Eric R. Igou

Eric R. Igou
University of Limerick | UL · Department of Psychology

PhD

About

106
Publications
44,160
Reads
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2,379
Citations
Additional affiliations
August 2008 - present
University of Limerick
January 2008 - November 2016
University of Limerick
Position
  • Chair of SOCO-UL Lab, Founder of PPS-UL; on sabbatical until July 2017
April 2004 - July 2008
Tilburg University
Position
  • Tilburg University

Publications

Publications (106)
Article
We tested if boredom is associated with pornography use and what role low perceived meaning in life plays in their association. Following work on the existential escape hypothesis, we hypothesised that pornography consumption may be used to escape from the perceived meaninglessness that boredom signals. We tested whether perceived meaninglessness p...
Preprint
It is crucial to understand why people comply with measures to contain viruses and their effects during pandemics. We provide evidence from 35 countries (Ntotal = 12,553) from six continents during the COVID-19 pandemic that the social perception of key protagonists on two basic dimensions of social perception – warmth and competence – played a cru...
Article
Full-text available
People differ in the extent to which they express a need for sense-making (NSM), and these individual differences are important to understand in light of meaning-making processes. To quantify this important variable, we originally proposed a need for sense-making scale. We now propose a refined, similarly reliable short version of the scale (NSM-SF...
Article
Full-text available
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 as...
Article
Full-text available
Unfortunately, some people are perceived as boring. Despite the potential relevance that these perceptions might have in everyday life, the underlying psychological processes and consequences of perceiving a person as “boring” have been largely unexplored. We examined the stereotypical features of boring others by having people generate (Study 1) a...
Article
Full-text available
Boredom is a prevalent experience linked to negative psychological and societal outcomes. Building on the notion that sources of meaning in life can mitigate boredom, we examined whether self-compassion would be negatively associated with boredom and if the elevated sense of meaning in life that self-compassion offers could explain this negative as...
Article
During stressful circumstances, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, disturbances in emotional experiences can occur. These emotional disturbances, if not relieved or regulated, can be associated with feelings of depression. Currently, little is known about which emotional experiences (positive and negative) are associated with feelings of depression dur...
Article
Full-text available
Observed variability and complexity of judgments of 'right' and 'wrong' cannot currently be readily accounted for within extant approaches to understanding moral judgment. In response to this challenge we present a novel perspective on categorization in moral judgment. Moral judgment as categorization (MJAC) incorporates principles of category form...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we introduce the concept of ‘societal emotional environment’: the emotional climate of a society (operationalized as the degree to which positive and negative emotions are expressed in a society). Using data collected from 12,888 participants across 49 countries, we show how societal emotional environments vary across countries and c...
Article
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Numerous studies document that societal happiness is correlated with individualism, but the nature of this phenomenon remains understudied. In the current paper, we address this gap and test the reasoning that individualism correlates with societal happiness because the most common measure of societal happiness (i.e., country-level aggregates of pe...
Article
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Our research examines the relationship between just-world beliefs and helping. Specifically, we pose that the belief in just world increases helping intentions via perceptions of meaning in life. Consistently, across two studies we found that higher levels of just-world beliefs corresponded with stronger helping intentions. In Study 1, individual d...
Article
Boredom is a common, unpleasant emotion that conveys meaninglessness in life and compels people to escape from this adverse existential experience. Within the paradigm of social psychology frameworks, previous research found that bored people endorse cultural sources of meaning as compensation against this state (e.g., nostalgia, political ideologi...
Article
We synthesize established and emerging research to propose a feedback process model that explicates key antecedents, experiences, and consequences of the emotion boredom. The proposed Boredom Feedback Model posits that the dynamic process of boredom resembles a feedback loop that centers on attention-shifts instigated by inadequate attentional enga...
Article
Full-text available
How can we maximize what is learned from a replication study? In the creative destruction approach to replication, the original hypothesis is compared not only to the null hypothesis, but also to predictions derived from multiple alternative theoretical accounts of the phenomenon. To this end, new populations and measures are included in the design...
Article
Full-text available
How can we maximize what is learned from a replication study? In the creative destruction approach to replication, the original hypothesis is compared not only to the null hypothesis, but also to predictions derived from multiple alternative theoretical accounts of the phenomenon. To this end, new populations and measures are included in the design...
