The current study replicated prior research by creating anticipated pride appeals and embedding the appeals into standard descriptive norms messages to explicate the mixed findings in prior research. In an online experiment, adults in the U.S. (N = 277) were recruited via an online panel. Participants viewed two-similar messages including either descriptive norm information only or both anticipated pride appeals and descriptive norm information. Results indicated that exposure to emotional descriptive norm messages influenced intentions via eliciting the desired emotional response to the messages, which is consistent with findings in prior research.
The current study aims to examine the causal effect of boredom on non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI), expanding prior experimental research by including an anger induction to compare to a boredom induction, and additionally measuring whether participants specifically seek painful stimulation. In a sample of mostly undergraduate students (N = 146), emotional state was manipulated through video induction, and NSSI behavior was simultaneously measured, operationalized through self-administration of electric shocks. Participants’ pain thresholds were measured beforehand. NSSI history and negative urgency were included as potential moderators. Results showed that boredom increased both frequency and intensity of self-administered electric shocks, especially in participants with an NSSI history. Negative urgency was not a significant moderator. No causal anger-NSSI link was found, possibly due to the anger induction not being sufficiently effective. Clinical implications are considered through suggestions of boredom coping skills training as an intervention strategy in NSSI populations.
Aggressive offenders commonly show hostile attribution bias in the perception of facial affect. Individuals’ sensitivity to provocation has been also linked to hostile attribution. However, most studies have been limited to male offenders. The current study investigated whether sensitivity to provocation (SP) predicted bias towards interpretation of ambiguous facial cues as angry (hostility bias) in violent inmates compared to community-dwelling non-inmates. The sample (N = 272) consisted of 105 (53 women) violent inmates and 167 (85 women) adults living in the community. Hostility bias towards targets’ faces was differently related to sensitivity to provocation across genders and groups depending on the target’s sex. Generally, the higher inmates’ sensitivity to provocation in men, the higher the identification of anger on female target faces, but the lower on male faces (anger/fear morphs). Conversely, the higher inmates’ sensitivity to provocation in women, the lower the identification of anger on female target faces (anger/fear morphs). Additionally, we observed that in non-inmates, men’s sensitivity to provocation significantly predicted anger identification on male faces. In the case of anger/happy face morphs, the more sensitive to provocation women in our samples were, the less they perceived anger in ambiguous faces. Conversely, men who were sensitive to provocation tended to perceive anger more often. With the current project, we show the importance of studying gender differences, which are often neglected, in the study of hostile interpretations of ambiguous stimuli amongst inmates and community samples. We anticipate that the results may help to design distinct and adequate resocialization and psychotherapeutic programs for both women and men with a tendency to violence.
In contrast to extensive research examining intrinsic motivation in educational and professional settings, the present research investigates the origin, and the development, of the intrinsic motivation to participate in a novel leisure activity. One survey and three experiments show that the enjoyment of a novel leisure activity, and the desire to reengage in the activity, are a function of the alignment between the goal associated with participation and a person’s implicit theory about the skills needed to participate. A mastery goal promotes the development of intrinsic motivation when two conditions are met: (1) people believe their skills are malleable, and (2) first-time participation in the activity results in perceptions of improved mastery. A performance goal promotes the development of intrinsic motivation when two conditions are met: (1) people believe their skills are fixed, and (2) first-time participation in the activity results in perceptions of successful performance. The motivational benefits aligning participation goals and implicit theories are reversed when the execution of a first-time leisure activity is exceedingly difficult.
Compliance with health safety guidelines is essential during pandemics. However, political polarization in the U.S. is reducing compliance. We investigated how polarized perceptions of government leaders’ autonomy-support and enforcement policies impacted security and internally-motivated compliance with national (Study 1a) and state (Study 1b) safety guidelines. We surveyed 773 Republicans and Democrats from four states (California, Florida, New York, Texas) during the first wave of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, participants perceived that the decision processes of opposing political administrations did not support their autonomy. Lack of autonomy-support was associated with reduced security and internal motivations to comply (R2=50.83%). When political administrations enforced health safety mandates (Democrat state leaders in this study) and were perceived as autonomy-supportive, participants reported the highest security and internally-motivated compliance (R2=49.57%). This effect was especially pronounced for Republicans, who reacted negatively to enforcement without autonomy-support. Political leaders who use fair and supportive decision-making processes may legitimize enforcement of health safety guidelines, improving compliance.
Envy has been positively associated with both moral disengagement and organizational unethical decision-making. Nevertheless, extant research suffers from a number of limitations that constrain our ability to define the unique links between different forms of envy and moral disengagement. In two studies (N = 419), using a dual conception of envy, we demonstrate that malicious envy has a consistently stronger and unique relationship to moral disengagement than does benign envy. Additionally, from further analyses we suggest that is the harming motivation of malicious envy, and the collateral damage potentially produced by self-improvement motivation of benign envy, the aspects that would relate both types of envy to moral disengagement. Lastly, we show that moral disengagement consistently accounts for the relationship between malicious envy and unethical decision-making. In sum, these findings open different ways to better understand the link between the envious experience, moral disengagement, and unethical decision-making, taking advantage of envy’s dual conceptualization.
