Abraham Tesser

Abraham Tesser
University of Georgia | UGA · William A. and Barbara R. Owens Institute for Behavioral Research

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152
Publications
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Publications

Publications (152)
Article
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The finding that trait similarity and attraction are correlated may be difficult to interpret. Research has indicated that attraction to another is related to the evaluative aspect of the beliefs about Other (i.e., to the extent that Other is believed to have positive attributes, he will be better liked) and that persons tend to attribute positive...
Article
It was assumed that thought tends to make attitudes more extreme (by making relevant cognitions more consistent) and that dependence on another tends to focus one’s thoughts on that other. This lead to the predictions that attitudes toward an initially disliked other would become more negative as a function of opportunity for thought, dependence on...
Article
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Four hundred and nine students who attended a “computer dance” returned a questionnaire on which they had made a number of ratings of their dates. Significant correlations with attraction were obtained for physical attractiveness (r =.69), “personality” (r =.68), “character” (r =.49), intelligence (r =.39), and two indices of similarity (r =.46,.56...
Article
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DESIGNED TO TEST A GESTALTIST SHIFT IN MEANING EXPLANATION AND A DIFFERENTIAL WEIGHTING EXPLANATION OF PRIMACY IN 129 MALE UNDERGRADUATES. PRIMACY HAD A SIGNIFICANT (P < .05) EFFECT ON OVERALL IMPRESSION BUT THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE OF SHIFT IN MEANING OF TRAITS AS A FUNCTION OF POSITION IN THE LIST. ONLY PARTIAL SUPPORT WAS FOUND FOR THE DIFFERENTIAL...
Article
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Within the context of congruity theory, the following hypotheses were tested: (l)When both source and concept (where concept is another person) are evaluated with a similar sign, a positive assertion will be assumed; otherwise, a negative assertion will be assumed. (2) What source is assumed to assert about concept should not differ from what conce...
Article
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An experiment was conducted to test the generality of a self-evaluation maintenance model of behavior in a situation involving individuals’ associations with a group. Male and female undergraduates completed a sports team questionnaire, which assessed their preferences to see both psychologically close and distant opponents of their home team win i...
Article
This book offers a broad, new rendering of developments in a growing area of social psychology—the scientific study of self and identity. In each chapter, scholars describe their work on such topics as self-dynamics, self-structure, impression management, intimate relationships, and the interplay between self-motives and consistency motives. Do ind...
Article
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States that one model that has helped to guide research in which social comparison is central is the self-evaluation maintenance (SEM) model. In this chapter the authors attempt to place the model in evolutionary context. To do this they review the SEM model and some of its basic predictions. They then review some recent speculations regarding the...
Article
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The present analysis reveals the social comparison bias - a bias that emerges from the social comparison process and taints recommendations. We hypothesize that people who have high standing on a relevant dimension (e.g., quantity of publications) begin to protect their social comparison context by making recommendations that prevent others, who mi...
Article
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Models of nonconscious goal pursuit propose that goals can be activated and pursued without conscious awareness and intent. Until recently, these models have been relatively silent about whether or not nonconscious goal pursuit has consequences and what these consequences might be. We pro-pose that nonconscious goal pursuit is part of a rich self-r...
Chapter
Self-esteem and AffectAm I Good, Am I Bad: Self-esteem as a TraitAm I Doing Better or Worse? Self-esteem as a State VariableEvolution and Self-esteemA Coda on CultureSummary
Article
A self-evaluation maintenance (SEM) model was used to make predictions about the positivity of perception of the performance of friends and strangers. The model predicts that when the target of perception is close (i.e., a friend) the target's performance should be perceived more positively on dimensions of low personal relevance (to the perceiver)...
Article
This chapter assesses the literature on rumination. It specifically attempts to integrate the additional considerations on rumination into the basic theoretical framework. It begins with a review of the goal-progress theory of rumination. Then, it uses a parallel distributed processing model to address the ways in which individuals attempt to balan...
Article
The Environmental Security Hypothesis (T. F. Pettijohn II & A. Tesser, 1999) indicates that as environmental threat increases, the desirability of persons with neotenous features should decrease. In 2 experiments (Ns = 96, 80), the authors tested this hypothesis and a mediation account that was based on the attributions made about neotenous and mat...