Article
Full-text available
We investigated the relationships between boredom susceptibility, perceived meaninglessness, and attitudes to sex among heterosexual and bisexual men. We propose that meaninglessness is associated with men's increased endorsement of sensational and uncommitted sex via boredom susceptibility. In Study 1, we found a significant indirect relationship...
Article
Full-text available
Disillusionment arises when life experiences strongly discredited positive assumptions or deeply help beliefs. Under these conditions, people feel lost, confused, and disconnected from their social environments. Ultimately, disillusioned individuals struggle to maintain meaning and inhabit a state of existential concern. However, the past can provi...
Article
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The relationships between subjective status and perceived legitimacy are important for understanding the extent to which people with low status are complicit in their oppression. We use novel data from 66 samples and 30 countries (N = 12,788) and find that people with higher status see the social system as more legitimate than those with lower stat...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Moral dumbfounding occurs when people defend a moral judgment even though they cannot provide a reason in support of this judgment. Across a series of studies (N = 1081) we developed methods and materials for measuring and testing dumbfounded responding. We then identified specific situational features and individual differences that moderate dumbf...
Article
Antiheroes are characters that share features with both heroes and villains, typified as selfish and rule-breakers, but who end up doing something good for society. In this research, we examined how priming people with antiheroes (vs. heroes) affected their sensation seeking. We reason that antiheroes (vs. heroes) are more associated with temporall...
Article
Moral dumbfounding occurs when people maintain a moral judgment even though they cannot provide reasons for it. Recently, questions have been raised about whether dumbfounding is a real phenomenon. Two reasons have been proposed as guiding the judgments of dumbfounded participants: harm-based reasons (believing an action may cause harm) or norm-bas...
Article
Disillusionment is acknowledged to be a painful process with important personal and social consequences. However, scientific conceptualisations of the experience are inconsistent. Across four studies, we examined whether lay conceptions of disillusionment produce a consistent pattern of features. In Study 1 (N = 204), we extracted 19 features of di...
Article
We examined if boredom is associated with risk‐taking. Although this association has frequently been postulated, it has rarely been tested, and the evidence has thus far been rather indirect and speculative. We conducted three studies to test this association more systematically. In Study 1, people high in boredom proneness reported greater risk‐ta...
Preprint
Full-text available
Moral dumbfounding occurs when people defend a moral judgement even though they cannot provide a reason in support of this judgement. It manifests as an admission of not having reasons, or the use of unsupported declarations (“it’s just wrong”) or tautological reasons (“because it’s incest”) as justifications for a judgment. We test a dual-processe...
Preprint
Full-text available
Observed variability and complexity of judgments of 'right' and 'wrong' cannot currently be readily accounted for within extant approaches to understanding moral judgment. In response to this challenge we present a novel perspective on categorization in moral judgment. Moral judgment as categorization (MJAC) incorporates principles of category form...
Chapter
Boredom is often portrayed as a minor Annoyance—a nuisance preserved for those in the luxurious position of simply having too much time on their hands. Surprisingly, however, this ubiquitous emotion holds major correlates and consequences, ranging from Depression, Aggression, and discrimination, to Creativity, reconnecting with our loved ones, and...
Presentation
Moral dumbfounding occurs when people defend a moral judgement even though they cannot provide a reason in support of this judgement. It manifests as an admission of not having reasons, or the use of unsupported declarations (\enquote{it’s just wrong}) or tautological reasons (\enquote{because it’s incest}) as justifications for a judgment. It is c...
Article
We propose that aggressive tendencies are more (vs. less) pronounced among people who frequently (vs. less frequently) experience challenges to their perceived meaning in life. We tested this hypothesis for three different forms of existential distress: loneliness, boredom, and disillusionment. The results of Study 1 confirm that loneliness is asso...
Article
People’s knowledge of the world is limited and frequently imprecise. Thus, epistemic challenges are commonplace and much research in psychology has investigated their consequences. However, research has not systematically investigated how states of negative affect correspond to the desire for understanding and meaning in life. We investigated the r...
Article
Full-text available
We theorized and tested that people’s predictions of their future as brighter than the present fulfill an important purpose: they give a sense of meaning to life. We systematically tested this existentialist hypothesis by adopting a self-regulatory approach. Study 1 indicates that envisioning a happier future helps people to find meaning in everyda...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Moral dumbfounding occurs when people defend a moral judgement even though they cannot provide a reason in support of this judgement. It manifests as an admission of not having reasons, or the use of unsupported declarations (“it’s just wrong”) or tautological reasons (“because it’s incest”) as justifications for a judgment. It typically occurs for...
