The cohesiveness of a society depends, in part, on how its individual members manage their daily activities with respect to the goals of that society. Hence, there should be a degree of social agreement on what constitutes action and what constitutes inaction. The present research investigated the structure of action and inaction definitions, the evaluation of action versus inaction, and individual differences in these evaluations. Action-inaction ratings of behaviors and states showed more social agreement at the ends of the inaction-action continuum than at the middle, suggesting a socially shared construal of this definition. Action-inaction ratings were also shown to correlate with the valence of the rated behaviors, such that the more active the behavior the more positive its valence. Lastly, individual differences in locomotion, need for closure, and Christian religious beliefs correlated positively with a preference for action.
In a 'diary' study, we examined the frequency and affective implications of 34 ethnic minority students' comparisons to other ethnic minorities or to members of a high-status ethnic majority (i.e., European-Americans). Participants made more frequent comparisons to ethnic majority than ethnic minority referents, although neither type of comparison tended to be perceived in terms of group membership (see also Smith & Leach, 2004). Comparisons to ethnic majority referents did not alter participants' positive affect even where they suggested poor future prospects in status-relevant domains. In contrast, comparisons to fellow ethnic minorities led to increased positive affect when they suggested a future prospect of improvement. We discuss the conceptual and practical implications of social comparison in the context of group status.
Researchers currently know very little about how African Americans regard themselves and their salient outgroup (i.e., European Americans). The current study examines how experiences with individual ingroup and outgroup members affect these evaluations on two key dimensions in intergroup research: warmth and competence. In particular, the study asks what effect I-sharing (i.e., sharing a subjective experience) with an African American or a European American has on African Americans' perceptions of the warmth and competence of their ingroup and outgroup. Results revealed an ingroup preference on the dimension of warmth when participants had I-shared with a fellow African American but not when they had I-shared with a European American. No such ingroup preference emerged on the dimension of competence. Instead, participants exhibited an outgroup preference on this dimension after I-sharing with a European American. The discussion entertains possible explanations for these differential effects of I-sharing on judgments of the ingroup and outgroup.
Consensually held ideologies may serve as the cultural "glue" that justifies hierarchical status differences in society (e.g. Augustinos, 1998). Yet to be effective these beliefs need to be embraced by low-status groups. Why would members of low-status groups endorse beliefs that justify their relative disadvantage? We propose that members of low-status groups in the United States may benefit from some system-justifying beliefs (such as the belief in meritocracy) to the extent that these beliefs emphasize the perception of control over future outcomes. In 2 studies, among women, lower-SES women, and women of color, we found a positive relationship between the belief in meritocracy and well-being (self-esteem and physical health) that was mediated by perceived control. Members of low-status groups may benefit from some system-justifying beliefs to the extent that these beliefs, like the belief in meritocracy, emphasize the perception of control over future outcomes.
In the traditional, information-processing model of cognition the human mind does well with lyrics, but it just can’t dance. Real life is like a musical, rich with elaborate sets, costumes, music, and movement as well as dialogue, and impossible to appreciate fully just by reading the script. That’s not to say that words are unimportant: They carry a huge amount of information, and language is a defining feature of our species. Language is especially important to academics since our own histories and battles take place largely through print. But people are actors in the show, not just readers in a library, and our minds must serve this performance. Whereas the traditional approach to cognition was all about the lyrics, the embodied cognition approach turns on the video and sound to help us understand how people feel the beat in their social interactions.
As nicely articulated by Kaschak & Maner (2009) in the target article, the principle of embodied cognition is that nervous systems “evolved to allow organisms to successfully plan and execute action in the world”(p. 3). In other words, thinking is grounded in simulated physical experience, which informs our judgments and behaviors. The authors take a fresh approach in applying an evolutionary framework to the role of embodiment in social cognition, offering a rich basis for new research questions and hypotheses about how embodied cognition works. Our commentary explores three broad issues raised by the target article: (1) implications for the role of non-verbal communication in social cognition; (2) emotion as an important mechanism for embodied social cognition; and (3) the challenges of embodied cognition in an increasingly disembodied social world.