Research has suggested that sacrifices are made to manage the work-home interface. They have been however, related to various deleterious effects. Drawing from self-determination theory, we argue that the sacrifice of psychological needs is worse than the sacrifice of activities such as maintenance and leisure in terms of personal functioning. The present two studies investigate whether sacrifices made in one life sphere to attend matters in another are negatively related to well-being and satisfaction, through enhanced work-family conflict, and whether all sacrifices are created equal. One transversal (n = 141) and one three-wave prospective (n = 78) study were conducted among convenience samples of workers who answered online surveys. Results revealed that personal psychological need sacrifices were negatively related to well-being via family to work conflict (FWC) and work to family conflict (WFC), over and beyond other types of sacrifice. In addition, personal psychological need sacrifices led to decreased life and professional satisfaction over 3 months, via FWC and WFC. Hence, need sacrifices, especially those made in the personal sphere, come at a cost and may not be the best long-term strategy to manage one’s work-home interface.
Within self-determination theory, motivation has been treated as a unidimensional (autonomy continuum) and multidimensional (types of motivation) construct. We propose that this dual nature can be reconciled by distinguishing reasons for exerting effort from the psychological state, or ‘mindset’, experienced while engaging in task-relevant activities. Using the Multidimensional Work Motivation Scale (Gagné et al., European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 24:178–196, 2015) for employees (n = 444), and an adapted version for students (n = 656), we confirm that there are distinguishable reasons for exerting effort. Moreover, using measures of three motivational mindsets (experienced autonomy, external control, and motivation strength), we demonstrate that reasons vary along an autonomy continuum. However, latent profile analyses revealed that reasons combine in different ways, and that external reasons (e.g., social or material outcomes) are only associated with a mindset of external control when not accompanied by internal reasons. Outcomes were more favorable for autonomous versus externally controlled mindsets, and when motivation profiles were characterized by internal sources of regulation, even if accompanied by external reasons. Implications for the dimensionality and measurement of motivation are discussed.
Three studies (total N = 501) showed a negative association between loneliness and the emotion of being moved. People who were lonelier than others consistently reported a weaker feeling of being moved after experimental manipulation. These results appeared both when the participants were presented with selected stimuli (video clips paradigm in Study 1 and Study 3) and when they were allowed to freely recall moving episodes from their past (episode paradigm in Study 2). This associa- tion remained reliable after controlling for depression, empathy, and initial mood. The more lonely the participants in Study 1 were, the less they considered themselves susceptible to being moved in everyday life. The results of Study 3 suggest that the association between loneliness and being moved is mediated by lonely people’s lack of faith in others’ goodwill and altru- ism. The results are discussed from the perspective of the potential causes and effects of loneliness and also in the context of the determinants of being moved.
According to recent theorizing, cognitive control and affective processing are closely linked. Specifically, it has been suggested that negative affect acts as a driving force for attentional adjustment. Empirical support comes from a study by van Steenbergen et al. (Psychol Sci 20:1473–1477, 2009) demonstrating that negative stimuli increase the congruence sequence effect (CSE), a behavioural marker that indexes attentional adjustment. In this research, we provide a theoretical analysis that identifies motivational orientation (approach vs. avoidance) as a potential moderator. To test this, we replicated the study by van Steenbergen et al. (2009) and additionally manipulated the motivational orientation of participants. Participants either gained extra money after task completion (gain-focused group) or lost money after task completion (loss-focused group). Results showed that negative stimuli boost attentional adjustment, but only in the loss-focused group. This finding highlights the role of motivation for recent theorizing on emotion-driven control.
In two experiments using a Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP) we investigated how emotional and neutral faces (T1) modulate temporal attention for a following neutral face (T2). Typically, performance for T2 is spared when T2 immediately follows T1 (lag 1 sparing) but it is impaired when T2 is presented within 500 ms from T1 (Attentional Blink). Experiment 1 shows a shorter attentional blink following happy faces, relative to neutral and sad faces, which did not differ. Experiment 2 shows a lag 1 sparing only after happy T1s, but not after angry or neutral T1s, and a greater attentional blink following happy and angry T1-faces, compared to neutral T1-faces. Results indicate that happy faces exert different effects on temporal attention than negative (angry or sad) faces. Findings are discussed in terms of an interplay of resource depletion, due to emotional salience, and emotion-specific inhibitory mechanisms.
Past research on gratitude assumes that norms of reciprocity are incompatible with personal relationships as they are based on the rigid normative expectations characteristic of market-based exchange. Challenging this assumption, the present investigation demonstrates the importance of recognizing that norms of reciprocity take a less rigid and more tacit form in the case of personal relationships. Using a vignette-based experiment, Study 1 (N = 200) demonstrated that when expectations to reciprocate are framed in ways that reflect their normative character rather than are portrayed as based on self-interested individual expectations, this is associated with greater likelihood of helping, enhanced gratitude, and more positive personality impressions. In an online game, Study 2 (N = 108) showed that players reciprocate less money to their exchange partner in the presence as compared with the absence of self-interested individual expectations for return. Assessing real life helping among friends, Study 3 (N = 128) revealed that indebtedness is predictive of helping and that indebtedness and gratitude promote relationship closeness in contrasting ways.
