Investigate the influence of the Go/No-Go training on the food choices people make, whether such influence differs between different types of choice situations, and explore the underlying mechanisms that lead to such differences.
Research Item (91)
When people invest effort in cognitive work, they often keep an eye open for rewarding alternative activities. Previous research suggests that the norepinephrine (NE) system regulates such trade-offs between exploitation (of the current task) and exploration (of alternative possibilities). Here we examine the possibility that the NE-system is involved in a related trade-off, i.e., the trade-off between cognitive labor and leisure. We conducted two pre-registered studies (total N = 62) in which participants freely chose to perform either a paid 2-back task (labor) vs. a fun non-paid task (leisure), while we tracked their pupil diameter--which is an indicator of the state of the NE system. In both studies, consistent with prior work, we found (a) increases in pupil baseline and (b) decreases in pupil dilation when participants switched from labor to leisure. Unexpectedly, we found the same pattern when participants switched from leisure back to labor. Furthermore, exploratory analyses showed that participants with a stronger action orientation in everyday life showed stronger decreases in pupil dilation in switches towards labor, but weaker decreases in switches towards leisure. Collectively, these results are more consistent with Network Reset Theory, which suggests that NE plays a role in reorienting attention, than with Adaptive Gain Theory, which suggests that NE plays a role in motivation.
Food decisions are driven by the differences in value such that high value items are preferred over low value items. However, recent research has demonstrated that by implementing the Cue- Approach Task (CAT) the odds of choosing low value items over high value items can be increased. This effect was explained by increased attention to the low value items induced by CAT. Our goal was replicate original findings and to address the question of the underlying mechanism by employing eye-tracking during participants’ choice making. Within the CAT participants were presented with images of food items and were instructed to quickly respond to some of them when an auditory cue was presented (cued items), and not without this cue (uncued items). Next, participants made choices between two food items that differed on whether they were cued in the CAT (cued versus uncued) and value (high versus low). Results showed participants were more likely to select a low value food item over a high value food item for consumption when the low value food item had been cued compared to when the low value item had not been cued. Important, and against our expectation, there was no significant increase in gaze time for low cued items compared to low uncued items. Participants did spend more time fixating on the chosen item compared to the unchosen alternative, thus replicating previous work in this domain. The present research thus establishes the robustness of CAT as means of facilitating choices for low value over high value food but could not demonstrate that this increased preference was due to increased attention for cued low value items. The present research thus raises the question how CAT may increase choices for low value options.
- Jun 2018
Solving a conflict between two response options in an interference task has been found to increase control in a subsequent conflict situation. The present research examined whether such conflict adaptation persists in the presence of distractors that have motivational relevance and are therefore competing for attentional resources (i.e. they signal opportunities for monetary gains or losses contingent on overall task performance). In an adjusted flanker task, motivational (versus neutral versus no) distractors were presented together with the current trial while the previous trial never included any distractor. Accumulated evidence across three studies showed that motivational distractors reduced the conflict adaptation effect. This was found irrespective of the location at which the distractor occurred (Study 1), and independent of its valence (i.e. reward or loss, Study 2). Study 3 and a merged data analysis ruled out low-level alternative explanations. In line with a dual competition account (Pessoa, L. (2009). How do emotion and motivation direct executive control? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 13(4), 160–166. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2009.01.006), our results show that conflict adaptation is not fully protected in the presence of motivational distractors. We discuss whether this should be interpreted as a limitation, or as reflecting the flexibility of the control system in dealing with motivationally relevant information.
Objective: Not responding to appetitive food items in the go/no-go training has been shown to reduce the evaluation of these items in normal-weight university students. In this preregistered study, we administered an identical go/no-go training in both morbidly obese individuals and normal-weight university students, to assess whether findings from laboratory studies on go/no-go training performed in university environments can be translated to clinical settings. Method: Obese individuals (N = 59, 14 males, Mage = 46.10, MBMI = 44.49) and university students (N = 58, 15 males, Mage = 23.21, MBMI = 22.64) were trained to consistently respond to certain food items (go) and withhold responses to other items (no-go). Evaluations of the go and no-go items, along with items not used in the training (untrained), were measured both before and after the training. Results: Before the training, evaluations of go, no-go and untrained items were matched; after the training, go items were evaluated more positively than no-go (p = .031 and p = .002 in obese and normal-weight individuals) and untrained items (p = .003 in normal-weight individuals). Only relatively hungry participants rated no-go items as less attractive than both go and untrained items (no-go devaluation effect). More important, effects of the training on food evaluation did not differ between the two participant groups. Conclusions: Obese and normal-weight individuals showed similar responsivity to the go/no-go training on food evaluation, suggesting that insights from laboratory studies may be translated to clinical settings to develop effective interventions to regulate food intake.
Most research on emotion recognition focuses on facial expressions. However, people communicate emotional information through bodily cues as well. Prior research on facial expressions has demonstrated that emotion recognition is modulated by top-down processes. Here, we tested whether this top-down modulation generalizes to the recognition of emotions from body postures. We report three studies demonstrating that stereotypes and prejudice about men and women may affect how fast people classify various emotional body postures. Our results suggest that gender cues activate gender associations, which affect the recognition of emotions from body postures in a top-down fashion.
