Blanton, Jaccard, Gonzales, and Christie (BJGC, 2006) assert that the Implicit Association Test (IAT) imposes a model that portrays relative preferences as the additive difference between single attitudes. This assertion is misplaced because relative preferences do not necessarily reduce to component attitudes. BJGC also assume that the IAT conditions represent two indicators of the same construct. This assumption is incorrect, and is the cause of their poor-fitting models. The IAT, like other experimental paradigms, contrasts performance between interdependent conditions, and cannot be reduced to component parts. This is true whether calculating a simple difference between conditions, or using the IAT D score. D - an individual effect size that is monotonically related to Cohen's d - codifies the interdependency between IAT conditions. When their unjustified psychometric assumptions are replaced with plausible assumptions, the models fit their data very well, and basis for their poor-fitting models becomes clear.
Labels exert strong influence on perception and judgment. The present experiment examines the possibility that such effects may persist even when labels are abandoned. Participants judged the similarity of pairs of silhouette drawings of female body types, ordered on a continuum from very thin to very heavy, under conditions where category labels were, and were not, superimposed on the ordered stimuli. Consistent with earlier research, labels had strong effects on perceived similarity, with silhouettes sharing the same label judged as more similar than those having different labels. Moreover, when the labels were removed and no longer present, the effect of the labels, although diminished, persisted. It did not make any difference whether the labels were simply abandoned or, in addition, had their validity challenged. The results are important for our understanding of categorization and labeling processes. The potential theoretical and practical implications of these results for social processes are discussed.
The accessibility of stored knowledge has been found to decline over time after activation without further stimulation. A special case is goal pursuit; goal-related knowledge remains accessible until goal completion, and then its accessibility declines rapidly. We hypothesized that after goal completion the decline in accessibility of goal-related knowledge would be especially rapid for strong promotion-focused individuals because their motivation to eagerly advance beyond the status quo would make accessibility of this knowledge an irrelevant detriment. We hypothesized an opposite effect for strongly prevention-predominant individuals because their motivation to vigilantly maintain a satisfactory state would make accessibility of this knowledge continually relevant. The results of two studies supported both these predicted moderators of accessibility change. Indeed, we found that for strongly prevention-predominant participants, knowledge accessibility actually increased over time after goal completion. We discuss how even basic cognitive mechanisms, like changes in accessibility, can be affected by general motivational concerns.
An experimental study tests if people's hostility after experiencing rejection is partly explained by the degree to which they had initially suppressed their own feelings and beliefs to please the source of rejection. This hypothesis emerges from the literatures on women's self-silencing and that on rejection-sensitivity, which has documented that rejection-sensitive women show strong responses to rejection, but are also likely to self-silence to please their partners. An online dating paradigm examined if this self-silencing drives post-rejection hostility among women. Participants were given the opportunity to read about a potential dating partner before meeting that person, and were randomly assigned to one of 3 experimental conditions that resulted in rejection from the potential date or from another dater. Self-silencing was captured as the suppression of tastes and opinions that clashed with those of the prospective partner. Self-silencing moderated the effect of rejection on hostility: Self-silencing to the prospective partner was associated with greater post-rejection hostility among women, but not men. Self-silencing to someone other than the rejecter was not predictive of hostility. Women's dispositional rejection-sensitivity predicted greater hostility after rejection, and self-silencing mediated this association. Efforts to secure acceptance through accommodation may help explain the paradoxical tendency of some people to show strong rejection-induced hostility toward those whose acceptance they have sought.
In social psychological models of goals, particular means or goals that receive more activation are pursued while their counterparts are "inhibited." To account for inhibition, these theories emphasize structural distribution of resources and the consequences of goal or means choices. Absent are alternate accounts of inhibition based on memory processes that rely on retrieval or recall of items. We propose that the act of recalling means or goals from memory entails inhibition of competing alternatives. Two experiments using repeated retrieval paradigms present evidence that recalling one means associated with a particular goal inhibits competing means. Moreover, this inhibitory mechanism is sensitive to the structural relationship of goals and means. Implications for models of inhibition in goal pursuit are discussed.
This paper examines the emergence of behavioral synchrony among strangers in the context of self-disclosure, and their path in predicting interaction quality. Specifically, we hypothesize that behavioral synchrony mediates the direct effect of self-disclosure on the development of embodied rapport. Same-sex stranger pairs (n=94) were randomly assigned to a videorecorded self-disclosure or control condition, and afterward each member rated their social interaction. Following the procedure used by Bernieri, Reznick, & Rosenthal (1988), two trained judges independently watched each video record and rated each pair interaction on behavioral synchrony. Bootstrapping analyses provide support for the hypothesized mediating effect of behavioral synchrony, which emerged as independent of the effects of self-other overlap and positive affect. The authors discuss implications of behavioral synchrony for relationship formation processes and the inevitable entwinement of behavior and judgments in light of embodied cognition.