Prior studies have revealed that positive parent–child relationships are negatively associated with college students’ depressive symptom. However, the underlying mechanisms of this relation whether specific mediators or moderators are at play are little known. Therefore, the current study examined the potential mediating role of psychological needs satisfaction and the moderating role of mindfulness in the link between parent–child relationships and depressive symptom among college students. A total of 900 college students from Shenzhen, China (53.40% male; Mage = 19.82, SD = 1.01, range from 17 to 27 years) completed questionnaires regarding parent–child relationships, psychological needs satisfaction, mindfulness, and depressive symptom. This study found that (1) parent–child relationships are negatively related to college students’ depressive symptom; (2) psychological needs satisfaction could be a potential mediator in the link between parent–child relationships and depressive symptom; and (3) mindfulness could moderate both the relation between parent–child relationships and depressive symptom as well as that between psychological needs satisfaction and depressive symptom, and those relations were weaker among college students with high levels of mindfulness than those with low levels of mindfulness. The current study highlights the mediating and moderating mechanisms that may underlie the correlation between parent–child relationships and depressive symptom, which may contribute to the development of more effective intervention and prevention programs for alleviating college students’ depressive symptom.
Academic achievement is an important developmental goal during adolescence. Two independent factors involved in academic motivation are implicit motives and explicit goals. In this study, we examined whether high school students’ ( N = 213) implicit achievement motive, explicit achievement goals, and their interactions were associated with academic goal engagement and disengagement. Our findings showed that academic goal engagement and disengagement were associated with explicit achievement goals only, and not with the implicit achievement motive. However, interactions between the implicit achievement motive and grade aspiration (i.e., a specific explicit achievement goal) revealed that individuals with a low implicit achievement motive can still attain high goal engagement if they have a high grade aspiration. We also found that motive-goal congruence was associated with lower goal disengagement. Overall, these findings suggest that explicit achievement goals and specific academic goals play a dominant role in goal engagement behavior in the structured setting of high schools, and may allow youth to overcome the constraints of having a low implicit achievement motive.
This pre-registered work was designed to replicate and extend previous research finding that autonomy is associated with greater extent of belief in symbolic immortality (feeling that some aspect of an individual will endure and/or be remembered long after death). Study 1 (n = 1185) replicated this prior work, finding that self-reported autonomy predicted extent of belief in symbolic immortality, which mediated the relationship between autonomy and meaning in life. Study 2 (n = 117) provided an experimental extension of Study 1, finding that reading about an individual with an autonomous (vs. controlled) life increased perceptions of that individual’s symbolic immortality, which mediated the relationship between reading about the autonomous life and perceptions of the individual’s satisfaction with life. Study 3 (n = 175) replicated the results of Study 2 and also showed that the extent to which people viewed the target individual as feeling autonomous predicted perceptions of that individual’s symbolic immortality even after controlling for perceived self-esteem.
Social distancing (SD) was an effective way of reducing virus transmission during the deadly and highly infectious COVID-19 pandemic. Using a prospective longitudinal design, the present study explored how the Big 5 traits relate to variations in SD in a sample of university students (n= 285), and replicated these findings using informant reports. Self-determination theory’s concepts of autonomous motivation and intrinsic community values were explored as potential mechanisms linking traits to SD. Individuals who were higher on trait agreeableness and conscientiousness engaged in more SD because they more effectively internalized the importance and value of the guidelines as a function of their concerns about the welfare of their communities. Informant reports confirmed trait agreeableness and conscientiousness to be associated with more SD. These results enhance our understanding of individual differences associated with better internalization and adherence to public health guidelines and can inform future interventions in similar crises.
According to the awe-quixoteism hypothesis, one experience of awe may lead to the engagement in challenging actions aimed at increasing the welfare of the world. However, what if the action involves damaging one individual? Across four experiments (N = 876), half participants were induced to feel either awe or a different (pleasant, activating, or neutral-control) emotion, and then decided whether achieving a prosocial goal (local vs. global). In the first three experiments this decision was assessed through a dilemma that involved to sacrifice one individual’s life, additionally in Experiments 2 and 3 we varied the quality of the action (ordinary vs. challenging). In Experiment 4, participants decided whether performing a real helping action. Overall, in line with the awe-quixoteism hypothesis, the results showed that previously inducing awe enhanced the willingness to sacrifice someone (Experiments 1, 2 and 3) or the acceptance to help (Experiment 4) when the decision involved engaging in challenges aimed at improving the welfare of the world.
The definition of courage has been widely debated, though most agree it involves an element of ‘persistence despite fear’. However, even with its correlation to fear and anxiety, courage as a concept has received minimal research in psychology. This study aimed to explore the role of courage in predicting behavior. Twenty-eight participants who indicated during a pre-screening that they feared public speaking completed a measure of courageousness (Courage Measure; CM) undertook a behavioral approach task (BAT) where they gave a short speech on a topic of their choice and were timed. Results indicated that the CM significantly predicted speech duration after controlling for scores on a measure of public speaking fears. Interestingly, and inconsistent with prior studies using the CM, self-reported courage at both the pre-screen and immediately before the BAT both predicted speech duration. Implications for the assessment of courageousness are discussed.