Article
A recent extension (Beach, & Tesser, 1993) of Tesser's self-evaluation maintenance model (SEM: Tesser, 1988) proposed that a person's motivation to feel good about the self, and his or her concern for the partner's need to feel good about the self, can affect the couple's interaction behavior. In the present study, individual differences in the mot...
Article
Two studies addressed five issues concerning complementarity in romantic relationships and suggest that complementarity deserves a new look. Dating couples (N= 28 couples) and married couples (N= 43). were given performance feedback to assess effects on self and perceived partner relevance. We found that comparison with a partner but not comparison...
Article
Viewing selves as negotiating idiosyncratic life niches may be useful in understanding life change. When less resistant self attributes and environmental presses conflict, the self tends to reflect the environment; when more resistant self attributes (e.g., those high in heritability) and environmental presses conflict, the individual will tend to...
Article
Full-text available
The author index of the Handbook of Social Psychology (Gilbert, Fiske & Lindzey, 1998) and of Social Psychology: Handbook of Basic Processes (Higgins & Kruglanski, 1996) served as the basis for identifying and describing some of the people constructing social psychology in the 1990s. Over 10,000 names are mentioned, but relatively few are mentioned...
Article
This book showcases current research that asks a variety of questions: Can goals be activated outside our awareness? How do interpersonal dynamics affect self? How do we maintain a distinctive identity in a group context? Is too much choice or self-determination "bad"? How does self-esteem and morality influence self? Chapter authors discuss the im...
Article
In a series of studies it was demonstrated that activating the self is sufficient to increase social comparison tendencies. Treating the relevant constructs as individual differences that can be measured as well as contextual variables that can be manipulated, the authors show that individual differences in self-activation are correlated with inter...
Article
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Many qualitatively different mechanisms for regulating self-esteem have been described in the literature. These include, for example, reduction of cognitive dissonance, self-affirmation, and social comparison. The work reviewed here demonstrates that despite their differences, these mechanisms may be substitutable for one another. For example, a th...
Book
This volume on intraindividual processes is one of a set of four handbooks in the social psychology field and covers social cognition, attitudes, and attribution theory. Includes contributions by academics and other experts from around the world to ensure a truly international perspective. Provides a comprehensive overview of classic and current re...
Article
Full-text available
The current literature describes a number of mechanisms by which self-esteem is affected and regulated. Using exemplars from three different families of such mechanisms—cognitive consistency, social comparison, and value expression—the three studies reported here (in addition to others in the literature) indicate that these qualitatively different...
Article
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The present study examined the effect of performance feedback on couple’s problem-solving interactions. A couple’s performance ecology was defined in terms of self-evaluation maintenance theory. A performance ecology is balanced when self outperforms partner on dimensions relevant to self but irrelevant to partner and when partner outperforms self...
Article
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A case is made for the substitutability of self-esteem regulation mechanisms such as cognitive dissonance reduction, self-affirmation, and social comparison. For example, a threat to self via cognitive dissonance might be reduced by a favorable social comparison outcome. To explain substitution, it is suggested that self-esteem regulation mechanism...
Article
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Using cellular automata, the authors show how mutual influences among elements of self-relevant information give rise to dynamism, differentiation, and global evaluation in self-concept. The model assumes a press for integration that promotes internally generated dynamics and enables the self-structure to operate as a self-organizing dynamical syst...
Article
Full-text available
Using cellular automata, the authors show how mutual influences among elements of self-relevant information give rise to dynamism, differentiation, and global evaluation in self-concept. The model assumes a press for integration that promotes internally generated dynamics and enables the self-structure to operate as a self-organizing dynamical syst...
Article
The relationship between facial features of popular American movie actresses and the social and economic conditions of the United States from 1932 to 1995 was investigated. Facial photographs of popular American movie actresses were located and digitally converted to graphics files to allow measurement of facial features. When social and economic c...
Article
Two studies examined self-defensiveness as a result of thinking about one's intimate relationship in terms of self-partner similarity or uniqueness. Fifty married couples (Study 1) and 106 single women who were involved in romantic relationships (Study 2) wrote essays on self-partner similarities or uniqueness or on movies (control). All participan...
Article
In a series of four studies, the self-evaluation maintenance (SEM) model is used to predict peoples' self-reported affective responses to doing better or worse than their partners. Both self-protective reactions to comparison (i.e., those predicted by the original SEM model) and empathic reactions to the partner's response (i.e., those predicted by...