Many White Americans are concerned about appearing prejudiced. How these concerns affect responses during actual interracial interactions, however, remains understudied. The present work examines stress responses to interracial contact-both in the moment, during interracial interactions (Study 1), and over time as individuals have repeated interracial contact (Study 2). Results of Study 1 revealed that concerns about appearing prejudiced were associated with heightened stress responses during interracial encounters (Study 1). White participants concerned about appearing prejudiced exhibited significant increases in cortisol "stress hormone" levels as well as increases in anxious behavior during interracial but not same-race contact. Participants relatively unconcerned about appearing prejudiced did not exhibit these stress responses. Study 2 examined stress responses to interracial contact over an entire academic year. Results revealed that White participants exhibited shifts in cortisol diurnal rhythms on days after interracial contact. Moreover, participants' cortisol rhythms across the academic year, from fall to spring, were related to their concerns about appearing prejudiced and their interracial contact experiences. Taken together, these data offer the first evidence that chronic concerns about appearing prejudiced are related to short- and longer-term stress responses to interracial contact. Implications for life in diverse spaces are discussed.
With recent growth in the use of personal webpages and online social networking, people are changing the way that they meet and form impressions of each other. The current research examines the correspondence in impressions formed from face-to-face interaction and personal webpages. As expected, people liked by interaction partners were also liked on the basis of their Facebook((R)) pages. Across the two social mediums, social perceivers utilized analogous criteria in forming impressions: interaction partners and webpage viewers liked people who were socially expressive in face-to-face interaction and personal webpages, respectively. Finally, webpage expressivity and webpage self-disclosure were independent constructs, predictive of face-to-face counterparts: nonverbal expressivity and verbal self-disclosure. Implications for the changing landscape of social perception are discussed.
In three studies we examined whether the anticipation of group-based guilt, shame and anger predicts the desire to undertake collective action against a proposed ingroup transgression. In Studies 1 (N = 179) and 2 (N = 186), the relation between appraising a proposed ingroup transgression as illegitimate and collective action was mediated (or partially mediated) by anticipated group-based shame and anger. In Study 3 (N = 128) participants with high self-investment group identification were less willing to engage in collective action against the prospective ingroup transgression when aversive anticipated group-based emotions were made salient. This effect was mediated by anticipated group-based shame. We discuss the implications of these results with regard to collective action and the morality of intergroup behavior.
The attribution of personal traits to other persons depends on the actions the observer performs at the same time (Bach & Tipper, 2007). Here, we show that the effect reflects a misattribution of appraisals of the observers' own actions to the actions of others. We exploited spatial compatibility effects to manipulate how fluently-how fast and how accurately-participants identified two individuals performing sporty or academic actions. The traits attributed to each person in a subsequent rating task depended on the fluency of participants' responses in a specific manner. An individual more fluently identified while performing the academic action appeared more academic and less sporty. An individual more fluently identified while performing the sporty action appeared sportier. Thus, social perception is-at least partially-embodied. The ease of our own responses can be misattributed to the actions of others, affecting which personal traits are attributed to them.
Building on the assumption that interpersonal similarity is a form of social distance, the current research examines the manner in which similarity influences the representation and judgment of others' actions. On the basis of a construal level approach, we hypothesized that greater levels of similarity would increase the relative weight of subordinate and secondary features of information in judgments of others' actions. The results of four experiments showed that compared to corresponding judgments of a dissimilar target, participants exposed to a similar target person identified that person's actions in relatively more subordinate means-related rather than superordinate ends-related terms (Experiment 1), perceived his or her actions to be determined more by feasibility and less by desirability concerns (Experiment 3), and gave more weight to secondary aspects in judgments of the target's decisions (Experiment 2) and performance (Experiment 4). Implications for the study of interpersonal similarity, as well as social distance in general, are discussed.
This research explored age-related changes in drawing stereotypic inferences during the comprehension of narrative texts. Previous research suggests that declines in inhibitory function can lead older adults to rely more on stereotypes and be more prejudiced than younger adults, even in the face of a desire to be non-prejudiced. In two experiments reported here, younger and older adults read stories that allowed for stereotypic inferences. Older adults were less likely to inhibit stereotypic inferences as measured by recognition measures and lexical decision times. A third control experiment verified that the results of the lexical decision task were not due to a priori response biases for the specific target words. Overall, older adults were more likely to make and maintain stereotypic inferences than younger adults, potentially causing them to be more prejudiced than younger adults.