People choose high value food items over low value food items, because food choices are guided by the comparison of values placed upon choice alternatives. This value comparison process is also influenced by the amount of attention people allocate to different items. Recent research shows that choices for food items can be increased by training attention toward these items, with a paradigm named cued-approach training (CAT). However, previous work till now has only examined the influence of CAT on choices between two equally valued items. It has remained unclear whether CAT can increase choices for low value items when people choose between a low and high value food item. To address this question in the current study participants were cued to make rapid responses in CAT to certain low and high value items. Next, they made binary choices between low and high value items, where we systematically varied whether the low and high value items were cued or uncued. In two experiments, we found that participants overall preferred high over low value food items for real consumption. More important, their choices for low value items increased when only the low value item had been cued in CAT compared to when both low and high value items had not been cued. Exploratory analyses revealed that this effect was more pronounced for participants with a relatively small value difference between low and high value items. The present research thus suggests that CAT may be used to boost the choice and consumption of low value items via enhanced attention toward these items, as long as the value difference is not too large. Implications for facilitating choices for healthy food are discussed.
Not responding to food items in a go/no-go task can lead to devaluation of these food items, which may help people regulate their eating behavior. The Behavior Stimulus Interaction (BSI) theory explains this devaluation effect by assuming that inhibiting impulses triggered by appetitive foods elicits negative affect, which in turn devalues the food items. BSI theory further predicts that the devaluation effect will be stronger when food items are more appetitive and when individuals have low inhibition capacity. To test these hypotheses, we manipulated the appetitiveness of food items and measured individual inhibition capacity with the stop-signal task. Food items were consistently paired with either go or no-go cues, so that participants responded to go items and not to no-go items. Evaluations of these items were measured before and after go/no-go training. Across two preregistered experiments, we consistently found no-go foods were liked less after the training compared to both go foods and foods not used in the training. Unexpectedly, this devaluation effect occurred for both appetitive and less appetitive food items. Exploratory signal detection analyses suggest this latter finding might be explained by increased learning of stimulus-response contingencies for the less appetitive items when they are presented among appetitive items. Furthermore, the strength of devaluation did not consistently correlate with individual inhibition capacity, and Bayesian analyses combining data from both experiments provided moderate support for the null hypothesis. The current project demonstrated the devaluation effect induced by the go/no-go training, but failed to obtain further evidence for BSI theory. Since the devaluation effect was reliably obtained across experiments, the results do reinforce the notion that the go/no-go training is a promising tool to help people regulate their eating behavior.
Purpose of Review During food go/no-go training, people consistently withhold responses toward no-go food items. We discuss how food go/no-go training may change people?s behavior toward no-go food items by comparing three accounts: (a) the training strengthens ?top-down? inhibitory control over food-related responses, (b) the training creates automatic ?bottom-up? associations between no-go food items and stopping responses, and (c) the training leads to devaluation of no-go food items. Recent Findings Go/no-go training can reduce intake of food and choices for food and facilitate short-term weight loss. It appears unlikely that food go/no-go training strengthens top-down inhibitory control. There is some evidence suggesting the training could create automatic stop associations. There is strong evidence suggesting go/no-go training reduces evaluations of no-go food items. Summary Food go/no-go training can change behavior toward food and evaluation of food items. To advance knowledge, more research is needed on the underlying mechanisms of the training, the role of attention during go/no-go training, and on when effects generalize to untrained food items.
Many people find it hard to change their dietary choices. Food choice often occurs impulsively, without deliberation, and it has been unclear whether impulsive food choice can be experimentally created. Across 3 exploratory and 2 confirmatory preregistered experiments we examined whether impulsive food choice can be trained. Participants were cued to make motor responses upon the presentation of, among others, healthy and sustainable food items. They subsequently selected these food items more often for actual consumption when they needed to make their choices impulsively as a result of time pressure. This effect disappeared when participants were asked to think about their choices, merely received more time to make their choices, or when choosing required attention to alternatives. Participants preferred high to low valued food items under time pressure and without time pressure, suggesting that the impulsive choices reflect valid preferences. These findings demonstrate that it is possible to train impulsive choices for food items while leaving deliberative choices for these items unaffected, and connect research on attention training to dual-process theories of decision making. The present research suggests that attention training may lead to behavioral change only when people behave impulsively.
