Bertram Gawronski

Bertram Gawronski
University of Texas at Austin | UT · Department of Psychology

PhD

About

201
Publications
280,917
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15,008
Citations
Introduction
Bertram Gawronski's research uses a social-cognitive approach to address three broad questions: (1) How do people make evaluative judgments about what is good or bad? (2) How do people make veracity judgments about what is true or false? (3) How do people make moral judgments about what is right or wrong? To address these questions, his research utilizes a combination of lab and online studies, explicit and implicit measures, and computational modeling.
Additional affiliations
January 2014 - present
University of Texas at Austin
Position
  • Professor
August 2004 - December 2013
The University of Western Ontario
Position
  • Professor
Education
September 1998 - July 2001
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Field of study
  • Psychology

Publications

Publications (201)
Article
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Research across many disciplines seeks to understand how misinformation spreads with a view towards limiting its impact. One important question in this research is how people determine whether a given piece of news is real or fake. The current article discusses the value of Signal Detection Theory (SDT) in disentangling two distinct aspects in the...
Article
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Pennycook and Rand (2021) argue that lack of cognitive reflection is a major cause of fake-news susceptibility, and that recent evidence contradicts the idea that people fall for fake news because of partisan bias. Although the proposed role of cognitive reflection is consistent with the evidence reviewed by the authors, their dismissal of partisan...
Article
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A major question in clinical and moral psychology concerns the nature of the commonly presumed association between psychopathy and moral judgment. The current preregistered study (N = 443) aimed to address this question by examining the relation between psychopathy and responses to moral dilemmas pitting consequences for the greater good against ad...
Article
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Previous research suggests that individuals who prefer deontological over utilitarian choices in moral dilemmas are perceived to have stronger moral character than individuals who show the reverse preference. To gain deeper insights into the link between moral choices and moral impressions, the current research used a formal modeling approach to ex...
Article
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Adaptive behavior requires that organisms learn not only which stimuli tend to co-occur (e.g., whether stimulus A co-occurs with unpleasant stimulus B), but also how co-occurring stimuli are related (e.g., whether A starts or stops B). In a preregistered study (N=200 adults), we investigated whether sleep would promote adaptive evaluative choices r...
Article
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Based on a review of several "anomalies" in research using implicit measures, Machery (2021) dismisses the modal interpretation of participant responses on implicit measures and, by extension, the value of implicit measures. We argue that the reviewed findings are anomalies only for specific-influential but long-contested-accounts that treat respon...
Chapter
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In the current chapter, we illustrate the value of a mathematical modeling approach in understanding individual differences in moral dilemma judgments. Toward this end, we first explain the traditional approach to studying moral dilemma judgments and its limitations. We then describe the CNI model of moral decision-making (Gawronski, Armstrong, Con...
Article
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Joshua Greene has argued that the empirical findings of cognitive science have implications for ethics. In particular, he has argued (1) that people's deontological judgments in response to trolley problems are strongly influenced by at least one morally irrelevant factor, personal force, and are therefore at least somewhat unreliable, and (2) that...
Article
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Research suggests that evaluations of an object can be simultaneously influenced by (1) the mere co-occurrence of the object with a pleasant or unpleasant stimulus (e.g., mere co-occurrence of object A and negative event B) and (2) the object's particular relation to the co-occurring stimulus (e.g., object A starts vs. stops negative event B). Usin...
Preprint
The “drunk utilitarian” phenomenon suggests that people are more likely to accept harm for the greater good when they are under the influence of alcohol. This phenomenon conflicts with the ideas that (1) acceptance of pro-sacrificial harm requires inhibitory control of automatic emotional responses to the idea of causing harm and (2) alcohol impair...
Article
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The "drunk utilitarian" phenomenon suggests that people are more likely to accept harm for the greater good when they are under the influence of alcohol. This phenomenon conflicts with the ideas that (1) acceptance of pro-sacrificial harm requires inhibitory control of automatic emotional responses to the idea of causing harm and (2) alcohol impair...
Article
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Research suggests that people sometimes perceive a relationship between stimuli when no such relationship exists (i.e., illusory correlation). Illusory-correlation effects are thought to play a central role in the formation of stereotypes and evaluations of minority versus majority groups, often leading to less favorable impressions of minorities....
Article
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Many real-world dilemmas involve disagreement about whether decisions should follow moral norms in an unconditional manner (deontology) or be based on the consequences for the greater good (utilitarianism). To examine how political ideology may account for some of these disagreements, the current research used a formal modeling approach to investig...
Article
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Research suggests that evaluations of an object can be jointly influenced by (1) the mere co-occurrence of the object with a pleasant or unpleasant stimulus (e.g., mere co-occurrence of object A and negative event B) and (2) the object's specific relation to the co-occurring stimulus (e.g., object A starts vs. stops negative event B). Three experim...