In a series of three investigations we examined people's anticipation of, actual experiences in, and subsequent recollection of meaningful life events: a trip to Europe, a Thanksgiving vacation, and a 3-week bicycle trip in California. The results of all three studies supported the hypothesis that people's expectations of personal events are more positive than their actual experience during the event itself, and their subsequent recollection of that event is more positive than the actual experience. The "rosy view" phenomenon is associated with an increase in the number of negative thoughts during the event which seem to be caused by distractions, disappointment, and a less positive view of the self. However, these effects are short-lived; within days after the event, people have much more positive evaluations of the event. We discuss alternative interpretations for our findings and implications for group and organizational settings.
In four studies, we report evidence that admiration affects intergroup behaviors that regulate social hierarchy. We demonstrate that manipulating the legitimacy of status relations affects admiration for the dominant and that this emotion negatively predicts political action tendencies aimed at social change. In addition, we show that greater warmth and competence lead to greater admiration for an outgroup, which in turn positively predicts deferential behavior and intergroup learning. We also demonstrate that, for those with a disposition to feel admiration, increasing admiration for an outgroup decreases willingness to take political action against that outgroup. Finally, we show that when the object of admiration is a subversive "martyr," admiration positively predicts political action tendencies and behavior aimed at challenging the status quo. These findings provide the first evidence for the important role of admiration in regulating social hierarchy.
Participants in our study worked on an anagram task to win a prize while aversive noise played in the background. They were instructed to deal with the noise either by "opposing" it as an interference or by "coping" with the unpleasant feelings it created. The strength of attention to the opposing or coping response to adversity was measured by poorer recognition of the content of the background noise. For the "opposing" participants, it was predicted that the more they attended to opposing the interference, they stronger they would engage in solving the anagrams to win the prize, which would increase the prize's value. For the "coping" participants, it was predicted that the more they attended to coping with their unpleasant feelings, the weaker they would engage in solving the anagrams to win the prize, which would decrease the prize's value. The results supported both predictions.
People are often motivated to reach self-serving conclusions during judgment. This article examines how such self-serving judgment outcomes are influenced by preferences for different judgment strategies. Two studies tested how preferences for eager (promotion-oriented) versus vigilant (prevention-oriented) judgment strategies affected self-serving explanations for success or failure. Regardless of their performance, those preferring vigilant strategies selectively endorsed a few explanations above others, whereas those preferring eager strategies more evenly endorsed multiple explanations. Furthermore, although the explanations selected by those preferring vigilant strategies were indeed self-serving (emphasizing personal responsibility for success and external circumstances for failure), the more balanced endorsement of multiple explanations by those preferring eager strategies was associated with attenuated self-serving tendencies. Finally, those preferring eager strategies were also less self-serving in their generalization from explanations of current performance to predictions of future performance. The larger implications of these findings for the role of strategic preferences in judgment are discussed.
It is proposed that people are motivated to feel hard to replace in romantic relationships because feeling irreplaceable fosters trust in a partner's continued responsiveness. By contrast, feeling replaceable motivates compensatory behavior aimed at strengthening the partner's commitment to the relationship. A correlational study of dating couples and 2 experiments examined how satiating/thwarting the goal of feeling irreplaceable differentially affects relationship perception and behavior for low and high self-esteem people. The results revealed that satiating the goal of feeling irreplaceable increases trust for people low in self-esteem. In contrast, thwarting the goal of feeling irreplaceable increases compensatory behaviors meant to prove one's indispensability for people high in self-esteem.
The present paper investigated the effects of direct and indirect experience on the production of affective and cognitive responses. In Study 1, we hypothesized that direct experience with an attitude object would tend to produce more affective reactions than indirect experience with the object and, alternatively, that indirect experience would produce more cognitive reactions than indirect experience with the object. To test this, participants were given either a direct or an indirect experience with a set of puzzles and then required to indicate their reactions to the puzzles. As predicted, direct experience produced more affective reactions and indirect experience produced more cognitive reactions. In Study 2, we hypothesized that attitudes produced after direct experience would predict consummatory behavior better than instrumental behavior and that attitudes produced after indirect experience would do the opposite. Again the results supported the hypothesis. In Study 3, we hypothesized that attitude accessibility mediates the relationships found in Study 2. That is, in a consummatory situation attitudes formed through direct experience are more assessable that attitudes formed through indirect experience. The results supported the hypothesis.