Article
Full-text available
Relationships among stressful life events, negative affect, and judged quality of intimate relationships were explored. Three studies and a mini-meta-analysis revealed that as negative life events increased, judgments of close relationships gradually became less favorable, jumped back toward positivity, and then, again, gradually became less favora...
Article
This study explores the role of attitude heritability in connection with attitude change as a result of attitude discrepant behavior. Thirty four subjects were given high or low choice to write an essay which was discrepant from either a high heritability attitude or a low heritability attitude. High heritability attitudes were more resistant to ch...
Article
Relationships among stressful life events, negative affect, and judged quality of intimate relationships were explored. Three studies and a mini-meta-analysis revealed that as negative life events increased, judgments of close relationships gradually became less favorable, jumped back toward positivity, and then, again, gradually became less favora...
Article
The self-evaluation maintenance (SEM) model was originally developed to integrate distinct literatures on the potential positive and negative consequences for the self of being outperformed by others. Because close others are of particular importance for both of the basic processes thought to underlie the SEM model, committed heterosexual relations...
Article
In a replication of Tesser and Crelia (Personality and Individual Differences, 16, 571–577, 1994), 40 subjects provided their attitudes on items selected from two inventories of political conservatism. (The heritabilities of these items had been previously estimated.) In a second task, subjects chose among four alternatives on each of 50 trials. Ea...
Article
This research project posits a model of repression that incorporates both repressive personality and repressive social behavior. The 1st parameter of the model specifies the motivation for repressors' distancing of themselves from emotional events. Experiment 1 demonstrates that repressors are hypersensitive--in their cognitive attention--to both n...
Article
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[the terms ruminative thoughts or rumination] refer to a class of conscious thoughts that revolve around a common instrumental theme and that recur in the absence of immediate environmental demands requiring the thoughts / propose a formal definition of rumination and a theoretical model / the model addresses [goals and other] factors that initiate...
Article
examine the role of conscious thought on at least 2 facets of attitude strength: attitude extremity (polarization) and the attitude-behavior link / in both cases the concern is the mechanisms by which thought has its impact / because thought about particular attitude objects is consequential, it is important to understand what initiates and directs...
Article
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focus . . . on the implications that self-evaluation maintenance (SEM) processes have for close relationships and global self-esteem / [describe] the original SEM model, which emphasizes 2 antagonistic processes that are crucial to the maintenance of positive self-evaluations: reflection and comparison / describe the extended SEM model, which holds...
Article
In his last editorial, the editor of Journal of Personality and Social Psychology acknowledges the hard work of his editorial team and the journal's reviewers, and then discusses why he chose to step down after four years, rather than the usual six. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Recent evidence indicates that attitudes with high heritabilities are more accessible, more resistant to change, and produce larger similarity-attraction effects (i.e. are stronger) than attitudes with low heritabilities. These effects may be the outcropping of people constructing social niches that protect those attitudes which are based on biolog...
Article
Full-text available
Social prediction was used to examine the causal role of physiological arousal in self- evaluation maintenance (SEM) processes. Subjects' level of arousal was manipulated by having half of the subjects engage in physical exercise and half of the subjects relax prior to receiving performance feedback on high and low relevance tasks. On each task, su...
Article
emphasize the sudden and dramatic changes in behavior that seem to characterize many social psychological phenomena / concepts and principles of catastrophe theory—perhaps the first contemporary dynamical systems theory—are brought to bear on such topics as social influence and love (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The article examines the way in which couples divide decision-making power in marital relationships using the Self Evaluation Maintenance (SEM) model and its extension to marital relationships as a guiding framework. A sample of 90 couples was used to test the effect of distribution of marital decision making power on marital satisfaction. As predi...
Article
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It is argued that differences in response heritability may have important implications for the testing of general psychological theories, that is, responses that differ in heritability may function differently. For example, attitudes higher in heritability are shown to be responded to more quickly, to be more resistant to change, and to be more con...
Article
Three studies were conducted to test the hypothesis that effort exerted under conditions of high task orientation or in response to a difficult task can neutralize previously induced negative and positive moods. In the first study a negative or neutral mood was induced in subjects through exposure to film clips with either a sad or neutral content....
Article
Full-text available
There are currently a large number of models which identify self-evaluation (self-esteem) as an important source of motivation. However, these models often posit qualitatively different antecedents and consequences. The present studies focus on the questions of whether these qualitatively different behavioral systems affect the same or different me...