Most people try to eat healthy, but the temptation of unhealthy foods (among other factors) can make it difficult. Despite these difficulties, some people still achieve their healthy eating goals. Following self-determination theory (SDT; Ryan & Deci, 2000), we propose that relative autonomous motivation (RAM) can foster people's effort in pursuing health goals. In two daily diary studies, we tested the hypothesis that RAM predicts attainment of healthy eating goals, especially when it is difficult. In Study 1, we focused on difficulties associated with trying to eat certain foods while avoiding others, whereas in Study 2, we focused on difficulties associated with the availability of unhealthy and healthy foods. Multilevel analyses provided some support our hypothesis, and highlighted the role of RAM for eating (vs. skipping) lunch and packing a lunch-two approach-based healthy eating strategies. We discuss these findings in relation to SDT and propose directions for future research on within-person changes in motivation and other sources of difficulty.
The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s11031-022-09960-3.
The goal of this study was to examine whether strategies such as planning and self-monitoring the quality/quantity of eating can explain the relationships between autonomous and controlled motivation and eating in undergraduate female students. Study 1 (n = 456) examined whether the strategies could account for additional variance in eating outcomes beyond the influence of motivation, and whether the strategies mediated the relationships between motivation and eating. Study 2 (n = 979) replicated the results within structural equation models. Autonomous motivation was positively associated with planning and self-monitoring eating quality, and these strategies were then positively and negatively associated with healthy and unhealthy eating, respectively. In contrast, controlled motivation was positively associated with planning and self-monitoring eating quantity, and these strategies were then positively associated with bulimic symptoms. Findings provide insight into the mechanisms by which different motivations relate to distinct eating outcomes and suggest that promoting eating quality may be more beneficial for adopting healthy eating behaviors.
In college, students often encounter situations in which they struggle to meet their academic goals in difficult courses. We integrate the Motivational Theory of Life-Span Development and Situated Expectancy-Value Theory to investigate how motivational beliefs and experiences in a difficult course predict the use of goal engagement oriented and goal adjustment oriented control strategies that can help students stay engaged in challenging courses. We used survey data collected in two academic quarters at a public university in the U.S. ( N = 231). Students who perceived their midterm exam as more difficult than expected and students with higher course-specific subjective task values reported using more goal engagement oriented and goal adjustment oriented control strategies. Students with higher course-specific ability beliefs were less likely to use goal adjustment strategies. Results further showed that students planned to use control strategies depending on their experienced setbacks or success in exams. Findings provide important insights into how motivational orientations and course experiences relate to adaptive and goal-oriented behavior in college courses.
Research generally shows that autonomous forms of motivation are associated with higher performance and job satisfaction, whereas controlled forms of motivation are linked to worse outcomes. These relationships are largely based on between-persons data from cross-sectional studies or longitudinal studies with few measurement points. However, motivation quality, performance, and job satisfaction can vary considerably from day to day and from task to task. It is unclear whether and how these experiences and behaviors covary over time within individuals at work in daily life. The present study assessed this using a diary approach. With a default protocol of 30 working days, an ecological momentary assessment application prompted 19 white-collar workers five times a day to report their autonomous and controlled motivation for work tasks and their productivity and job satisfaction at the end of each day. Fourteen participants gathered sufficient data to compute within-person relations and individual networks. At the between-person level, results were somewhat in line with prior survey-based research, whereas results at the within-person level present more nuanced findings and demonstrate that these will not inherently align with previous between-person findings. Individual network analyses indicated considerable interindividual heterogeneity, especially in the relationships between motivation and job satisfaction. In conclusion, these findings point to significant variability in the observed relations between task-related motivation, performance and job satisfaction in everyday life, and highlight the added value of a within person approach and individual networks in addition to between-persons approaches. The implications of these findings for occupational wellbeing research are discussed.
The current research addresses dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic's disruption to goal pursuit. Specifically, we examined the effects of disengaging from frozen goals (goals for which progress had been disrupted due to COVID-19). In May 2021, we asked participants (N = 226) what percentage of their goals were COVID-frozen goals and asked them to report their engagement in one such goal (vs. an active goal): the degree to which they think about the goal, ruminate about the goal, and are committed to the goal. Participants also reported on two facets of their recent well-being: psychological distress (stress, depressive symptoms, anxiety) and life satisfaction. As expected, percentage of COVID-frozen goals was positively associated with psychological distress (stress, depressive symptoms, and anxiety). Moreover, frozen goal rumination (but not thought frequency or commitment) was negatively associated with life satisfaction and positively associated with psychological distress (stress, depressive symptoms, and anxiety; even when controlling for active goal rumination). Furthermore, individual differences in the capacity to disengage and reengage in alternatives were negatively associated with frozen goal rumination, positively associated with life satisfaction, and negatively associated with psychological distress (stress, depressive symptoms, and anxiety). These results highlight the adaptive function of disengagement in goal pursuit. We discuss implications for the goal disengagement literature and for coping with COVID-19.
The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s11031-022-09959-w.