This paper provides the first demonstration that the content of what a talker says is sufficient to imbue the acoustics of his voice with affective meaning. In two studies, participants listened to male talkers utter positive, negative, or neutral words. Next, participants completed a sequential evaluative priming task where a neutral word spoken by one of the same talkers was presented before each target word to be evaluated. We predicted, and found, that voices served as evaluative primes that influenced the speed with which participants evaluated the target words. These two experiments demonstrate that the human voice can take on affective meaning merely based on the positive or negative value of the words uttered by that voice. Implications for affective processing, the pragmatics of communication, and person-perception are discussed.
It seems obvious that what you see influences what you feel, but what if the opposite were also true? What if how you feel can shape your visual experience? In this experiment, we demonstrate that the affective state of a perceiver influences the contents of visual awareness. Participants received positive, negative, and neutral affect inductions and then completed a series of binocular rivalry trials in which a face (smiling, scowling or neutral) was presented to one eye and a house to the other. The percepts "competed" for dominance in visual consciousness. We found, as predicted, that all faces (smiling, scowling, and neutral) were dominant for longer when perceivers experienced unpleasant affect compared to when they were in a neutral state (a social vigilance effect), although scowling faces increased their dominance when perceivers felt unpleasant (a relative negative congruence effect). Relatively speaking, smiling faces increased their dominance more when perceivers were experiencing pleasant affect (a positive congruence effect). These findings illustrate that the affective state of a perceiver serves as a context that influences the contents of consciousness.
Previous research suggests that affirming one's important values is a powerful way of protecting one's general self integrity, allowing non-defensive processing of self-relevant information. In a series of four studies linking self-affirmation with construal level, we find that in addition to any self buffering effect, thinking about one's values and why they are important more generally shifts cognitive processing towards superordinate and structured thinking. Self-affirmation leads participants to perceive a greater degree of structure within their selves (Study 1), to increasingly identify actions in terms of their endstates (Study 2), to more strongly distinguish between primary and secondary object features (Study 3) and to perform better on tasks requiring abstract, structured thinking than those requiring detail-oriented, concrete thinking. Together, these findings suggest that thinking about important values helps individuals to structure information and focus on the big picture.
A model of the role and costs of contingent self-worth in the partner-affirmation process was tested. Actors whose self-worth was contingent on appearance or intelligence claimed to have expressed their particular heightened sensitivity to their romantic partners. Suggesting a cost to these reactions, actors' beliefs about having expressed heightened sensitivity, in turn, predicted their doubts about the authenticity of partners' positive feedback in the domain of contingency, independently of whether partners claimed to deliver inauthentic feedback. Suggesting a cost for partners, partners of contingent actors appeared to detect actors' expressions of sensitivity in the domain of contingency and respond by delivering inauthentic feedback to actors in the domain, which in turn predicted partners' increased relationship anxiety and decreased satisfaction. Results suggest that contingent self-worth may undermine the functioning of the partner-affirmation process through actors discrediting partners' positive feedback and partners behaving in an inauthentic and controlled manner.
The failure to consider the future consequences of one's behavior is a major risk factor for aggression. Aggressive people tend to act first, and think later. Some people focus on the -here and now rather than on the future, a tendency measured by the Consideration of Future Consequences (CFC) scale (Strathman, Gleicher, Boninger, & Edwards, 1994). Alcohol intoxication is a neuro-biological variable that produces similar effects. Participants in the present experiment completed the CFC scale and then consumed either an alcohol or a placebo beverage. Next, they competed against a same-sex ostensible partner on an interpersonally adversarial competitive task in which the winner could administer electric shocks to the loser (the aggression measure). As expected, aggression was highest in intoxicated persons with low CFC scores. Being unconcerned about the future consequences of one's actions, in conjunction with acute alcohol intoxication, combine in a pernicious manner to increase aggression.
Prior research shows that social rejection elicits aggression. In this study, we investigated whether this is moderated by individual differences in Rejection Sensitivity (RS) - a processing disposition to anxiously expect, readily perceive and overreact to rejection. Participants (N = 129) took part in a purported web-based social interaction in which they were either rejected or not by a potential partner. Subsequently, they were given the opportunity to allocate hot sauce to the perpetrator, knowing that he/she disliked spicy food. Amount of hot sauce was used as a behavioral index of aggression. Participants in the rejection condition allocated more hot sauce to the perpetrator than those in the control condition. However, RS moderated this effect such that rejection elicited aggression in high but not in low RS people. These results held after controlling for trait neuroticism. Implications of these findings for understanding how and why rejection elicits aggression are discussed.