Article
Full-text available
We investigated whether regret predicted the motivation to act heroically. In a series of studies, we examined the relationship between regret, search for meaning in life, and heroism motivation. First, Study 1 (a and b) investigated the association between regret and search for meaning in life, considering regret as a whole, action regret, and ina...
Preprint
Full-text available
Moral dumbfounding occurs when people maintain a moral judgment even though they cannot provide reasons for it. Recently, questions have been raised about whether dumbfounding is a real phenomenon. Two reasons have been proposed as guiding the judgments of dumbfounded participants: harm-based reasons (believing an action may cause harm) or norm-bas...
Article
Full-text available
Theories of boredom assert that boredom is a product of situational meaninglessness. We conducted two studies to test if the perceived meaningfulness of a situation is associated with state boredom, above and beyond sadness, personality traits, and boredom proneness. In Study 1, 105 participants (72.4% female: mean age = 33.9 years, SD = 17.5) desc...
Article
Boredom involves a lack meaning. Conversely, religiosity offers people a sense of meaning. Accordingly, we proposed that by imbuing a sense of meaningfulnesss, religiosity leads people to experience less boredom. Furthermore, we hypothesized and tested that by reducing boredom, religiosity indirectly inhibits the search for meaningful engagement. I...
Article
Full-text available
Belief in free will is founded on the idea that people are responsible for their behavior. People who believe in free will derive meaning in life from these beliefs. Conformity refers to succumbing to external pressures and imitating others’ behaviors. Sometimes, conformity involves a loss of self‐awareness, which reduces perceived meaninglessness....
Article
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We investigate experiences of disillusionment as a source of political polarization. Disillusioning experiences motivate a search for meaning, and we propose that people respond by seeking reassurance in political ideologies, reflected in political polarization. We first tested this hypothesis in the context of two major political events: the Europ...
Article
Full-text available
Moral dumbfounding is defined as maintaining a moral judgement, without supporting reasons. The most cited demonstration of dumbfounding does not identify a specific measure of dumbfounding and has not been published in peer-review form, or directly replicated. Despite limited empirical examination, dumbfounding has been widely discussed in moral p...
Article
High (vs. low) levels of boredom are associated with greater (vs. lesser) impulsiveness. It is important to examine the psychological processes that link boredom and impulsiveness to understand this relationship. We propose that heightened impulsiveness in response to boredom partly stems from people’s attempts to deal with meaninglessness when bor...
Article
Full-text available
We propose that boredom, a state associated with a sense of meaninglessness, leads to a psychological search for meaning in life, which, in turn, elevates affirmation of heroes. This hypothesis builds on the notion that heroes function, in part, as sources of meaning in life. Using a correlational model, we found that boredom proneness predicted mo...
Article
Individuals and groups of individuals are motivated to find meaning in their activities and in life, generally. That is, when events or affective states threaten or reduce a person’s sense of meaning, psychological processes are mobilized to serve the goals of meaning maintenance and meaning reestablishment, respectively. We examined two avenues fo...
Article
Boredom research is booming. Nonetheless, a comprehensive understanding of boredom in relation to other negative emotions is lacking. This ambiguity impedes accurate interpretation of boredom's causes and consequences. To gain more insights into boredom, we examined in detail how it differs from a range of other negative experiences, namely sadness...
Article
Previous research suggests that belief in free will helps to inhibit anti-social impulses. As a result, belief in free will enables the creation of and participation in society. Consistently, we propose that belief in free will is associated with a sense of belongingness. As previous research indicates that belongingness is a source of meaning in l...
Article
Boredom is typically regarded a nuisance. Past research on boredom depicts this common emotion as a correlate of many detrimental psychological and social factors, including addiction, depression, discrimination, and aggression. We present a more nuanced perspective on boredom. Specifically, we propose and test that state boredom serves an importan...
Article
Full-text available
This paper considers the environmental impact on well-being and performance in elite athletes during Olympic competition. The benefits of exercising in natural environments are recognised, but less is known about the effects on performance and health in elite athletes. Although some Olympic events take place in natural environments, the majority oc...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Moral dumbfounding occurs when a person maintains a moral judgement even though they cannot provide supporting reasons. It is characterised by an admission of not having reasons or by unsupported declarations (“It’s just wrong!”). Despite being widely discussed in the moral psychology literature, there remains some controversy over whether the phen...