Satisfaction of the basic psychological need of autonomy is essential for one’s optimal functioning and well-being. Recent studies consistently demonstrated that autonomy-deprived individuals would attempt to regain the sense of autonomy in the following autonomy-supportive activity. However, few studies explored individual differences during this process. In this study conducted in the learning context, we examined the moderating role of autonomy orientation in autonomy restoration. Both scales and the effort-provision paradigm were adopted so as to objectively measure one’s intrinsic motivation. Through two experiments with between-group designs, our results showed that, there existed a restoration process in which autonomy frustrated individuals invested greater intrinsic motivation to regain autonomy afterwards, an effect only observed among individuals with high autonomy orientation. These findings extend existing literatures within the self-determination theory framework by showing that one’s autonomy orientation would facilitate autonomy restoration.
Disengaging from unattainable goals and reengaging in alternative goals is essential for effective goal pursuit; yet, surprisingly little is known about associated personality factors. Here, we focused on individual differences in self-control (domain-general self-control, if–then planning) and boredom (boredom proneness, boredom avoidance and escape tendencies). Concerning goal adjustment in everyday life (Study 1; N = 323 crowdworkers), if–then planning was associated with worse disengagement and better reengagement. While boredom proneness was associated with poorer reengagement, boredom avoidance and escape tendencies were associated with better reengagement. When goal striving was thwarted during the COVID-19 pandemic (Study 2; N = 97 students), similar associations emerged along with links to anxiety and depression. However, disengagement was no longer associated with if–then planning but instead with better self-control and higher boredom proneness. These results show differential relationships of goal disengagement and reengagement with self-control and boredom, paving the way to a better understanding of who struggles or shines when effective goal adjustment is required.
When people hit roadblocks with their personal goals, goal disengagement is an
adaptive response associated with improved mental and physical health. However,
people can have trouble letting go of goals, even when pursuing them is problematic.
We introduce a motivational model of goal disengagement by proposing that having
autonomous motivation to disengage (a sense of truly identifying with the decision) as
opposed to controlled motivation to disengage (feeling forced to let go) allows for
people to make greater progress disengaging from specific goals, and prevents people
getting stuck in an “inaction crisis” where they feel torn between disengaging further or
re-adopting the goal. Using prospective longitudinal designs, we tracked the goal
disengagement of personal goals in university students (Study 1, N = 510) and a
general adult sample of Americans (Study 2, N= 446), finding that autonomous
motivation for goal disengagement facilitated making disengagement progress. This
work expands our understanding of the role of autonomous motivation throughout a
goal’s lifecycle and helps integrate different theoretical frameworks on goal motivation
Goal adjustment capacities (i.e., goal disengagement and goal reengagement) are core self-regulatory resources theorized to buffer psychological well-being during intractable life circumstances. However, research has yet to examine whether these capacities protect well-being for individuals who encounter uncontrollable losses in their ability to pursue important life goals due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Using a nationally-representative sample of U.S. adults aged 18-80 (n = 292), the present longitudinal study examined the extent to which goal disengagement and reengagement predicted levels and change in psychological well-being for individuals who differed in perceived control over their goals early in the pandemic. Results from multilevel growth models showed that goal reengagement, but not goal disengagement, capacities predicted higher levels of well-being during the pandemic (lower perceived stress, depressive symptoms; higher life satisfaction, meaning in life). Moderation models showed the benefits of goal reengagement for well-being were pronounced among individuals who perceived pandemic-induced declines in control over their goals. Findings inform theories of motivation and self-regulation and point to the adaptive value of goal reengagement capacities during uncontrollable life circumstances.
Human beings are probably the only creatures with a capacity to shed emotional tears. While prior work has mostly used data-driven approaches to identify situational antecedents of adult crying, we present a theory-based taxonomy. Assuming that crying is preceded by the frustration or satisfaction of psychological needs, we postulate that the most common antecedents of crying can be organized into five categories—that is, the Five Reasons to Cry (FRC): loneliness, impotence, overload, harmony, and media. Testing our assumptions in a retrospective study (N = 720, pre-registered) and a thirty-day electronic diary study (N = 91) showed that (i) crying episodes could be reliably assigned to the FRC, (ii) the theorized relations to frustrated/satisfied psychological needs emerged, and (iii) the categories were systematically related to subjective well-being, indicating their criterion validity. In sum, this research provides a valid taxonomy of common situational antecedents of adult emotional crying.
The emotion disgust motivates the avoidance of pathogens and contaminants. Individuals differ in their tendency to experience disgust and this is referred to as pathogen disgust sensitivity. Yet, it remains unclear which differences in psychological processes are captured by pathogen disgust sensitivity. We tested two hypotheses about how the information processing structure underlying pathogen avoidance might give rise to individual differences in pathogen disgust sensitivity. Participants ( n = 998) rated the perceived health of individuals with or without facial blemishes and indicated how comfortable they would feel about having physical contact with them. For participants with high disgust sensitivity, facial blemishes were more indicative of poor health and perceived health was more strongly related to comfort with physical contact. These findings suggest that pathogen disgust sensitivity reflects individual differences in the tendency to interpret stimuli as an infection risk and the weight given to estimated infection risk when deciding who should be approached or avoided.