In a series of 6 experiments (5 preregistered), we examined how not responding to appetitive stimuli causes devaluation. To examine this question, a go/no-go task was employed in which appetitive stimuli were consistently associated with cues to respond (go stimuli), or with cues to not respond (either no-go cues or the absence of cues; no-go stimuli). Change in evaluations of no-go stimuli was compared to change in evaluations of both go stimuli and of stimuli not presented in the task (untrained stimuli). Experiments 1 to 3 show that not responding to appetitive stimuli in a go/no-go task causes devaluation of these stimuli regardless of the presence of an explicit no-go cue. Experiments 4a and 4b show that the devaluation effect of appetitive stimuli is contingent on the percentage of no-go trials; devaluation appears when no-go trials are rare, but disappears when no-go trials are frequent. Experiment 5 shows that simply observing the go/no-go task does not lead to devaluation. Experiment 6 shows that not responding to neutral stimuli does not cause devaluation. Together, these results suggest that devaluation of appetitive stimuli by not responding to them is the result of response inhibition. By employing both go stimuli and untrained stimuli as baselines, alternative explanations are ruled out, and apparent inconsistencies in the literature are resolved. These experiments provide new theoretical insight into the relation between not responding and evaluation, and can be applied to design motor response training procedures aimed at changing people’s behavior toward appetitive stimuli.
- May 2016
We investigated the influence of framed norm messages about food consumption on motivation to consume, and actual consumption of, healthy and unhealthy foods. We proposed that the effects of positive and negative message frames would vary by the type of underlying norms (i.e., injunctive, descriptive). More specifically, based on information processing theories, it was expected that injunctive norms would be more effective when framed negatively compared with positively, while the opposite was expected for descriptive norms. In both experiments, participants were randomly assigned to one of four framed social norm conditions or a no-norm control condition. In Experiment 1, motivation to consume healthy and unhealthy foods was assessed by means of both indirect and self-report measures. In Experiment 2, actual food consumption was assessed. In both experiments, the predicted interaction was found. Results show that injunctive norms benefit from a negative (vs. positive) frame, while preliminary evidence suggests the opposite for descriptive norms.
Odors provide information regarding the chemical properties of potential environment hazards. Some of this information may be disgust-related (e.g., organic decay), whereas other information may be fear-related (e.g., smoke). Many studies have focused on how disgust and fear, as prototypical avoidant emotions, facilitate the detection of possible threats, but these studies have typically confined to the visual modality. Here, we examine how disgust and fear influence olfactory detection at a particular level-the level at which a subliminal olfactory stimulus crosses into conscious perception, also known as a detection threshold. Here, using psychophysical methods that allow us to test perceptual capabilities directly, we show that one way that disgust (Experiments 1-3) and fear (Experiment 3) facilitate detection is by lowering the amount of physical input that is needed to trigger a conscious experience of that input. This effect is particularly strong among individuals with high disgust sensitivity (Experiments 2-3). Our research suggests that a fundamental way in which avoidant emotions foster threat detection is through lowering perceptual thresholds. (PsycINFO Database Record
When mind-wandering, people may think about events that happened in the past, or events that may happen in the future. Using experience sampling, we first aimed to replicate the finding that future-oriented thoughts show a greater positivity bias than past-oriented thoughts. Furthermore, we investigated whether there is a relation between the temporal distance of past- and future-oriented thoughts and the frequency of positive thoughts, a factor that has received little attention in previous work. Second, we experimentally investigated the relation between temporal focus, temporal distance, and thought valence. Both studies showed that future-oriented thoughts were more positive compared to past-oriented thoughts. Regarding temporal distance, thoughts about the distant past and future were more positive than thoughts about the near past and future in the experiment. However, the experience sampling study did not provide clear insight into this relation. Potential theoretical and methodological explanations for these findings are discussed.
The present study investigated resource allocation, as measured by pupil dilation, in tasks measuring updating (2-Back task), inhibition (Stroop task) and switching (Number Switch task). Because each cognitive control component has unique characteristics, differences in patterns of resource allocation were expected. Pupil and behavioral data from 35 participants were analyzed. In the 2-Back task (requiring correct matching of current stimulus identity at trial p with the stimulus two trials back, p −2) we found that better performance (low total of errors made in the task) was positively correlated to the mean pupil dilation during correctly responding to targets. In the Stroop task, pupil dilation on incongruent trials was higher than those on congruent trials. Incongruent vs. congruent trial pupil dilation differences were positively related to reaction time differences between incongruent and congruent trials. Furthermore, on congruent Stroop trials, pupil dilation was negatively related to reaction times, presumably because more effort allocation paid off in terms of faster responses. In addition, pupil dilation on correctly-responded-to congruent trials predicted a weaker Stroop interference effect in terms of errors, probably because pupil dilation on congruent trials were diagnostic of task motivation, resulting in better performance. In the Number Switch task we found higher pupil dilation in switch as compared to non-switch trials. On the Number Switch task, pupil dilation was not related to performance. We also explored error-related pupil dilation in all tasks. The results provide new insights in the diversity of the cognitive control components in terms of resource allocation as a function of individual differences, task difficulty and error processing.
- Jun 2014
We discuss three observations about the state of the field of behavior priming. The first is that there are many more empirical demonstrations of behavior priming than may be apparant at first sight. The second is that some people doubt the validity of behavior priming effects because they are "counterintuitive," and we argue that this reasoning is subjective, often circular, and sometimes based on an underappreciation of relevant theories. The third is that we concede that-just as in many other areas-publication bias and the use of researchers' degrees of freedom have presumably led to a somewhat distorted literature because they caused what we call "information leakage." Because of some of the habits in response to publication bias, our field knows much less about moderators and boundary conditions than we could have known. We conclude that although replication efforts can be very useful, the only true solution to further improve our field is to stop practices, such as the liberal use of researchers' degrees of freedom, that scientists have adopted in response to the pressure to publish only statistically significant results.