Priming or nonconscious activation of social knowledge structures has produced a plethora of rather amazing findings over the past 25 years: priming a single social concept such as aggressive can have multiple effects across a wide array of psychological systems, such as perception, motivation, behavior, and evaluation. But we may have reached childhood's end, so to speak, and need now to move on to research questions such as how these multiple effects of single primes occur (the generation problem); next, how these multiple simultaneous priming influences in the environment get distilled into nonconscious social action that has to happen serially, in real time (the reduction problem). It is suggested that models of complex conceptual structures (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980), language use in real-life conversational settings (Clark, 1996), and speech production (Dell, 1986) might hold the key for solving these two important 'second-generation' research problems.
In two everyday experience studies, we examined the degree to which everyday social comparisons are framed by group membership. In the first study, 30 undergraduates attending a public university in the United States completed short questionnaires about their social comparison experiences whenever they were signalled. In the second study, 34 ethnic minority undergraduates from the same university completed similar questionnaires about their social comparison experiences. Across both studies, comparisons in which participants viewed themselves as an ingroup member in comparison to an outgroup comprised less than 10% of the comparison experiences reported by participants. However, minorities in the second study who reported closer identification with their ethnic group reported more comparison experiences in which they mentioned their own or the comparison target's ethnicity.
It has long been a staple of psychological theory that early life experiences significantly shape the adult's understanding of and reactions to the social world. Here we consider how early concept development along with evolved motives operating early in life can come to exert a passive, unconscious influence on the human adult's higher-order goal pursuits, judgments, and actions. In particular, we focus on concepts and goal structures specialized for interacting with the physical environment (e.g., distance cues, temperature, cleanliness, and self-protection), which emerge early and automatically as a natural part of human development and evolution. It is proposed that via the process of scaffolding, these early sensorimotor experiences serve as the foundation for the later development of more abstract concepts and goals. Experiments using priming methodologies reveal the extent to which these early concepts serve as the analogical basis for more abstract psychological concepts, such that we come easily and naturally to speak of close relationships, warm personalities, moral purity, and psychological pain. Taken together, this research demonstrates the extent to which such foundational concepts are capable of influencing people's information processing, affective judgments, and goal pursuit, oftentimes outside of their intention or awareness.
Participants were exposed to the "asian disease" problem (Tversky & Kahneman, 1981). When the problem was subtly framed as a medical decision problem previous findings replicated: Participants avoided the risky option when the problem was framed positively, but preferred the risky option when the problem was framed negatively. This reversal of preferences was eliminated however, when the same problem was subtly introduced as a statistical problem. The results are interpreted as evidence for the impact of context cues on the representation of decision problems.
Using an analogue of the lawyer-and-engineer item (Kahneman & Tversky, 1973), we compared conditions in which base-rates were either presented as percentages (A), or frequencies (B), to conditions in which the natural sampling process was described additionally (C) or was directly experienced (D). We expected the likelihood of base-rate utilization to increase as the presentation approaches the process of natural sampling. Accordingly, results showed that the contingency of judgments on base-rates systematically increased across conditions A to D.
According to system justification theory, people are motivated to preserve the belief that existing social arrangements are fair, legitimate, and justifiable (Jost & Banaji, 1994). The strongest form of this hypothesis, which draws on the logic of cognitive dissonance theory, holds that people who are most disadvantaged by the status quo would have the greatest psychological need to reduce ideological dissonance and would therefore be most likely to support, defend, and justify existing social systems, authorities, and outcomes. Variations on this hypothesis were tested in four U.S. national survey studies. We found that: (a) low income respondents and African Americans were more likely than others to support limitations on the rights of citizens and media representatives to criticize the government (b) low income Latinos were more likely to trust in U.S. government officials and to believe that “the government is run for the benefit of all” than were high income Latinos, (c) Southerners in the U.S. were more likely to endorse meritocratic belief systems than were Northerners and poor and Southern African Americans were more likely to subscribe to meritocratic ideologies than were African Americans who were more affluent and from the North, (d) low income respondents and African Americans were more likely than others to believe that economic inequality is legitimate and necessary, and (e) stronger endorsement of meritocratic ideology was associated with greater satisfaction with one’s own economic situation. Taken together, these findings provide support for the dissonance-based argument that people who suffer the most from a given state of affairs are paradoxically the least likely to question, challenge, reject, or change it. Implications for theories of system justification, cognitive dissonance, and social change are also discussed.