Article
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The positivity-familiarity effect refers to the phenomenon that positive affect increases the likelihood that people judge a stimulus as familiar. Drawing on the assumption that positivity-familiarity effects result from a common misattribution mechanism that is shared with conceptually similar effects (e.g., fluency-familiarity effects), we invest...
Article
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Research suggests that evaluative responses to an object can be jointly influenced by the mere co-occurrence of the object with a pleasant or unpleasant stimulus (e.g., mere co-occurrence of object A with unpleasant event B) and the qualitative relation of the object to that stimulus (e.g., object A starts vs. stops unpleasant event B). Expanding o...
Article
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Although moral dilemma judgments are influenced by a variety of situational factors, there is evidence for considerable disagreement between individuals. Using the CNI model to disentangle (1) sensitivity to consequences, (2) sensitivity to moral norms, and (3) general preference for inaction versus action in responses to moral dilemmas, the curren...
Chapter
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Dual-process theories propose that judgments and behavior can be understood as the product of two (sets of) qualitatively distinct processes, one being characterized by features of automatic processing and the other by features of controlled processing. This chapter provides an overview of dual-process theories in social psychology, integrating bot...
Chapter
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A substantial body of research suggests that perceivers spontaneously draw inferences from observed behaviors even when they do not have the intention to form a social impression. Such unintentional inferences have been found to give rise to impressions of other people’s traits (i.e., spontaneous trait inference; see Uleman, Newman, & Moskowitz, 19...
Article
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Past studies of backward evaluative conditioning (EC) have found an assimilation effect, in that neutral conditional stimuli (CS) were found to acquire the valence of co-occurring unconditional stimuli (US). Recent studies employing a concurrent forward and backward conditioning paradigm with instructions suggesting a contrastive relation between t...
Article
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Research on moral dilemma judgment suggests that higher levels of psychopathy are associated with a greater preference for utilitarian over deontological judgments. The current research investigated whether this association reflects (1) differences in the understanding of what society considers right or wrong or (2) differences in personal standard...
Article
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Evaluative conditioning is one of the most widely studied procedures for establishing and changing attitudes. The surveillance task is a highly cited evaluative-conditioning paradigm and one that is claimed to generate attitudes without awareness. The potential for evaluative-conditioning effects to occur without awareness continues to fuel concept...
Article
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The year 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of two seminal publications that have set the foundation for an exponentially growing body of research using implicit measures: Fazio, Jackson, Dunton, and Williams's (1995) work using evaluative priming to measure racial attitudes, and Greenwald and Banaji's (1995) review of implicit social cognition resear...
Article
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The CNI model of moral decision-making is a formal model that quantifies (1) sensitivity to consequences, (2) sensitivity to moral norms, and (3) general preference for inaction versus action in responses to moral dilemmas. Based on a critique of the CNI model's conceptual assumptions, properties of the moral dilemmas for research using the CNI mod...
Article
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The science behind implicit bias tests (e.g., Implicit Association Test) has become the target of increased criticism. However, policy-makers seeking to combat discrimination care about reducing bias in people's actual behaviors, not about changing a person's score on an implicit bias test. In line with this argument, we postulate that scientific c...
Article
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Research on contextualized attitude change suggests that, even when counterattitudinal information effectively influences evaluations in the context in which this information was learned, previously formed attitudes sometimes continue to determine evaluations in any other context (contextual renewal). Expanding on evidence for contextual renewal in...
Article
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What is the status of research on implicit bias? In light of meta-analyses revealing ostensibly low average correlations between implicit measures and behavior, as well as various other psychometric concerns, criticism has become ubiquitous. We argue that while there are significant challenges and ample room for improvement, research on the causes,...
Article
Although stereotypes and prejudice are commonly regarded as conceptually distinct but related constructs, previous research remains silent on the processes underlying their relation. Applying the balance-congruity principle (Greenwald et al., 2002) to the concepts (1) group, (2) valence, and (3) attribute, we argue that the valence of attributes co...
Article
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Typical moral dilemmas pitting the consequences of a given action against the action's consistency with moral norms confound several determinants of moral judgments. Dissociating these determinants, the CNI model allows researchers to quantify sensitivity to consequences, sensitivity to norms, and general preference for inaction over action regardl...
Article
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We leverage the notion that abstraction enables prediction to generate novel insights and hypotheses for the literatures on attitudes and mate preferences. We suggest that ideas about liking (e.g., evaluations of categories or overall traits) are more abstract than experiences of liking (e.g., evaluations of particular exemplars), and that ideas ab...
Article
Academic life is full of learning, excitement, and discovery. However, academics also experience professional challenges at various points in their career, including repeated rejection, impostor syndrome, and burnout. These negative experiences are rarely talked about publicly, creating a sense of loneliness and isolation for people who presume the...