To deal effectively with a continuously changing environment, our cognitive system adaptively regulates resource allocation. Earlier findings showed that an avoidance orientation (induced by arm extension), relative to an approach orientation (induced by arm flexion), enhanced sustained cognitive control. In avoidance conditions, performance on a cognitive control task was enhanced, as indicated by a reduced congruency effect, relative to approach conditions. Extending these findings, in the present behavioral studies we investigated dynamic adaptations in cognitive control-that is, conflict adaptation. We proposed that an avoidance state recruits more resources in response to conflicting signals, and thereby increases conflict adaptation. Conversely, in an approach state, conflict processing diminishes, which consequently weakens conflict adaptation. As predicted, approach versus avoidance arm movements affected both behavioral congruency effects and conflict adaptation: As compared to approach, avoidance movements elicited reduced congruency effects and increased conflict adaptation. These results are discussed in line with a possible underlying neuropsychological model.
We investigated whether stereotype associations between specific emotional expressions and social categories underlie stereotypic emotion recognition biases. Across two studies, we replicated previously documented stereotype biases in emotion recognition using both dynamic (Study 1) and static (Study 2) expression displays. Stereotype consistent expressions were more quickly decoded than stereotype inconsistent expression on Moroccan and White male faces. Importantly, we found consistent and novel evidence that participants' associations between ethnicities and emotions, as measured with a newly developed emotion Implicit Association Test (eIAT), predicted the strength of their ethnicity-based stereotype biases in expression recognition. In both studies, as perceivers' level of Moroccan-anger and Dutch-sadness associations (compared with the opposite) increased, so did perceivers' tendency to decode anger more readily on Moroccan faces and sadness on White faces. The observed stereotype effect seemed to be independent of implicit prejudice (Study 2), suggesting dissociable effects of prejudices and stereotypes in expression perception.
- Jan 2014
Newell & Shanks (N&S) criticize theories on decision making that include unconscious processes. To the extent that their own perspective becomes apparent, however, it is dated, implausible, and at odds with the major developments of the past decades. Their conclusions are, at least for research areas we feel entitled to evaluate, based on a biased sampling of the literature.
This chapter reviews a research programme on the effects of humour in advertising on positive and negative brand associations and brand choice, and integrates the findings into a single overarching model. Based on the Associative and Propositional Processes Model of Evaluation (Gawronski & Bodenhausen, 2006, 2007, 2011), we propose that repeated pairings of a novel brand with brand-unrelated humour forms positive brand associations, which mediate spontaneous brand choice. This associative process was found to be independent from the level of distraction posed by humour and from awareness of the stimulus pairings. In fact the distraction posed by humour benefits persuasion by preventing negative brand associations. Previous marketing research, which mainly viewed humour as a cue in peripheral processing, was rather pessimistic about the persuasive impact of humour. In contrast, this research programme suggests that a repeated pairing of a brand with humour affects the brand’s underlying associative structure, which may lead to stable attitude changes that guide overt spontaneous brand choice. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
- Jul 2012
Head nodding and shaking are bodily signals of approval and disapproval, respectively. Previous research has shown that these movements can be used to shape attitudes by means of evaluative conditioning. In the present experiment, the authors studied the conditions under which evaluative conditioning with head movements can alter social attitudes. Specifically, the authors investigated whether the evaluative conditioning effect depends on the order in which the target stimulus and the head movement are presented. The results showed that repeated coupling of head nodding with out-group names reduced negative implicit associations with this out-group only when the head nodding movement followed the target name. No effects were found when the movement preceded the name in the conditioning procedure. The authors conclude that embodied evaluative conditioning effects are constrained to a sequence of the target stimulus and head movement that corresponds to the natural temporal script in which the stimulus precedes the evaluative embodied reaction.
Three experiments illustrate that humor in advertisements prevents the development of negative brand associations due to resistance. Previous research on humor in advertising suggested that humor can counter negative responses during ad processing, but less is known about the effect of humor on the development of negative brand associations in memory. Brand associations are important because there is often a time delay between ad exposure and brand decisions. We separately manipulated two typical aspects of humor processing, that is, distraction and positive affect, and examined their effects on the development of respectively negative and positive brand associations. All experiments were conducted with university students as participants. The results showed that resistance causes negative brand associations (Experiments 1 and 2), and humor prevents the development of these negative brand associations more than nondistracting positive stimuli and neutral stimuli (Experiment 2 and 3). The prevention of negative brand associations was caused by the distractive properties of humor. Irrespective of resistance, the positive affect engendered by humor enhanced positive brand associations. Experiment 3 showed that distraction and positive affect in humor uniquely contribute to brand preference. Together, these results illustrate that the effect of humor on resistance follows a two-step process: humor forestalls the development of negative brand associations because of its distractive properties (cognitive mechanism), and engenders positive brand associations because of its positive emotional outcomes (affective mechanism). These effects of humor on brand associations jointly promote brand preference.