Most people avoid the "big, drunk guy" in bars because they don't want to get assaulted. Is this stereotype supported by empirical evidence? Unfortunately, no scientific work has investigated this topic. Based on the recalibrational theory of anger and embodied cognition theory, we predicted that heavier men would behave the most aggressively when intoxicated. In two independent experiments (Ns= 553 and 327, respectively), participants consumed either alcohol or placebo beverages and then completed an aggression task in which they could administer painful electric shocks to a fictitious opponent. Both experiments showed that weight interacted with alcohol and gender to predict the highest amount of aggression among intoxicated heavy men. The results suggest that an embodied cognition approach is useful in understanding intoxicated aggression. Apparently there is a kernel of truth in the stereotype of the "big, drunk, aggressive guy."
Two experiments examined the hypothesis that social rejection and perceived groupness function together to produce multiple-victim incidents of aggression. When a rejecter's group membership is salient during an act of rejection, the rejectee ostensibly associates the rejecter's group with rejection and retaliates against the group. Both experiments manipulated whether an aggregate of three persons appeared as separate individuals or members of an entity-like group and whether one of those persons rejected the participant. Consistent with the hypothesis, participants who experienced both rejection and perceived groupness behaved more aggressively against the aggregate (Experiment 1) and evidenced less favorable affective associations toward the aggregate (Experiment 2) than did participants who did not experience both rejection and perceived groupness.
Previous research has shown that alcohol consumption can increase the expression of race bias by impairing control-related processes. The current study tested whether simple exposure to alcohol-related images can also increase bias, but via a different mechanism. Participants viewed magazine ads for either alcoholic or nonalcoholic beverages prior to completing Payne's (2001) Weapons Identification Task (WIT). As predicted, participants primed with alcohol ads exhibited greater race bias in the WIT than participants primed with neutral beverages. Process dissociation analyses indicated that these effects were due to automatic (relative to controlled) processes having a larger influence on behavior among alcohol-primed relative to neutral-primed participants. Structural equation modeling further showed that the alcohol-priming effect was mediated by increases in the influence of automatic associations on behavior. These data suggest an additional pathway by which alcohol can potentially harm inter-racial interactions, even when no beverage is consumed.
A 30-day daily diary study examined the relations among implicit self-esteem, interpersonal interactions, and alcohol consumption in college students. Multilevel analyses revealed that students with low implicit self-esteem drank more on days when they experienced more negative interpersonal interactions. In contrast, students with high implicit self-esteem drank more on days when they experienced more positive interpersonal interactions. Spending time with people who were drinking mediated both the low implicit self-esteem by negative interpersonal events interaction and the high implicit self-esteem by positive interpersonal events interaction. These findings suggest that people with low implicit self-esteem may unintentionally drink as a way to regulate unfulfilled needs for acceptance. On the other hand, people with high implicit self-esteem may drink as a way to enhance positive interpersonal experiences.
Four studies (N = 643) supported the hypothesis that social exclusion would reduce the global perception of life as meaningful. Social exclusion was manipulated experimentally by having a confederate refuse to meet participants after seeing their videotaped introduction (Study 1) and by ostracizing participants in a computerized ball-tossing game (Study 2). Compared to control condition and acceptance conditions, social exclusion led to perceiving life as less meaningful. Exclusion was also operationalized as self-reported loneliness, which was a better predictor of low meaning than other potent variables (Study 3). Study 4 found support for Baumeister's model of meaning (1991), by demonstrating that the effect of exclusion on meaning was mediated by purpose, value, and positive self-worth.
Three studies examined the implicit evaluative associations activated by racially-ambiguous Black-White faces. In the context of both Black and White faces, Study 1 revealed a graded pattern of bias against racially-ambiguous faces that was weaker than the bias to Black faces but stronger than that to White faces. Study 2 showed that significant bias was present when racially-ambiguous faces appeared in the context of only White faces, but not in the context of only Black faces. Study 3 demonstrated that context produces perceptual contrast effects on racial-prototypicality judgments. Racially-ambiguous faces were perceived as more prototypically Black in a White-only than mixed-race context, and less prototypically Black in a Black-only context. Conversely, they were seen as more prototypically White in a Black-only than mixed context, and less prototypically White in a White-only context. The studies suggest that both race-related featural properties within a face (i.e., racial ambiguity) and external contextual factors affect automatic evaluative associations.