Extremism occurs when a certain need, for instance, significance quest, overrides other human motivations. Based on the Significance Quest Theory, we argue that ambition—a specific aspect of significance quest—can lead to extremism, particularly through obsessive passion. In an Italian sample (Study 1, N = 249) we predicted and found that ambition was positively related to both obsessive and harmonious passion; however, only obsessive passion positively predicted extremism. To bolster and generalize our findings we conducted a second study involving American participants (Study 2, N = 300). We confirmed the mediating role of obsessive passion in the relationship between ambition and extremism, while we did not find the mediating role of harmonious passion. The present research has theoretical implications in that it constitutes the first evidence that ambition might share some aspects with significance quest and sheds new light on ambition field. Moreover, our findings provide practical ways to prevent extremism.
The present study brings evidence of a new type of emotional processes, namely sequential modulations of emotional effects, and how these processes change during aging. Sequential modulations of emotional effects refer to the changes in emotional effects (i.e., differences in performance between current negative and positive items) as a function of emotional valence of the immediately preceding items. Young (18–30-year-olds) and older adults (62–89-year-olds) were presented neutral, positive, and negative pictures and had to determine whether each of these pictures included humans or not. Differences in emotional effects were found after negative and neutral items whereas they were absent after positive items in young adults. Moreover, age-related differences in sequential modulations of emotional effects revealed that young and older adults modulated emotional effects to the same extent after negative items, but older adults showed reverse sequential modulations after positive items. These findings have important implications to further our understanding of the sequential modulations of emotion during aging.
Real-life decision-making involves a balance between emotion and cognition, a process that is mirrored in the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT). Previous studies suggest that negative emotion affects IGT performance, and that this effect may be moderated by gender. In the current study, we experimentally instructed the use of a strategy for ameliorating the incidental negative emotion induced by negative images while men and women solved the IGT. To do this, we asked 38 men and 38 women to either only look at negative images (non-reappraisal group) or to use positive cognitive reappraisal when facing these negative images (reappraisal group) to ameliorate the negative emotion associated with them while trying to solve the IGT. Both men and women in the reappraisal group successfully used positive reappraisal to decrease their negative emotion compared to the control, non-reappraisal group. Critically, we observed that women performed better in the reappraisal group compared with the non-reappraisal group, in the second half of the task (performance phase). Conversely, men performed worse in the reappraisal group compared to the non-reappraisal group in the second half of the task (performance phase). Finally, a multigroup analysis revealed a gender moderation of the direct and indirect effects of positive reappraisal on IGT performance, indicating that reappraisal benefited women’s IGT performance through the regulation of negative emotion. Conversely, for men, the decrease of negative emotion through reappraisal did not impact IGT performance. Our results demonstrate that while the use of positive reappraisal is useful to ameliorate negative emotions for men and women, positive reappraisal benefits women’s decision-making, and impairs men’s.
Whether to engage with the environment or not is critical to self-regulation and individual differences figure prominently in this decisional realm. The present studies (total N = 695) pursue the premise that important clues to these dynamics can be found by asking individuals whether they prefer the spatial concept of something (e.g., the self or the world) being “closed” or “open”, given that open objects interact with their environments more readily and lend themselves to resource acquisition. Individual differences in open-closed preferences were reliable and informative concerning individual differences in motivation and personality. In particular, greater preferences for openness were linked to higher levels of extraversion (Study 1), approach motivation (Studies 1 and 2), and positive affect (Studies 2 and 3). In addition, such preferences were linked to vigorous goal pursuit and achievement in a daily diary protocol (Study 3). Simple preferences among spatial concepts can therefore provide key insights into personality and self-regulation.
Given that avoidance motivation is often related to negative outcomes, it is surprising that little research has investigated the economic factors that correlate with avoidance motivation. The current meta-analysis synthesized 40 studies (Ntotal = 771,690) on the relation between economic status and avoidance motivation. Economic status was operationalized with objective and subjective measures of economic status; avoidance motivation was operationalized with measures of energization (e.g., motives, behavioral systems) and direction (e.g., personal goals, social goals). The results revealed a small negative association between economic status and avoidance motivation (r = − .046, p < .001). This association was particularly strong in community samples (r = − .070, p < .001), for those high in prevention focus orientation (r = − .087, p < .05), and fear of failure (r = − .067, p < .001). In identifying this negative association in extant demographic data, this meta-analysis demonstrates the promise of examining economic status as a potential antecedent of avoidance motivation in future empirical work.
High levels of disgust and perfectionism co-exist in some clinical disorders raising questions about the relationship between the two. This research evaluated socially-related and physically-related disgust in people with varying levels of perfectionism. In Study 1, 120 college students participated in a state emotion-eliciting scenario task, then completed both the Almost Perfect Scale-Revised and the Three Dimensions of Disgust Survey (TDDS). In Study 2, 380 Qualtrics users completed the scenarios, along with the TDDS and Multidimensional Perfectionist Scale. Both studies showed that state emotions differed from each other in ways that were unrelated to perfectionism. Gender differences were seen in the perfectionist groups, state disgust responses, and trait sexual disgust. However, Study 2 also showed relationships between trait perfectionism and disgust. The differing state emotional responses show that contextual interpersonal factors are highly important in disgust behaviors. Additionally, the findings suggest that gender could be important in the relationship between disgust and perfectionism.