Preprint
Full-text available
Evaluative conditioning (EC) is one of the most widely-studied procedures for establishing and changing attitudes. The surveillance-task (Olson & Fazio, 2001) is a highly cited EC paradigm, and one that is claimed to generate attitudes without awareness. The potential for EC effects to occur without awareness continues to fuel conceptual, theoretic...
Article
The positivity-familiarity effect suggests that people use positive affect as a cue to answer the question of whether they have encountered a stimulus before. Five experiments investigated this effect under various conditions. Positivity-familiarity effects were obtained irrespective of whether the task context suggested a correct answer to the que...
Article
Dual-process theories of evaluative learning suggest that evaluative representations can be formed via two functionally distinct mechanisms: automatic formation of associative links between co-occurring events (associative learning) and non-automatic generation and truth assessment of mental propositions about the relation between stimuli (proposit...
Article
Evaluative priming is based on the notion that evaluative classifications of target stimuli are faster (vs. slower) when they are preceded by a prime stimulus of the same (vs. opposite) valence. Although evaluative priming is widely used as an implicit measure of evaluation, there is no common procedure for the treatment of response-latency outlier...
Article
Counter to the lay belief that power corrupts people's sense of morality, social psychological theories suggest that the effects of power on moral judgment are rather complex and multifaceted. To test competing predictions derived from these theories, five experiments used the CNI model to investigate whether power affects responses to moral dilemm...
Article
The notion of lateral attitude change (LAC) suggests that counterattitudinal information about a focal object can influence attitudes toward related objects. Generalization occurs when change in attitudes toward a focal object is accompanied by change in attitudes toward related objects. Displacement occurs when attitudes toward related objects cha...
Article
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We identify several ongoing debates related to implicit measures, surveying prominent views and considerations in each. First, we summarize the debate regarding whether performance on implicit measures is explained by conscious or unconscious representations. Second, we discuss the cognitive structure of the operative constructs: are they associati...
Article
According to the principle of utilitarianism, the moral status of an action depends on its consequences for the greater good; the principle of deontology states that the moral status of an action depends on its consistency with moral norms. Previous research suggests that processing moral dilemmas in a foreign language influences utilitarian and de...
Article
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Moral dilemma judgements frequently involve decisions where moral norms and the greater good are in conflict. The current preregistered study tested the effect of the steroid hormone testosterone on moral dilemma judgements using a double-blind administration of testosterone or placebo. Counter to predictions, testosterone administration led to inc...
Article
Skepticism about the explanatory value of implicit bias in understanding social discrimination has grown considerably. The current article argues that both the dominant narrative about implicit bias as well as extant criticism are based on a selective focus on particular findings that fails to consider the broader literature on attitudes and implic...
Article
Amodio [1] argues that social cognition research has for many decades relied on imprecise dual-process models that build on questionable assumptions about how people learn and represent information. He presents an alternative framework for explaining social behavior as the product of multiple dissociable memory systems, based on the idea that cogni...
Article
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Expanding on conflicting theoretical conceptualizations of implicit bias, six studies tested the effectiveness of different procedures to increase acknowledgement of harboring biases against minorities. Participants who predicted their responses towards pictures of various minority groups on future IATs showed increased alignment between implicit a...
Chapter
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In contrast to the reliance on self-reports in explicit measures, implicit measures infer mental contents from responses on performance-based tasks. The current chapter provides an introduction to implicit measures, their use in basic and applied psychology, and the theoretical meaning of their measurement outcomes. Expanding on an overview of avai...
Article
Effects of incidental emotions on moral dilemma judgments have garnered interest because they demonstrate the context-dependent nature of moral decision-making. Six experiments (N = 727) investigated the effects of incidental happiness, sadness, and anger on responses in moral dilemmas that pit the consequences of a given action for the greater goo...
Article
Evaluative conditioning (EC) is defined as the change in the evaluation of a conditioned stimulus (CS) due to its pairing with a positive or negative unconditioned stimulus (US). According to the associative-propositional evaluation (APE) model, EC effects can be the result of two functionally distinct learning mechanisms: associative and propositi...
Article
Previous research has shown that changes in the evaluation of an attitude object can be limited to the context in which counterattitudinal information was learned. To account for these findings, it has been proposed that exposure to expectancy-violating information enhances attention to context, which leads to an integration of the context into the...
Article
Negative information tends to dominate positive information across many domains. However, previous research did not find any evidence for valence asymmetries in the violation of expectancies. The current research tested whether negativity bias in expectancy-violation depends on the amount of prior information that is available about a target. Drawi...