Previous research has found that ambivalence is an important characteristic of attitudes toward minority groups. In the present research, we determined whether people who are ambivalent toward a minority group exhibit more systematic processing of persuasive messages pertaining to the group than do people who are not ambivalent toward the group. To test this hypothesis, we measured 113 participants' ambivalence toward Oriental people. After a delay, the participants were presented with a persuasive message that contained either strong or weak arguments in favor of immigration from Hong Kong. We examined the effects of the persuasive message on agreement with immigration from Hong Kong, attitudes toward residents of Hong Kong, and immigration-relevant thoughts. In accordance with our hypothesis that ambivalence leads to systematic processing, we predicted first that the strong message would cause ambivalent participants to be more favorable toward residents of Hong Kong and toward their immigration from Hong Kong than would the weak message; this tendency was expected to be weaker among nonambivalent participants. Second, we predicted that the effect of message strength on ambivalent participants' agreement with immigration from Hong Kong would be mediated by their immigration-relevant thoughts. Results indicated support for both predictions.
Despite a decline in explicit prejudice, adults and children from majority groups (e.g., White Americans) often express bias implicitly, as assessed by the Implicit Association Test. In contrast, minority-group (e.g., Black American) adults on average show no bias on the IAT. In the present research, representing the first empirical investigation of whether Black children's IAT responses parallel those of Black adults, we examined implicit bias in 7-11-year-old White and Black American children. Replicating previous findings with adults, whereas White children showed a robust ingroup bias, Black children showed no bias. Additionally, we investigated the role of valuing status in the development of implicit bias. For Black children, explicit preference for high status predicted implicit outgroup bias: Black children who explicitly expressed high preference for rich (vs. poor) people showed an implicit preference for Whites comparable in magnitude to White children's ingroup bias. Implications for research on intergroup bias are discussed.
When anger or happiness flashes on a face in the crowd, do we misperceive that emotion as belonging to someone else? Two studies found that misperception of apparent emotional expressions - "illusory conjunctions" - depended on the gender of the target: male faces tended to "grab" anger from neighboring faces, and female faces tended to grab happiness. Importantly, the evidence did not suggest that this effect was due to the general tendency to misperceive male or female faces as angry or happy, but instead indicated a more subtle interaction of expectations and early visual processes. This suggests a novel aspect of affordance-management in human perception, whereby cues to threat, when they appear, are attributed to those with the greatest capability of doing harm, whereas cues to friendship are attributed to those with the greatest likelihood of providing affiliation opportunities.
Members of stigmatized groups are at increased risk for mental health problems, and recent research has suggested that emotion dysregulation may be one mechanism explaining the stigma-distress association. However, little is known regarding characteristics that predict vulnerabilities to emotion dysregulation and subsequent distress. We examined whether anti-gay attitudes would predict poorer emotion regulation and greater psychological distress in 31 lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) respondents. Respondents completed implicit and explicit attitude measures at baseline, and participated in an experience sampling study examining stigma-related stressors, emotion regulation strategies, and mood over the course of ten days. Implicit and explicit attitude measures were not correlated. LGB respondents with greater implicit anti-gay attitudes engaged in significantly more rumination and suppression and reported more psychological distress. Rumination fully mediated the prospective association between implicit prejudicial attitudes and psychological distress, and suppression was a marginally significant mediator.
Growing evidence indicates that religious belief helps individuals to cope with stress and anxiety. But is this effect specific to supernatural beliefs, or is it a more general function of belief - including belief in science? We developed a measure of belief in science and conducted two experiments in which we manipulated stress and existential anxiety. In Experiment 1, we assessed rowers about to compete (high-stress condition) and rowers at a training session (low-stress condition). As predicted, rowers in the high-stress group reported greater belief in science. In Experiment 2, participants primed with mortality (vs. participants in a control condition) reported greater belief in science. In both experiments, belief in science was negatively correlated with religiosity. Thus, some secular individuals may use science as a form of "faith" that helps them to deal with stressful and anxiety-provoking situations.
This research examined the benefits of interpreting physiological arousal as a challenge response on practice and actual Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. Participants who were preparing to take the GRE reported to the laboratory for a practice GRE study. Participants assigned to a reappraisal condition were told arousal improves performance, whereas control participants were not given this information. We collected saliva samples at baseline and after the appraisal manipulation, which were then assayed for salivary alpha amylase (sAA), a measure of sympathetic nervous system activation. Reappraisal participants exhibited a significant increase in sAA and outperformed controls on the GRE-math section. One to three months later, participants returned to the lab and provided their score reports from their actual GRE. Again, reappraisal participants scored higher than controls on the GRE-math section. These findings illuminate the powerful influence appraisal has on physiology and performance both in and out of the laboratory.
This study examined the extent to which perceptions of partner suffering mediate the association between attachment insecurity (anxiety and avoidance) and personal distress among spouses of older adults with osteoarthritis. Fifty-three spouses watched two videos of targets (their partner and an opposite sex stranger) perform a pain-eliciting household task, and spouses were asked to rate their own distress and perceptions of the targets' pain. Spouses also completed self-report measures of trait attachment. Results revealed that attachment anxiety was associated with greater personal distress in reaction to the partner's suffering, and heightened perceptions of partner pain mediated this association. Avoidant attachment was associated with less distress in reaction to the partner's suffering, but not with less perceived pain. The results of this study identify an important mechanism linking attachment insecurity and heightened distress responses when observing the suffering of a significant other.