Article
Boredom makes people attempt to re-establish a sense of meaningfulness. Political ideologies, and in particular the adherence to left- versus right-wing beliefs, can serve as source of meaning. Accordingly, we tested the hypothesis that boredom is associated with the stronger adherence to left versus right-wing beliefs, resulting in more extreme po...
Article
Full-text available
Well-being and mental health of psychologists and their clients can be strongly linked to the psychologists’ experience of work. We know from general theories of occupational health psychology that certain work factors will have a greater impact on well-being than others. Work engagement is positively related with occupational health, while burnout...
Conference Paper
The present study is an attempted replication of Study 1 from Cameron, Payne, and Doris (2013). The premise of Cameron et al's study is that manipulating emotions can change moral judgements. They found that a person's ability to distinguish between their emotions (emotional differentiation) moderates the effect incidental emotion on moral judgemen...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Purpose: This research examined the effectiveness of a psychological intervention to build hope, optimism and resilience (HORP) in rugby academies in Ireland. Rugby academies represent a unique working context whereby talented players are invited to a three-year internship, from which a small number are invited to join the national professional tea...
Article
Middle name initials are often used by people in contexts where intellectual performance matters. Given this association, middle initials in people's names indicate intellectual capacity and performance (Van Tilburg and Igou, 2014). In the current research, we examined whether middle initials are associated with a typical academic indicator of inte...
Article
Full-text available
Research indicates that being bored affectively marks an appraised lack of meaning in the present situation and in life. We propose that state boredom increases eating in an attempt to distract from this experience, especially among people high in objective self-awareness. Three studies were conducted to investigate boredom's effects on eating, bot...
Article
Full-text available
Research indicates that being bored affectively marks an appraised lack of meaning in the present situation and in life. We propose that state boredom increases eating in an attempt to distract from this experience, especially among people high in objective self-awareness. Three studies were conducted to investigate boredom's effects on eating, bot...
Article
Declaring and thinking about heroes are common human preoccupations but surprisingly aspects of heroism that reinforce these behaviors are not well-understood. In four thematically consistent studies, we attempt to identify lay perspectives about the psychological functions served by heroes. In Study 1, participants (n = 189) freely generated open-...
Article
Full-text available
We examined memory conformity about an experience among dyads. Specifically, we tested the extent to which interpersonal familiarity and trust among dyads predicted their memory conformity to each other, and the extent to which the reminiscence mode (verbal discussion vs. nonverbal revision) moderated these relations. Participants (N = 100) in pair...
Article
Heroes are ubiquitous in literature and popular discourse, yet little is known about cognitive representations of heroes. We examined lay conceptions of heroes using a prototype approach, compared heroes with other persons of influence, and studied how individuals use hero features to identify heroes. In Study 1, participants (N = 189) generated op...
Article
In four studies we examined people’s strategies when deciding between multiple routes of equivalent length in way-finding tasks. The results reveal the important role of continuing behavior when faced with a choice from multiple viable routes. After affirming the existence of asymmetric preferences for alternatives (Study 1 & 2), we observed that v...
Article
Full-text available
For over a century, psychologists have investigated the mental processes of expert performers - people who display exceptional knowledge and/or skills in specific fields of human achievement. Since the 1960s, expertise researchers have made considerable progress in understanding the cognitive and neural mechanisms that underlie such exceptional per...
Article
Middle name initials often appear in formal contexts, especially when people refer to intellectual achievements. Based on this common link, the display of middle initials increases positive evaluations of people’s intellectual capacities and achievements. We document this effect in seven studies: Middle initials in authors’ names increased the eval...
Article
We examined the impact of eccentricity on the evaluation of artistic skills and the quality of artworks. Based on the notion that artists are typically perceived as eccentric, creative and skilled, we tested the hypothesis that eccentricity increases perceptions of artistic quality. In Study 1, Van Gogh’s Sunflowers painting was evaluated more posi...
Article
We formulated, tested, and supported, in 6 studies, a theoretical model according to which individuals use nostalgia as a way to reinject meaningfulness in their lives when they experience boredom. Studies 1-3 established that induced boredom causes increases in nostalgia when participants have the opportunity to revert to their past. Studies 4 and...
Article
Our research examines people’s concept of ‘meaningful behavior’ from an expectancy x value perspective. Specifically, we argue that people consider two elements when inferring the meaningfulness of behavior: the value of the goals that the behavior relates to and the degree to which the behavior is useful for the achievement of these goals. A serie...