- May 2012
Attitude–behavior relations can be based on belief-based or associative processes. Understanding the basic regulatory mechanisms that determine which type of process guides behavior in a specific situation is of crucial importance for predicting behavior. In this article, the authors tested mood states as a moderator. In two studies, associative and belief-based measures for attitudes were administered in a preliminary session. In a second session, mood was manipulated and behavior toward the attitude object involved was observed. Consistent with predictions, the results showed that in happy mood states, associative, but not belief-based measures of attitudes predicted behavior, whereas in sad mood states belief-based, but not associative measures of attitudes predicted behavior. The authors conclude that mood moderates which evaluative process, belief-based or associative, regulates behavior.
- Apr 2012
Following a cognitive route from olfactory perception to goal-directed behavior, we aimed to influence littering behavior on Dutch trains. In order to achieve this, the scent of a cleaning product was subtly dispersed in train compartments. Compared to passengers in unscented compartments, passengers littered less as measured by the weight and number of items left behind in compartments containing cleaner scent. Apart from extending research on the influence of scent on behavior in a natural environment, the findings suggest that the cognitive route from scents to behavior provides a tool for behavior change in everyday life.
- Jan 2012
In two studies, we investigated the role of mood states in dominated behavioral choices. Past research has shown that mood effects on judgment and decision-making can be pervasive. Yet, the role of mood in dominated choices has so far been neglected. The present research represents a first empirical examination of mood effects on dominated choices. We measured (Study 1) or manipulated (Study 2) mood states in participants who made a series of choices in a gambling game. In this choice task without trade-offs, participants were provided with information about the outcomes and probabilities associated with each choice option. The strategy to maximize the expected mean outcome implied the application of a straightforward and logical rule: Always choose the dominant option with the highest expected value. It has been argued in the literature that mood should have little or no impact when preferences are clear or strong. Still, we expected that mood states would affect even these dominated choices, building on previous work that showed that positive mood states enhance flexibility, creativity, and explorative behavior. The results showed that decisions made in a happier mood were less often in accordance with the logical rule than decisions made in a sadder mood. To conclude, happier mood states are associated to a lesser extent with decisions in accordance with a rule-based strategy that maximizes expected mean outcomes in dominated choices. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
- Oct 2011
- The 33rd Annual Meeting of the Society for Medical Decision Making
Decisions about whether or not to donate blood can be based on explicit beliefs (“blood donation is good because it saves lives”), but also on automatic associations (“unpleasant”). When do people behave based on their explicit beliefs and when do they behave based on their automatic associations? Purpose: To determine if positive versus negative mood states moderate whether automatically activated associations (implicit attitudes) versus explicit beliefs (belief-based attitudes) towards donating blood predicted blood donation behavior. Methods: Two randomized controlled experiments compared the predictive value of implicit and belief-based attitudes in positive versus negative mood states. Automatically activated and belief-based attitudes were measured with an Implicit Association Test (IAT) and a belief-based measure in accordance with expectancy-value models of attitudes respectively. In a second session, participants were randomized to either a positive or a negative mood induction procedure (watching a short video clip) and behavior was observed: participants could provide personal contact details on a blood donation interest form. The amount of contact information provided was our dependent measure. Results: In both studies, participants (104) expressed a more positive mood state in the happy versus sad mood condition. The attitude-behavior link was qualified by mood. In a positive mood, automatically activated attitudes were better predictors of behavior than belief-based attitudes, whereas in a negative mood the reverse was true. The amount of contact information provided was regressed on the attitude (Study 1: IAT-score; Study 2: belief-based attitude), mood condition, and interaction term. This revealed the predicted Attitude*Mood interaction in both studies. Simple slope analyses showed that in the happy condition, participants with negative implicit attitudes (IAT-scores) gave less contact information than those with positive implicit attitudes, whereas IAT-scores were unrelated to behavior in the sad condition. Moreover, in the sad mood condition individuals with negative belief-based attitudes gave less contact information than those with positive belief-based attitudes, whereas belief-based attitudes were unrelated to behavior in the happy condition. Conclusion: Mood moderates whether automatic associations versus explicit beliefs predict health behavior. Keywords: Blood Donation, Behavior Regulation, Mood, Attitude-Behavior Consistency, Associative vs. Propositional Processes
- Oct 2010
- The 32nd Annual Meeting of the Society for Medical Decision Making
THOUGHT PROCESS EFFECTS IN DIAGNOSTIC DECISIONS Background: This study tests the influence of different response modes (direct, after conscious and after unconscious thinking) in clinical decision making. Recently, we published a first demonstration of unconscious thought effects in this domain, specifically in the complex and error-prone task of diagnostic classification (De Vries et al., in press). The current study describes a follow-up and refinement, in three ways. First, it investigated the role of experience by including experienced clinicians. Second, it included the degree of difficulty of classifications. Third, it included a third (control) condition in which classifications were provided immediately after reading a case description. Methods: We used two written case descriptions. Both cases represented co-morbidity, with a more familiar classification (low difficulty) and a much more unfamiliar classification (high difficulty). Participants were randomly assigned the task in two of three response modes: conscious-processing (i.e., deliberately thinking about the information in the case description), unconscious-processing (i.e., deciding after performing an unrelated distracter task), or direct responding, without any delay or intervening task. Our main dependent measure was the proportion of correct classifications. Results: A GLM analysis revealed a significant three way interaction, see Figure 1. For classifications low in difficulty, novices performed best after conscious processing. Experienced clinicians, in contrast, performed worst after conscious processing. For classifications high in difficulty, experienced clinicians outperformed novices. Moreover, both conscious and unconscious processing resulted in better performance than immediate classification. Figure 1: Proportion of correct classifications as a function of Processing Condition, Difficulty and Experience Level. Conclusion: The occurrence of diagnostic errors in psychiatric classifications appears to be a complex function of information processing mode, level of experience and task difficulty. In case of familiar classifications, experienced diagnosticians perform best when they respond either directly, or after unconscious processing, probably due to a well-developed intuition through years of practice with similar cases. Conscious thought may make them take irrelevant information into account. Novices have not had many experiences with similar cases yet, but have recently learned explicit rules for classification tasks, which may explain why they perform best after conscious thought when a classification is relatively easy. When cases become more unfamiliar, no response is directly available in memory and further conscious or unconscious- information processing seems to be required. De Vries et al., (in press). The unconscious thought effect in clinical decision making: An example in diagnosis. Medical Decision Making.