The present research investigated the extent to which the stereotype that young Black men are threatening and dangerous has become so robust and ingrained in the collective American unconscious that Black men now capture attention, much like evolved threats such as spiders and snakes. Specifically, using a dot-probe detection paradigm, White participants revealed biased attention toward Black faces relative to White faces (Study 1). Because the faces were presented only briefly (30-ms), the bias is thought to reflect the early engagement of attention. The attentional bias was eliminated, however, when the faces displayed averted eye-gaze (Study 2). That is, when the threat communicated by the Black faces was attenuated by a relevant, competing socio-emotional cue- in this case, averted eye-gaze-they no longer captured perceivers' attention. Broader implications for social cognition, as well as public policies that reify these prevailing perceptions of young Black men are discussed.
The unfavorable treatment of people with physical disfigurements is well-documented, yet little is known about basic perceptual and cognitive responses to disfigurement. Here, we identify a specialized pattern of cognitive processing consistent with the hypothesis that disfigurements act as heuristic cues to contagious disease. Disfigurements are often invariant across time and difficult to conceal, and thus observers can detect the presence of such cues without necessarily remembering the particular individuals bearing these cues. Indeed, despite the fact that disfigured faces were especially likely to hold disease-sensitive perceivers' attention (Study 1), disfigured individuals were often confused with one another and thus not well remembered later (Study 2), revealing a disjunction of the typical relationship between elevated attention and elevated memory. We discuss the implications of our results for stigmatization of people with and without physical abnormalities and suggest the possibility that cognitive mechanisms for processing social information may be functionally tuned to the variant nature of important cues.
A number of studies have found a disjunction between women's attention to, and memory for, handsome men. Although women pay initial attention to handsome men, they do not remember those men later. The present study examines how ovulation might differentially affect these attentional and memory processes. We found that women near ovulation increased their visual attention to attractive men. However, this increased visual attention did not translate into better memory. Discussion focuses on possible explanations, in the context of an emerging body of findings on disjunctions between attention to, and memory for, other people.
In two experiments, we investigated the relationships among stereotype strength, processing capacity, and the allocation of attention to stereotype-consistent versus stereotype-inconsistent information describing a target person. The results of both experiments showed that, with full capacity, greater stereotype strength was associated with increased attention toward stereotype-consistent versus stereotype-inconsistent information. However, when capacity was diminished, greater stereotype strength was associated with increased attention toward inconsistent versus consistent information. Thus, strong stereotypes may act as self-confirming filters when processing capacity is plentiful, but as efficient information gathering devices that maximize the acquisition of novel (disconfirming) information when capacity is depleted. Implications for models of stereotyping and stereotype change are discussed.
People cope with social exclusion both by seeking reconnection with familiar individuals and by denigrating unfamiliar and disliked others. These reactions can be seen as adaptive responses in ancestral environments where ostracism exposed people to physical dangers and even death. To the extent that reactions to ostracism evolved to minimize exposure to danger, alleviating these foundational concerns with danger may lessen people's need to cope with exclusion. Three studies demonstrate how a novel physical invulnerability simulation lessens both positive and negative reactions to social exclusion. Study 1 found that simulating physical invulnerability lessened exclusion-triggered negative attitudes toward stigmatized groups, and demonstrated that perceived invulnerability to injury (vs. imperviousness to pain) accounted for this effect. Studies 2 and 3 focused on another facet of social bias by revealing that simulating physical invulnerability lessened the desire for social connection.
Three studies examined how the use of the present versus the past tense in recalling a past experience influences behavioral intentions. Experiment 1 revealed a stronger influence of past behaviors on drinking intentions when participants self-reported an episode of excessive drinking using the present tense. Correspondingly, there was a stronger influence of attitudes towards excessive drinking when participants self-reported the episode in the past tense. Experiments 2 and 3 liked this effect to changes in construal level (Liberman, Trope, & Stephan, 2007; Trope & Liberman, 2003), with the present tense being similar to a concrete construal level and the past tense being similar to an abstract construal level.