This paper shows that increases in the minimum wage rate can have ambiguous effects on the working hours and welfare of employed workers in competitive labor markets. The reason is that employers may not comply with the minimum wage legislation and instead pay a lower subminimum wage rate. If workers are risk neutral, we prove that working hours and welfare are invariant to the minimum wage rate. If workers are risk averse and imprudent (which is the empirically likely case), then working hours decrease with the minimum wage rate, while their welfare may increase.
The relationship between level of depressive symptomatology and reliance on the ease-ofretrieval heuristic was investigated. In two studies, differences in ease-of-retrieval were instigated by means of the paradigm introduced by Schwarz and colleagues (1991). Subsequently, participants were screened for depressive symptoms with the ADS (Allgemeine-Depressions-Skala, Experiments 1 and 2) and the BDI (Beck-Depression-Inventory, Experiment 2). In both experiments, participants were randomly selected from a non-clinical population. Results indicate that participants with low levels of depressive symptomatology relied on experienced ease or difficulty, whereas individuals with high levels of depressive symptomatology based their judgment on the accessible content information. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.
This article deals with Lewin's early intentions to promote applied psychology, especially with his essay ‘Die Sozialisierung des Taylorsystems’ (The Socialisation of the Taylor System). The authors point out that certain characteristics of Lewin's social psychological approach can already be seen in this early article. Furthermore, they want to show how important the role of applied psychology has been in the development of Lewin S scientific work.
Snyder and Swann (1978) advance an argument that individuals display a cognitive bias in testing hypotheses about the personal attributes of other people, i.e. they seek out information which is supportive of their hypothesis (hypothesis-confirming strategy). It is argued here that these authors confound the hypothesis a person might entertain (belief) with a hypothesis the person is asked to test (assigned task). The findings of two experimental studies in which task and belief were manipulated independently suggest that Snyder and Swann's (1978) results are due to the task manipulation and not to an hypothesis-confirming bias.
This paper contains an investigation about research of Dutch social psychologists. Based on reported publications two types of analyses were performed. The reported publications were categorized by means of a topic-inventory proposed by Fisch and Daniel (1982), which enabled us to compare Dutch trends with developments in Europe and the U. S.A. Moreover, by means of bibliometric analyses publications of Dutch social psychologists were related to data obtained by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). Several trends were observed and discussed.
This paper examines the way in which different speakers may construe both the context and the categories involved in a single event. This is achieved through an analysis of Margaret Thatcher's and Neil Kinnock's leadership speeches to their respective party conferences during the British miners' strike of 1984–5. The analysis shows that both speakers construe the nature of the event such that their party is representative of an ingroup which encompasses almost the entire population and such that their policies are consonant with the definition of the ingroup identity. Thus their category constructions mirror the ways in which the respective leaders seek to mobilize the electorate during the strike. This analysis is used for two purposes: firstly, to argue for an integration of self-categorization theory with rhetorical/discursive psychologies and hence for further research into the ways in which self-categories may be contested in argument rather than determined by cognitive computations; secondly, to argue for further research into how political rhetoric may affect mass action through the ways in which collectivities are defined.
Does the mood of the time (Zeitgeist) facilitate the influence minorities are able to exercise, or is it itself direct product of minority influence? It is argued, from a social psychological definition of the minority–majority relation, that the former interpretation fails to explain many of the observed effects and in particular the conversion effect. A model is offered that is consistent with the second interpretation.