- Jul 2010
The goal of the present paper was to demonstrate the influence of general evaluations and stereotype associations on emotion recognition. Earlier research has shown that evaluative connotations between social category members and emotional expression predict whether recognition of positive or negative emotional expressions will be facilitated (e.g. Hugenberg, 2005). In the current paper we tested the hypothesis that stereotype associations influence emotion recognition processes, especially when the difference between valences of emotional expressions does not come into play. In line with this notion, when participants in the present two studies were asked to classify positive versus negative emotional expressions (i.e. happy versus anger, or happy versus sadness), valence congruency effects were found. Importantly, however, in a comparative context without differences in valence in which participants were asked to classify two distinct negative emotions (i.e. anger versus sadness) we found that recognition facilitation occurred for stereotypically associated discrete emotional expressions. With this, the current results indicate that a distinction between general evaluative and cognitive routes can be made in emotion recognition processes.
Ethnic minority students are at risk for school failure and show a heightened susceptibility to negative teacher expectancy effects. In the present study, whether the prejudiced attitudes of teachers relate to their expectations and the academic achievement of their students is examined. The prejudiced attitudes of 41 elementary school teachers were assessed via self-report and an Implicit Association Test. Teacher expectations and achievement scores for 434 students were obtained. Multilevel analyses showed no relations with the self-report measure of prejudiced attitudes. The implicit measure of teacher prejudiced attitudes, however, was found to explain differing ethnic achievement gap sizes across classrooms via teacher expectations. The results of this study also suggest that the use of implicit attitude measures may be important in educational research.
The unconscious thought effect refers to improved judgments and decisions after a period of distraction. The authors studied the unconscious thought effect in a complex and error-prone part of clinical decision making: diagnosis. Their aim was to test whether conscious versus unconscious processing influenced diagnosis of psychiatric cases. They used case descriptions from the DSM-IV casebook. Half of the participants were randomly assigned to the conscious-processing-condition (i.e., consciously thinking about the information they read in the case description), the other half to the unconscious-processing condition (i.e., performing an unrelated distracter task). The main dependent measure was the total number of correct classifications. Compared to conscious processing, unconscious processing significantly increased the number of correct classifications. The results show the potential merits of unconscious processing in diagnostic decision making.
People often prefer familiar stimuli, presumably because familiarity signals safety. This preference can occur with merely repeated old stimuli, but it is most robust with new but highly familiar prototypes of a known category (beauty-in-averageness effect). However, is familiarity always warm? Tuning accounts of mood hold that positive mood signals a safe environment, whereas negative mood signals an unsafe environment. Thus, the value of familiarity should depend on mood. We show that compared with a sad mood, a happy mood eliminates the preference for familiar stimuli, as shown in measures of self-reported liking and physiological measures of affect (electromyographic indicator of spontaneous smiling). The basic effect of exposure on preference and its modulation by mood were most robust for prototypes (category averages). All this occurs even though prototypes might be more familiar in a happy mood. We conclude that mood changes the hedonic implications of familiarity cues.
The humor effect refers to a robust finding in memory research that humorous information is easily recalled, at the expense of recall of nonhumorous information that was encoded in close temporal proximity. Previous research suggests that memory retrieval processes underlie this effect. That is, free recall is biased toward humorous information, which interferes with the retrieval of nonhumorous information. The present research tested an additional explanation that has not been specifically addressed before: Humor receives enhanced attention during information encoding, which decreases attention for context information. Participants observed humorous, nonhumorous positive, and nonhumorous neutral texts paired with novel consumer brands, while their eye movements were recorded using eye-tracker technology. The results confirmed that humor receives prolonged attention relative to both positive and neutral nonhumorous information. This enhanced attention correlated with impaired brand recognition.