Aversion to happiness is defined as the belief that experiencing or expressing happiness can cause bad things to happen. In this study, the fear of happiness scale was used to measure aversion to happiness in a multinational sample of adults from several countries (N = 871). Partial measurement invariance was supported for the fear of happiness scale. The study also examined 9 potential predictors of aversion to happiness: gender, age, religiosity, belief in collective happiness, perfectionism, belief in karma, belief in black magic, loneliness, and perception of an unhappy childhood. Bayesian multilevel modeling showed that, except for gender and religiosity, all predictors contributed significantly to the prediction of aversion to happiness. Together, the predictors explained about 28% of the variance in aversion to happiness. The strongest predictors were an unhappy childhood, perfectionism, belief in black magic and karma, and loneliness. This study provides new evidence for the cross-cultural measurement invariance of the fear of happiness scale in adult samples and sheds new light on the nomological network of aversion to happiness.
In this research, we applied a differential perspective to the study of action crises , i.e., being in an intra-psychic decisional conflict whether to pursue or abandon a goal once difficulties in its pursuit arise. In two studies, we investigated the role of individuals’ levels of self-awareness when experiencing such action crises. Both among professional ballet dancers (daily diary, Study 1) and university undergraduates (preregistered experience sampling, Study 2), individuals with greater levels of (dispositional and situational) self-awareness showed an adaptive, that is, problem-solving oriented way of dealing with difficulties in the pursuit of their (training or study) goals. As a consequence, self-awareness contributed to less experience of action crisis during goal pursuit and, as a result, led to better goal performance.
Mourning constitutes an important human emotion, which might cause—among other things—major depressive symptoms when lasting for too long. To date, no study investigated whether mourning is related to specific psychophysiological activation patterns. Therefore, we examined physiological reactions induced by iconographic mourning-related stimuli in comparison to neutral and attachment stimuli in healthy adults (N = 77, mean age: 21.9). We evaluated pupillometric and eye-tracking parameters as well as heart rate variability (HRV) and skin conductance (EDA). Eye-tracking revealed a stronger dilated pupil during mourning in comparison to the neutral, but not to the attachment condition; furthermore, fixation patterns revealed less fixations on mourning stimuli. While HF HRV was reduced during mourning and attachment, we found no differences concerning EDA parameters between conditions. Results suggest specific eye-movement and pupil adaptations during representations of mourning, which might point toward inward cognition or avoidance, but no specific physiological pattern concerning HRV and EDA.
Mourning constitutes an important human emotion, which might cause-among other things-major depressive symptoms when lasting for too long. To date, no study investigated whether mourning is related to specific psychophysiological activation patterns. Therefore, we examined physiological reactions induced by iconographic mourning-related stimuli in comparison to neutral and attachment stimuli in healthy adults (N = 77, mean age: 21.9). We evaluated pupillometric and eye-tracking parameters as well as heart rate variability (HRV) and skin conductance (EDA). Eye-tracking revealed a stronger dilated pupil during mourning in comparison to the neutral, but not to the attachment condition; furthermore, fixation patterns revealed less fixations on mourning stimuli. While HF HRV was reduced during mourning and attachment, we found no differences concerning EDA parameters between conditions. Results suggest specific eye-movement and pupil adaptations during representations of mourning, which might point toward inward cognition or avoidance, but no specific physiological pattern concerning HRV and EDA.
Essay-style assessment is widespread in education. Nonetheless, research shows that this tool can suffer from low reliability and validity. We attribute this problem partly to the boredom that marking multiple essays causes. Specifically, we propose that boredom in markers is associated with systematically lower marks on essays. To test this, we asked participants ( N = 100) with an undergraduate degree to mark essays. The majority of these participants had at least some experience with marking. After marking each essay, participants indicated how bored they were. We found an increase in boredom over time and that higher boredom was associated with lower marks. Furthermore, offering a marking rubric did not prevent this problematic impact of boredom. These findings have implications for the validity of essays as an assessment tool and raise concerns about repetitive marking practices in general.
Why does sibling abuse affect some adolescents more severely than others? When and how does its experience at home influence the psychosocial behavior of adolescents at school? Guided by the Conservation of Resources Theory (CoRT), the authors established a moderated-mediation model to find answers to these under-researched questions. Specifically, they analyzed the effects of sibling abuse on victimized adolescents’ in-school delinquency through psychological distress and psychological disengagement. Victim’s neurotic personality, which may intensify the spillover process, was examined as well. Forty-seven Pakistani middle adolescents from a private secondary school provided a survey-based time-lagged data over five consecutive school-days. Results revealed that the next day after experiencing sibling abuse, victims first felt psychologically distressed and then psychologically disengaged from school, and ultimately carried out delinquent activities on campus. Furthermore, neuroticism did not significantly change the effect of sibling abuse on outcome variables. This study contributes toward a more comprehensive understanding of the abuse–delinquency chain as a complex psychological process underpinned by CoRT.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) has been inconsistently associated with exaggerated threat monitoring measured via the error-related negativity (ERN). This suggests the need to consider whether the link between GAD and ERN is influenced by additional processes, such as cognitive inhibition of non-threat. The current study explored this possibility by employing a novel, trait-like measure of cognitive processing inhibition, neural quenching (NQ). Electroencephalography was recorded while 16 adults diagnosed with GAD and 14 age-matched healthy controls viewed angry and neutral faces prior to individual trials of a flanker task. NQ was generated to aversive (angry) and non-aversive (neutral) facial primes, and the ERN was generated to incorrect and correct responses on the flanker task. We tested the hypothesis that higher GAD symptom severity would be associated with larger-magnitude ERN when NQ to non-aversive was enhanced (higher levels of non-aversive processing inhibition), but with blunted ERN when NQ to non-aversive was also blunted (lower levels of non-aversive processing inhibition). Overall, greater NQ to non-aversive faces was associated with larger-magnitude ERNs. As predicted, higher GAD symptom severity was associated with blunted ERN when accompanied by blunted NQ to non-aversive. Findings suggest that exaggerated threat processing is not uniform in GAD and may depend on individual differences in the ability to inhibit processing of non-aversive and other types of information.