Three days prior to the 1993 Australian federal election 54 Australian university students who identified with one of the two major political parties were surveyed regarding their perceptions of media campaign impact on self and others. Results provided evidence of a third-person effect (Davison, 1983) wherein respondents judged others us more influenced by the election campaign than themselves. Consistent with predictions derived from social identity theory and self-categorization theory (e.g. Turner, Hogg, Oakes, Reicher and Wetherell, 1987), political ingroup members were also judged as less injuenced by campaign content than political outgroup members. Respondents who identified strongly with their preferred party judged self and ingroup members as less influenced by campaign content than did other respondents, and showed more evidence of positive intergroup differentiation. At the same time, however, these respondents exaggerated self–ingroup differences, challenging the theoretical assumption that intergroup diferentiation is associated with ingroup assimilation. Judgements of media impact on self and other also depended on the direction of the campaign message. Respondents believed ‘voters in general’ were persuaded in line with the intent of campaign content, while outgroup members were seen to be persuaded by material favouring their own side but to be uninfluenced by counter-attitudinal content. Election propaganda, irrespective of direction, was seen to amplify existing party preferences in self and ingroup members. Hence the relative invulnerability of self to media impact was pronounced when respondents judged the impact of pro-outgroup messages. Results suggest that perceptions of self–other differences in media vulnerability are influenced by the subjectively salient social relationship between self and other, and are governed by motivational needs, such as self-esteem, social-identity, and differentiation from others (cf. Brewer, 1991; Hogs and Abrams, 1993).
The effectiveness and validity of 11 important mood induction procedures (MIPs) were comparatively evaluated by meta-analytical procedures. Two hundred and fifty effects of the experimental induction of positive, elated and negative, depressed mood in adult, non-clinical samples were integrated. Effect sizes were generally larger for negative than for positive mood inductions. The presentation of a film or story turned out to be most effective in inducing both positive and negative mood states. The effects are especially large when subjects are explicitly instructed to enter the specified mood state. For elated mood, all other MIPs yielded considerably lower effectiveness scores. For the induction of negative mood states, Imagination, Velten, Music, Social Interaction and Feedback MIPs were about as effective as the Film/Story MIP without instruction. Induction effects covaried with several study characteristics. Effects tend to be smaller when demand characteristics are controlled or subjects are not informed about the purpose of the experiment. For behavioural measures, effects are smaller than for self-reports but still larger than zero. Hence, the effects of MIPs can be partly, but not fully due to demand effects.
Seven experiments were conducted which measured changes in the subjects' actual performance resulting from manipulated personal and categorical comparison of performance with another subject. In line with Festinger's (1954) theory of social comparison of ability, it was found that subjects who were visually isolated from sources of evaluation (setting 2, experiment 2 and 3) showed relatively low performance after a VI (very inferior) or VS (very superior) outcome and relatively high performance after an EQ (equal) outcome, whereas subjects who were visually exposed to sources of evaluation (setting 1, experiment 1 and 4) showed relatively low performance only after a VS outcome and relatively high performance after both a VI and EQ outcome. When (also in setting 1) the manipulation of outcome was combined with a manipulation of expectation (experiment 5), it was found that an EQ expectation did not alter the original pattern of outcome effects, but that a VI or VS expectation markedly influenced the effect of outcome: A complete confirmation of VI expectation and an almost complete disconfirmation of VS expectation resulted in relatively high performance, whereas all other combinations of VI or VS expectation with a given outcome resulted in relatively low performance. Finally, it was found that changing the manipulation of personal comparison of performance of the previous experiments into a manipulation of categorical comparison of performance of the previous experiments into a manipulation of categorical comparison of performance (experiment 6a and 6b) resulted in a pattern of data wich was about the opposite of the typical previous pattern. In setting 1 (experiment 6a), the subjects' performance was relatively low after being categorized into a VI or EQ category and relatively high after being categorized into a VS category, whereas in setting 2 (experiment 6b) both the VI and VS categorization resulted in the same performance and the EQ categorzation resulted in a slightly lower performance.