Article
Three studies were conducted to extend the Self-Evaluation Maintenance (SEM) model to romantic relationships. Subjects in all three studies indicated the importance of sixty-eight activities to themselves and, in Studies 2 and 3, to their partners. For activities that were relevant to subjects' self-definitions, a comparison effect emerged; subject...
Article
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A prospective study tested the hypothesis that college grade point average (GPA) would be predicted by time-management practices. 90 college students completed a time-management questionnaire in 1983; their high school Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores were obtained from college records. Principal-components analysis of the 35-item time-managem...
Article
Although high levels of anger and low levels of parental agreement are generally associated with poor adolescent functioning, this may not always be the case. In particular, from the child's perspective, when one parent is angry on a large number of issues, parental agreement may be dysfunctional because the second parent is unavailable to buffer t...
Article
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sketched a model in which social comparison can lead to a threat to self-evaluation and social reflection can lead to a boost in self-evaluation / aspect of the model that we focused on was its emotional concomitants / looked at arousal and affect as markers of the SEM [self evaluation maintenance] processes / turned to the subjective experiences a...
Article
This editorial announces some administrative changes that have been made at the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The number of people serving as associate editors has been increased. The positive consequences of this decision are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The present study investigated the independence of Self-Evaluation Maintenance (SEM) processes and the larger self-system. SEM processes are activated whenever another's performance is made salient relative to one's own. According to the SEM model, when one is outperformed by a close other on a task high in self-relevance, self-esteem is lowered an...
Article
The present study is intended to replicate, extend, and test Smith and Ellsworth's appraisal model of emotion. Twenty-six subjects were asked to recall eight different situations that varied in the closeness of another coacting person, the relative performance of self and other, and the relevance of the performance to the self For each of these sit...
Article
Revue de synthese de la litterature parue entre janvier 1986 et decembre 1988 sur les attitudes et les changements d'attitude (structure des attitudes, les attitudes comme predicteur du comportement, les fonctions des attitudes)
Article
Two studies examined the causal role of emotional arousal in self-evaluation maintenance processes. In previous work, Tesser and Campbell (1982) found that Ss were most charitable in their perception of another's performance when self-relevance was low and the other was close. If emotional arousal mediated this pattern of behavior, then the pattern...
Article
The objective of the present study was to provide information about the following aspects of the parent-adolescent conflict: (1) Who argues with whom about what in families with early-adolescent children, and (2) what is the relationship between affect in family discussion and adolescent adjustment? Sixty-nine families with an early adolescent serv...
Article
Full-text available
The present study is concerned with the moderating role of affective-cognitive consistency in the relationship between attitudes and behavior. Based on earlier research (Millar & Tesser, 1986), attitudes were conceptualized as containing an affective and a cognitive component and subsequent behaviors as being driven by one of these components. It w...
Book
Full-text available
This chapter discusses social behavior through self-evaluation maintenance (SEM) model. It describes several studies to provide a feel for the kind of research that has been completed in an attempt to explore the predictions of the model. The SEM model is composed of two dynamic processes. Both the reflection process and the comparison process have...
Article
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We asked 26 subjects to recall and describe social situations in which either a close or a distant other performed better or worse than the self at an activity that was either high or low in relevance to the self. Subjects then rated the extent to which they experienced each of 18 different emotions in each situation. They also rated each situation...
Article
A model is presented to explain the occurrence of intrusive thought subsequent to threatening life experiences. The self hypothesized to be partly composed of a number of behavior sequences representing important aspects of the self. Threatening life events disrupt the self by interrupting one or more of these sequences. This interruption is threat...
Article
100 college students completed a questionnaire on their reasons for going to movies and for their enjoyment of them. Each S grouped recent movie titles into categories and indicated their preference for each group. Factor analysis revealed 3 general types of moviegoers: Ss who attended movies as a means of self-escape, Ss who attended as a means of...
Article
In this study helping behavior was predicted to have either a positive or negative impact on mood, depending on how it affects the helper's focus of attention. When a helping act focuses attention away from the conditions producing the initial mood, the initial mood is weakened. Alternatively, when a helping act focuses attention on the conditions...