Across nine studies (N = 1672), we assessed the link between cognitive costs and the choice to express outrage by blaming. We developed the Blame Selection Task, a binary free-choice paradigm that examines individuals’ propensity to blame transgressors (versus an alternative choice)—either before or after reading vignettes and viewing images of moral transgressions. We hypothesized that participants’ choice to blame wrongdoers would negatively relate to how cognitively inefficacious, effortful, and aversive blaming feels (compared to the alternative choice). With vignettes, participants approached blaming and reported that blaming felt more efficacious. With images, participants avoided blaming and reported that blaming felt more inefficacious, effortful, and aversive. Blame choice was greater for vignette-based transgressions than image-based transgressions. Blame choice was positively related to moral personality constructs, blame-related norms, and perceived efficacy of blaming, and inversely related to perceived effort and aversion of blaming. The BST is a valid behavioral index of blame propensity, and choosing to blame is linked to its cognitive costs.
Social emotional abilities (i.e., specific skills), defined as the set of cognitive abilities, emotion-based knowledge, and behavioral competencies (i.e., skill levels) that facilitate adaptively employing prosocial processes and behaviors (i.e., “actions”), such as emotional regulation and sympathetic and empathetic response behaviors, is contemporarily modeled and measured as emotional intelligence. This conceptualization can be problematic, however, as the two concepts are not the same and traditional methods of measuring emotional intelligence can have limited practical utility. The social emotional ability development (SEAD) theoretical model introduced in this treatise represents a pragmatic and simplified approach to the development of social emotional ability and competency as abstracted from constructs of emotional intelligence, social intelligence, and sociocultural learning theory. Further, the SEAD model reaches beyond the individual as the unit of analysis to explore, conceptualize, differentiate, investigate, and define the hierarchal, bi-directional, and contextual nature of the dimensions of social emotional ability within close relationships. Implications for how the SEAD model can be used by researchers, practitioners, educators, individuals, families, and couples across a broad spectrum of domains and interventions are discussed.
Identifying causes of healthy behaviors is important for harnessing health benefits. A growing body of experience sampling research suggests that positive emotion may drive these behaviors. However, it is not known how long elevations in positive emotion facilitate these behaviors in daily life. The present study tested how time between signals moderates the association between within-person positive affect and healthy behaviors. A sample of 197 college students completed a 10-day experience sampling diary, with 5 signals a day, measuring affect and healthy behaviors. We replicated results from Nylocks and colleagues (2018) finding that within-person positive affect predicted engagement in healthy behaviors; however, this association was only significant within the same day, and not across days (i.e. overnight). Taken together, these findings highlight the importance of considering positive affect, rather than negative affect in patients with psychopathology, to improve behavioral interventions targeted to increase engagement in healthy behaviors.
Based on self-determination theory, this diary study examined associations between adolescents' daily need crafting and daily fluctuations in their need-based and affective experiences. We also examined the role of daily perceived autonomy-supportive parenting in adolescents' daily need-crafting. Adolescents (N = 159; M age = 15.56; 62% female) filled out a diary for seven consecutive days. Multilevel path analyses indicated that need crafting varied on a day-today basis, with daily need crafting relating positively to daily positive affect and negatively to negative affect. The benefits of daily need craft-ing were accounted for by higher daily need satisfaction and lower need frustration. Further, on days adolescents perceived more parental autonomy support, they reported more need satisfaction and less need frustration, an effect that was partially due to higher need crafting that day. Overall, the results suggest that need crafting represents a critical pro-active skill, with resulting benefits for adolescents' daily need-based experiences and well-being.
This study was designed to investigate academic motivation profiles (and their similarity) among distinct samples of high school students. Anchored in recent developments in Self-Determination Theory, these profiles were estimated while considering both the global and specific nature of academic motivation. The role of fixed mindsets and parenting practices in predicting profile membership, as well as the implications of these profiles for several outcomes, were also investigated. Latent profile analysis revealed five profiles (Weakly Motivated, Moderately Motivated, Self-Determined, Amotivated, and Strongly Motivated) differing in global and specific motivation levels. Fixed mindset was weakly related to profile membership, perceived parenting practices showed more widespread associations. Most desirable outcomes were linked to the Self-Determined and Strongly Motivated profiles, and then to the Moderately Motivated, Weakly Motivated, and Amotivated profiles