- Oct 2009
Three experiments demonstrated structural properties and dynamic effects of self-construal on the processing and use of values. In Study 1, it was found that self-focus during encoding caused spontaneous cognitive clustering of individualistic versus relational values. Study 2 demonstrated that self-construal affected the implicit weight of a value-related attribute in a multi-attribute choice task. In Study 3, behavioral intentions were better predicted by personal values than social norms when the personal self was primed, whereas social norms predicted better when the collective self was primed. The effects of manipulated self-construal were mimicked when comparing participants with an individualistic versus collectivistic cultural background. No interaction was found between priming and cultural background. Taken together, the studies demonstrated that different domains of the self are associated with different values, which may instigate different cognitive and behavioral processes when activated. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
This study aimed to demonstrate that the cognitive demands involved in humor processing can attenuate negative emotions. A primary aspect of humor is that it poses cognitive demands needed for incongruency resolution. On the basis of findings that cognitive distraction prevents mood-congruent processing, the authors hypothesized that humorous stimuli attenuate negative emotions to a greater extent than do equally positive nonhumorous stimuli. To test this idea, the authors used a modified version of the picture-viewing paradigm of L. F. Van Dillen and S. L. Koole (2007). Participants viewed neutral, mildly negative, and strongly negative pictures, followed by either a humorous or an equally positive nonhumorous stimulus, and then rated their feelings. Participants reported less negative feelings in both mildly and strongly negative trials with humorous positive stimuli than with nonhumorous positive stimuli. Humor did not differentially affect emotions in the neutral trials. Stimuli that posed greater cognitive demands were more effective in regulating negative emotions than less demanding stimuli. These findings fully support Van Dillen and Koole's working memory model of distraction from negative mood and suggest that humor may attenuate negative emotions as a result of cognitive distraction.
- Aug 2009
In this position paper a number of hypotheses are outlined concerning the effect of three measurable human factors, namely subjective stress, arousal and mood, on human decision making performance; taking into account the amount of risk involved in the decision. The proposed domain of application involves critical situations: situations in which timelimits, uncertainty and possibly dire consequences provide an ideal context to apply the results. A tangible objective is to provide the basis for a demonstrator which can measure subjective stress, arousal and mood on the job, provide runtime feedback and positively influence the human decision making process.
The present research explored the nonconscious motivational influence of self-symbols. In line with recent findings on the motivational influence of positive affect, we hypothesized that positive affect associated with self-symbols may boost motivation. In Study I people drank more of a beverage when the brand name contained name letters. Study 2 emphasized central aspects of motivation, and tested the role of implicit self-esteem. High self-esteem people persisted longer and performed better on a name letter task than low self-esteem people. Study 3 further confirmed these results, testing persistence on an unsolvable puzzle. These findings are explained by the association of self-symbols with positive affect for high self-esteem people. Implications are discussed for the role of self in motivation.
We investigated to what extent the length of people's gazes during conversations with opposite-sex persons is affected by the physical attractiveness of the partner. Single participants (N = 115) conversed for 5 min with confederates who were rated either as low or high on physical attractiveness. From a mating strategy perspective, we hypothesized that men's increased dating desire towards highly attractive confederates would lead to longer periods of gazing, whereas women's gazing would be less influenced by their dating desire towards highly attractive confederates. Results confirmed our hypothesis, with significantly increased gazing for men in the high attractiveness condition but no significant differences in women in the two attractiveness conditions. Contrary to past research findings, there was no significant sex difference in the size of the effect of physical attractiveness on dating desire. The results were discussed in terms of preference for physically attractive partners and communication strategies during courtship.
Humor in advertising is known to enhance product liking, but this attitude change is often considered nonpredictive of product choice. Previous research relied exclusively on explicit self-report measures to assess attitudes and purchase intentions. The present research shows that unobtrusive association of a product with humor can affect persuasion through implicit attitude change. Participants viewed humorous and nonhumorous cartoons in a mock-up magazine. One of two products was consistently presented in the vicinity of the humorous cartoons, whereas the other product was consistently presented in the vicinity of the nonhumorous cartoons. The results of an evaluative priming task showed enhanced evaluations of products paired with humor (Experiment 1, 2, and 3). Furthermore, these enhanced evaluations mediated the relation between association with humor and product choice (Experiment 2 and 3). Paradoxically, products paired with humor were also less recognized than the control products (Experiments 2 and 3). In summary, the present research demonstrates that mere association with humor enhances product evaluations and product choice in a way that is dissociated from the accessibility of the product in memory.
This experimental study investigated approach behavior toward opposite-sex others of similar versus dissimilar physical attractiveness. Furthermore, it tested the moderating effects of sex. Single participants interacted with confederates of high and low attractiveness. Observers rated their behavior in terms of relational investment (i.e., behavioral efforts related to the improvement of interaction fluency, communication of positive interpersonal affect, and positive self-presentation). As expected, men displayed more relational investment behavior if their own physical attractiveness was similar to that of the confederate. For women, no effects of attractiveness similarity on relational investment behavior were found. Results are discussed in the light of positive assortative mating, preferences for physically attractive mates, and sex differences in attraction-related interpersonal behaviors.