Article
Deceptive behavior is viewed as a mechanism by which a threat to the maintenance of a social relationship is temporarily resolved. In this study, we investigated two social relationships: parent-child and employer-employee. Eighty American students evaluated 32 behaviors from the perspective of a son or daughter and from the perspective of an emplo...
Article
Full-text available
A self-evaluation maintenance (SEM) model of social behavior was described. According to the comparison process, when another outperforms the self on a task high in relevance to the self, the closer the other the greater the threat to self-evaluation. According to the reflection process, when another outperforms the self on a task low in relevance...
Article
Although researchers have isolated various aspects of the loneliness experience, they have failed to comprehend the processes that occur along with, and as a result of, feeling lonely. This study addressed this issue by examining the relations between two sets of predictors (personal characteristics; situational and attributional variables), a `len...
Article
Examined the effects of group pressure, self-doubt, extremity of the norm, and norm extremity order on conformity and attention among 117 undergraduates. Findings show that conformity was greater with high pressure, high self-doubt, a more extreme norm, and an increasing extremity order. The effects of pressure and self-doubt on conformity were not...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research has produced contradictory findings regarding the effects of thought on the attitude–behavior relation. In an attempt to integrate these findings, the present authors proposed that thought may make either the affective or cognitive component of the attitude more salient and, thus, more important in the formation of the general eva...
Article
Conducted 4 studies with 218 undergraduates in an attempt to integrate hypotheses about the effects of thought and schema complexity on attitude polarization proposed by P. W. Linville (see record 1982-25791-001) and the 2nd author and C. Leone (see record 1978-09847-001). Linville's work showed that more extreme attitudes were associated with si...
Chapter
This chapter deals with some issues concerning the correspondence of the self one presents to others and what one believes to be “true” of the self. That is, we are concerned with the discrepancy between what Baumeister and Tice (Chapter 3, this volume) call the public self and the self-concept. Our interest in these issues stems from a theory of s...
Article
Examined the interrelations among performance in school, friendship choices in the classroom, and the importance of various school-related activities for 270 5th- and 6th graders' self-definition, using the self-evaluation maintenance (SEM) model. Ss were administered the Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale, and 16 teachers rated Ss' perform...
Article
When individuals learn the outcome of an event or the correct answer to a question, they overestimate its prior predictability: that is, they tend to believe they “knew it all along.” Cognitive and motivational interpretations of hindsight bias are briefly reviewed and a study designed to test the motivational interpretation is reported. Specifical...
Article
Full-text available
The present investigation sought to examine the differential effects of expected versus unexpected information on interpretive activity. It was predicted that expected information would involve an automatic mode of processing, while unexpected information would prompt a more controlled mode. More specifically, we examined the proposition that unexp...
Article
The theorizing of Asch and Moscovici was used as a framework for exploring the relationships among social pressure, attention to the stimulus, doubt about one's own judgment, and conformity. Male and female subjects (N = 185) were confronted either with one (low social pressure) or three (high social pressure) others who judged 12 critical pairs of...
Article
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Evaluation of Ss' own performances and beliefs about an audience's evaluation of Ss' own performances were manipulated to examine their effects on self-definition. 48 pairs of male undergraduates worked independently on tasks said to be valid indicators of a fictitious trait called "cognitive perceptual integration" (CPI). Relevance of CPI to an S'...
Article
Prior knowledge was varied in problem solving, thinking, and reading tasks in three experiments. The hypothesis was that the prior knowledge used in a cognitive task uses capacity in the same limited capacity active processing system that is used to process the ongoing task. In a reading experiment, prior knowledge about a target page was manipulat...
Article
Full-text available
Building on some concepts and methods recently introduced by Spiegel and Machotka, this investigation deals with four common nonverbal signifiers of social dominance: lateral opposition, precedence, posture (sitting and standing), and elevation. Our concern is to know how interdependent these signifiers may be and whether they are equally meaningfu...
Article
According to a recent self‐evaluation maintenance model, three variables — one's relative level of performance in school, the relevance of school to one's self‐definition, and the psychological closeness of comparison to others in the classroom — act in concert to affect self‐evaluation. By assuming that individuals behave so as to maximize self‐ev...
Article
This paper describes the self-evaluation maintenance model (SEM) which suggests that much social behavior can be understood by assuming that persons are motivated to maintain a positive self-evaluation. The two processes by which one's social circumstances may affect self-evaluation, i.e., reflection and comparison, are described. The relationship...

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