This study focuses on the strength of the relationship between behavioural intentions and actual behaviour in a multi-alternative choice context. Two separate moderating processes of intention-behaviour consistency were hypothesized, i.e. the amount of reasoning during intention formation, and the degree of confidence in the intention. Involvement (as an issue-specific factor), and need for cognition (as an individual difference factor) were investigated as antecedents of amount of reasoning. confidence in the intention was predicted from the size of the consideration set (i.e. the number of alternatives that one considers for choice), and involvement. The study comprised a longitudinal two-wave survey conducted before and after national elections in The Netherlands, in which pre-election voting intentions were compared with actual voting behaviour. A high degree of intention-behaviour consistency was found, which was significantly related to both amount of reasoning and confidence. The expected relations were found. The results extend current process models of attitude–behaviour relations. Furthermore, the results indicate that processes related to the consideration set size and content account for variance in intention-behaviour consistency in choice contexts that cannot be accounted for by traditional attitude-behaviour perspectives.
This study examined the effects of feedback on a task on information seeking and partner preferences as forms of social comparison. It was predicted that subjects who experienced failure and perceived control over future performance would, for reasons of self-improvement, choose more strongly upward a comparison other than subjects who experienced success or perceived no control. In the experiment, 121 college students were given either failure, average, or success feedback on a bogus test for either a stable or a controllable ability. Next, the subjects choose a comparison other whose test material they would examine, and a comparison other as a partner for writing an evaluation of the test. As predicted, the preferences for information seeking and affiliation were more strongly upward when subjects experienced failure than when subjects experienced success. Perceived control partly resulted in more strongly upward choices in information seeking for subjects experiencing failure.
An experiment was conducted within a new paradigm for Festinger's theory of dissonance (1957): the double forced compliance paradigm (Joule, 1986a). Double compliance was used to test dissonance reduction following the execution of not just one, as in the classical paradigm, but two forced compliance behaviours. The first behaviour involved abstinence from smoking, and the second, writing a text for or against smoking. Based on the radical conception of the theory of dissonance (Beauvois and Joule, 1981; Joule, 1986b), subjects were expected to find tobacco deprivation more difficult after having written a text against smoking than before, and easier after having written a text in favour of smoking. The results confirmed these predictions.
In this reply, I criticize Bartsch and Judd's (1993) article on several grounds. First, they under-utilize the efforts undertaken in prior work to rule out the possibility of an inverse relation between group size and perceived group homogeneity as an alternative explanation of the observed ingroup homogeneity effect. Secondly, Bartsch and Judd's design doubles and thus aggravates the confounding problem. By trying to avoid the target group size confound, they end up with two other confounds involving level of abstractness and frame of reference. Finally, I criticize Bartsch and Judd's methodological advice to avoid within-subjects comparisons of ingroup and outgroup homogeneity in minority–majority contexts. Quite on the contrary, I highlight the socialpsychological significance of these comparisons.
Examined the prevalence of an interpersonal device (i.e., insult types) in a collectivistic and individualistic cultural context as an index of how the concept of person is culturally constructed. Insults were divided into 3 general categories: individualistic (those that refer directly to people), relational (those that refer to people and their significant relations), and swear words. An examination of the insults which 90 Italian university students produced showed that in the collectivistic context, instances of verbal abuse were significantly more likely to be directed to people and their relations than in the individualistic context. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Thirty seven academics participated in a field study in which perceptions of the size and attributes of a majority and minority group were obtained. (The groups concerned were male and female academics at a British university). These observations were used to examine the phenomenon of illusory correlation, and to test hypotheses concerning the perceived homogeneity and competence of ingroup and outgroup in majority-minority contexts. To test for the illusory correlation effect estimates of the numbers of male and female senior staff were elicited. These estimates were consistently inaccurate, producing a lower perceived correlation between gender and seniority than actually existed. Measures of intragroup homogeneity revealed that, as predicted from previous research, members of the minority group saw their own group as more homogeneous than the outgroup. For majorty group members the reverse was true. The intergroup evaluations generally favoured the minority group; this was especially evident in the evaluations from the minority group members themselves. Possible explanations of these findings and their correspondence with those obtained from laboratory research are discussed.