Distinct automatic and controlled processes are presumed to influence social evaluation. Most empirical approaches examine automatic processes using indirect methods, and controlled processes using direct methods. We distinguished processes from measurement methods to test whether a process distinction is more useful than a measurement distinction for taxonomies of attitudes. Results from two studies suggest that automatic components of attitudes can be measured directly. Direct measures of automatic attitudes were reports of gut reactions (Study 1) and behavioral performance in a speeded self-report task (Study 2). Confirmatory factor analyses comparing two-factor models revealed better fits when self-reports of gut reactions and speeded self-reports shared a factor with automatic measures versus sharing a factor with controlled self-report measures. Thus, distinguishing attitudes by the processes they are presumed to measure (automatic vs. controlled) is more meaningful than distinguishing based on the directness of measurement.
It is argued that the temporal distance of attitude objects systematically changes how the object is mentally represented, and thus influences the strength of particular persuasive appeals. Three experiments tested the hypothesis that people preferentially attend to arguments that highlight primary, abstract (high-level) vs. incidental, concrete (low-level) features when attitude objects are temporally distant vs. near. Results suggested that when attitude objects are temporally distant vs. near, arguments emphasizing primary vs. secondary features (Study 1), desirability vs. feasibility features (Study 2), and general classes vs. specific cases are more persuasive (Study 3). The relation of construal theory to dual process theories of persuasion and persuasion phenomena, such as personal relevance effects and functional matching effects, are discussed.
This study examined the intergenerational transmission of implicit and explicit attitudes toward smoking, as well as the role of these attitudes in adolescents' smoking initiation. There was evidence of intergenerational transmission of implicit attitudes. Mothers who had more positive implicit attitudes had children with more positive implicit attitudes. In turn, these positive implicit attitudes of adolescents predicted their smoking initiation 18-months later. Moreover, these effects were obtained above and beyond the effects of explicit attitudes. These findings provide the first evidence that the intergenerational transmission of implicit cognition may play a role in the intergenerational transmission of an addictive behavior.
The paper examines potential origins of automatic (i.e., unconscious) attitudes toward one's marital partner. It tests the hypothesis that early experiences in conflict-of-interest situations predict one's later automatic inclination to approach (or avoid) the partner. A longitudinal study linked daily experiences in conflict-of-interest situations in the initial months of new marriages to automatic evaluations of the partner assessed four years later using the Implicit Associations Test. The results revealed that partners who were initially (1) treated less responsively and (2) evidenced more self-protective and less connectedness-promoting "if-then" contingencies in their thoughts and behavior later evidenced less positive automatic partner attitudes. However, these factors did not predict changes in love, satisfaction, or explicit beliefs about the partner. The findings hint at the existence of a "smart" relationship unconscious that captures behavioral realities conscious reflection can miss.
In the current set of experiments, we establish, and explore the consequences of, the imprecision that characterizes the attribute response labels typically employed in the Implicit Association Test (IAT). In Experiment 1, we demonstrate the malleability of the IAT, as conventionally implemented. IAT scores are shown to be influenced by perspective mindsets induced by an unrelated preceding task. Then, we explore how the malleability of the IAT can lead to the inference that attitude change has occurred even when there is very good reason to believe it has not (Experiment 2), and conversely, how it can obscure the detection of attitude change when such change is indeed likely to have occurred (Experiment 3). We provide conceptual explanations for these discrepancies and suggest methodological improvements to enhance the specificity of IAT measures.
Why someone exerts self-control may influence how depleting a task is. Feeling compelled to exert self-control require more self-control strength than exerting self-control for more autonomous reasons. Across three experiments, individuals whose autonomy was supported while exerting self-control performed better on a subsequent test of self-control as compared to individuals who had more pressure placed upon them while exerting self-control. The differences in self-control performance were not due to anxiety, stress, unpleasantness, or reduced motivation among the controlled participants. Additional analyses suggested that the decline in self-control performance was mediated by subjective vitality. Feelings of autonomy support lead to enhanced feelings of subjective vitality. This increased vitality may help replenish lost ego-strength, which lead to better self-control performance subsequently.
Medical interactions between Black patients and nonBlack physicians are usually less positive and productive than same-race interactions. We investigated the role that physician explicit and implicit biases play in shaping physician and patient reactions in racially discordant medical interactions. We hypothesized that whereas physicians' explicit bias would predict their own reactions, physicians' implicit bias, in combination with physician explicit (self-reported) bias, would predict patients' reactions. Specifically, we predicted that patients would react most negatively when their physician fit the profile of an aversive racist (i.e., low explicit-high implicit bias). The hypothesis about the effects of explicit bias on physicians' reactions was partially supported. The aversive racism hypothesis received support. Black patients had less positive reactions to medical interactions with physicians relatively low in explicit but relatively high in implicit bias than to interactions with physicians who were either (a) low in both explicit and implicit bias, or (b) high in both explicit and implicit bias.