when people believe they do not possess any control over the occurrence of certain events, they may place their faith in God, religion, or spirituality (Fiori et al., 2004;Kay et al., 2008). Likewise, superstitions could be an alternative source for people to rely on, especially those who lack perceived control. ...
Article
Whether and how interpersonal experiences predispose people to show superstitious tendencies have been largely unexamined by past studies. By adopting a multimethod approach, three studies tested (a) whether ostracism increases superstitious tendencies through thwarted perceived control, (b) whether the dispositional need for closure moderates the effect of ostracism on superstitious tendencies and (c) whether restoring ostracized people's thwarted control weakens their superstitious tendencies. The results revealed that ostracized participants had higher superstitious tendencies than nonostracized participants did (Studies 1-3). Moreover, thwarted control mediated the effect of ostracism on superstitious tendencies (Study 2). In addition, the dispositional need for closure moderated the effect of ostracism on superstitious tendencies, such that the effect was stronger among participants with a high need for closure (Studies 1-2). Finally, restoring ostracized participants' perceived control weakened the effect of ostracism on superstitious tendencies (Study 3). Altogether, these findings feature the essential role of thwarted perceived control in understanding the link between ostracism and superstitious tendencies and the implication of control restoration in weakening the link. They also highlight the importance of dispositional characteristics in moderating people's responses to superstitions following ostracism and related forms of interpersonal maltreatment.
... To address this gap, we draw on compensatory control theory (Kay et al., 2008;Landau et al., 2015) to investigate a novel antecedent of tight cultures: individuals' perceptions of personal control. Specifically, we seek to uncover the bidirectional relationship between the psyche and culture in the domain of personal control and cultural tightness. ...
... We first consider how the personal control dimension of the psyche influences the tightness dimension of culture. To do so, we draw on compensatory control theory, which was conceived partly to explain the existence of variations in personal control both within as well as between cultures, even though control has been posited as a fundamental human need (Kay et al., 2008;Presson & Benassi, 1996;Seligman, 1975). Recent theoretical innovations in compensatory control theory suggest that the search for nonepistemic structure, or "interpretations of one's social and physical environments as simple (vs. ...
Article
Full-text available
According to the theory of mutual constitution of culture and psyche, just as culture shapes people, individuals' psychological states can influence culture. We build on compensatory control theory, which suggests that low personal control can lead people to prefer societal systems that impose order, to examine the mutual constitution of personal control and cultural tightness. Specifically, we tested whether individuals' lack of personal control increases their preference for tighter cultures as a means of restoring order and predictability, and whether tighter cultures in turn reduce people's feelings of personal control. Seven studies (five preregistered) with participants from the United States, Singapore, and China examine this cycle of mutual constitution. Specifically, documenting the correlational link between person and culture, we found that Americans lower on personal control preferred to live in tighter states (Study 1). Chinese employees lower on personal control also desired more structure and preferred a tighter organizational culture (Study 2). Employing an experimental causal chain design, Studies 3-5 provided causal evidence for our claim that lack of control increases desire for tighter cultures via the need for structure. Finally, tracing the link back from culture to person, Studies 6a and 6b found that whereas tighter cultures decreased perceptions of individual personal control, they increased people's sense of collective control. Overall, the findings document the process of mutual constitution of culture and psyche: lack of personal control leads people to seek more structured, tighter cultures, and that tighter cultures, in turn, decrease people's sense of personal control but increase their sense of collective control. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).