Article
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The current research tested the validity of the semantic misattribution procedure (SMP)—a variant of the affect misattribution procedure—as an implicit measure of gender stereotyping. In three studies (N = 604), prime words of gender-stereotypical occupations (e.g., nurse, doctor) influenced participants’ guesses of whether unknown Chinese ideograp...
Chapter
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The desire to maintain consistency between cognitions has been recognized by many psychologists as an important human motive. Research on this topic has been highly influential in a variety of areas of social cognition, including attitudes, person perception, prejudice and stereotyping, and self-evaluation. In his seminal work on cognitive dissonan...
Article
The current chapter reviews the findings of an ongoing research program suggesting that changes in attitudes can be limited to the context in which counterattitudinal information was learned. The reviewed findings indicate that, although counterattitudinal information may effectively influence evaluations in the context in which this information wa...
Chapter
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The present chapter provides a theory-based analysis of East-West differences in context effects on evaluative responses. Drawing on documented cultural differences in social cognition and a recently proposed representational theory of contextualized evaluation, we discuss how cultural differences in attention and thinking styles may influence the...
Article
Priming effects in the Affect Misattribution Procedure (AMP) have been explained by a misattribution of prime-related affect to neutral targets. However, the measure has been criticized for being susceptible to intentional use of prime features in judgments of the targets. To isolate the contribution of unintentional processes, the present research...
Article
Evaluative conditioning (EC) is defined as the change in the evaluation of a conditioned stimulus (CS) due to its pairing with a valenced unconditioned stimulus (US). Expanding on the debate between dual-process and propositional accounts, two studies investigated the relative effectiveness of counter-conditioning and counter-instructions in revers...
Article
The distinction between utilitarianism and deontology has become a prevailing framework for conceptualizing moral judgment. According to the principle of utilitarianism, the morality of an action depends on its outcomes. In contrast, the principle of deontology states that the morality of an action depends on its consistency with moral norms. To id...
Article
Research on moral dilemma judgments has been fundamentally shaped by the distinction between utilitarianism and deontology. According to the principle of utilitarianism, the moral status of behavioral options depends on their consequences; the principle of deontology states that the moral status of behavioral options depends on their consistency wi...
Article
Previous research has shown that changes in automatic evaluations can be limited to the context in which counterattitudinal information was acquired. This effect has been attributed to enhanced attention to context cues during the encoding of expectancy-violating counterattitudinal information. Drawing on previous evidence for cultural differences...
Article
Research on implicit evaluation has yielded mixed results with some studies suggesting that implicit evaluations are relatively resistant to change and others showing that implicit evaluations can change rapidly in response to new information. To reconcile these findings, it has been suggested that changes in implicit evaluations can be limited to...
Article
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A common assumption about implicit measures is that they reflect early experiences, whereas explicit measures are assumed to reflect recent experiences. This assumption subsumes two distinct hypotheses: (1) implicit measures are more resistant to situationally induced changes than explicit measures; (2) individual differences on implicit measures a...
Article
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Previous research demonstrated that mere instructions to approach one stimulus and avoid another stimulus result in an implicit preference for the to-be-approached over the to-be-avoided stimulus. To investigate the mechanisms underlying approach-avoidance (AA) instruction effects, we tested predictions of a propositional account and an associative...
Article
Although perceived inconsistencies play a central role in how people understand the world, research on impression formation has largely neglected lay perceptions of inconsistency. The current research seeks to address this gap by investigating perceived inconsistencies between positive and negative information along the dimensions of warmth and com...
Article
Evaluative conditioning (EC) is defined as the change in the evaluation of a conditioned stimulus (CS) due to its pairing with a valenced unconditioned stimulus (US). According to propositional accounts, EC effects should be qualified by the relation between the CS and the US. Dual-process accounts suggest that relational information should qualify...
Article
Evaluative conditioning (EC) is defined as the change in the evaluation of a conditioned stimulus (CS) due to its pairing with a valenced uncondi-tioned stimulus (US). Because EC involves the acquisition of evaluative responses, previous EC research has paid relatively little attention to the processes involved in the expression of evaluative respo...
Article
Most legal systems are based on the premise that defendants are treated as innocent until proven guilty and that decisions will be unbiased and solely based on the facts of the case. The validity of this assumption has been questioned for cases involving racial minority members, in that racial bias among jury members may influence jury decisions. T...
Article
Previous research suggests that ownership influences self-perceptions and behaviors. According to dominant theories in this area, a key to understanding the effects of ownership is the mental association between the owner and the owned object. However, little is known about the formation of such associations. Drawing on principles of associative ne...
Article
Previous research suggests that ownership influences self-perceptions and behaviors. According to dominant theories in this area, a key to understanding the effects of ownership is the mental association between the owner and the owned object. However, little is known about the formation of such associations. Drawing on principles of associative ne...
Chapter
Full-text available