- Apr 2009
The available evidence regarding the lateralisation of affect is rather divergent. Interestingly, the common procedure in previous research on affective lateralisation has been to measure hemispheric dominance following exposure to concrete affective stimuli. Therefore, prior research seems to tap primarily into the lateralisation of specific approach–avoidance motivations rather than diffuse affective states. The present research adopted an alternative methodological approach that excluded approach–avoidance motivations and merely studied the lateralised nature of diffuse affect. Participants evaluated ambiguous stimuli presented in either the right or left visual field. Results showed that stimuli presented in the left visual field were significantly more often ascribed a positive meaning compared to information in the right visual field. The present findings are compatible with related lateralised processes and underscore the necessity of distinguishing between specific motivations and diffuse affect.
We show that the valence acquired by an object is sensitive to the perceived attention it receives and that this effect occurs in a quite implicit fashion. Participants were exposed to products (i.e., peppermint brands) associated with the head of dogs oriented toward them, looking straight ahead, or oriented away from them. Participants then completed an affective priming task, which allowed us to assess the valence acquired by the products in a task free of desirability concerns. Results show that the valence of the products increased linearly as the perceived orientation of attention of the targets moved toward them. This finding suggests that mimetic desire effects may be activated in a quite implicit fashion. The theoretical and social implications of this finding are discussed.
In this position paper a number of hypotheses are outlined concerning the effect of three measurable human factors, namely subjective stress, arousal and mood, on human decision making performance; taking into account the amount of risk involved in the decision. The proposed domain of application involves critical situations: situations in which timelimits, uncertainty and possibly dire consequences provide an ideal context to apply the results. A tangible objective is to provide the basis for a demonstrator which can measure subjective stress, arousal and mood on the job, provide runtime feedback and positively influence the human decision making process.
Studies in cognitive psychology, marketing, and education indicate that humor distracts attention from non-humorous information presented at the same time. Two experiments investigated why humor distracts attention. The two basic components of humor comprise (1) incongruency resolution, which poses cognitive demands and (2) positive affect. We disentangled the contributions of cognitive demands and positive affect on distraction based on the notions that (a) both components are possible sources of distraction, and (b) the components were always confounded in previous research. In an evaluative conditioning paradigm, novel products were consistently paired with humorous stimuli, whereas other products were paired with stimuli that were either (1) equally demanding but neutral, (2) equally positive but undemanding, and (3) undemanding and neutral. The results showed that cognitively demanding stimuli distracted attention, irrespective of stimulus positivity. These findings suggest that the cognitive demands of humor, not the positive affect it evokes, underlie the distraction effect. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
In two studies, the regulatory function of approach-avoidance cues in activating cognitive control processes was investigated. It was hypothesized that avoidance motor actions, relative to approach motor actions, increase the recruitment of cognitive resources, resulting in better performance on tasks that draw on these capacities. In Study 1, error rates on a verbal response mode version of the Stroop task were analyzed. On inconsistent Stroop trials, participants in the avoidance condition made significantly fewer errors than those in the approach condition. In Study 2, performance differences on a task switching paradigm were investigated. Crucially, approach and avoidance motor actions were manipulated within-subjects by alternating between approach and avoidance motor actions on 4 blocks of trials. Temporal switching costs were significantly lower while performing an avoidance, compared to an approach motor action. These results support our hypothesis that avoidance cues, relative to approach cues, lead to improved performance on cognitive control tasks.
- Oct 2008
- The 30th Annual Meeting of the Society for Medical Decision Making
Background Information: Unconscious, intuitive processing sometimes results in better decisions than conscious, deliberative processing (e.g., Dijksterhuis, 2004; Dijksterhuis et al., 2006; Wilson, 2002). When a decision task is complex, the latter may result in less optimal decisions, due to the low processing capacity of conscious thought (Wilson, 2002). Moreover, deliberate information processing seems to be handicapped by suboptimal weighting of the importance of attributes (Dijksterhuis, 2004; Dijksterhuis et al., 2006). Previous research on the role of unconscious processing focused on decisions about apartments, roommates, cars and various types of consumer decisions. We focused on conscious versus unconscious processing in a complex part of medical decision-making: classification. Purpose: To test whether conscious versus unconscious processing influenced classification of psychiatric case descriptions from the DSM IV Casebook. Method: 80 students in Clinical Psychology from the Radboud University Nijmegen (68 females, 12 males) participated. Participants read two case descriptions from the DSM IV Casebook. Half of the participants were randomly assigned to the conscious-processing-condition (i.e. consciously thinking about the information they read in the case description for four minutes), the other half to the unconscious-processing-condition (i.e. performing an unrelated puzzle task for four minutes, cf. Dijksterhuis, 2004; Dijksterhuis et al., 2006). Our main dependent measure was the total number of correct classifications. For each of the two cases, two correct classifications were possible (both cases represented co-morbidity of problems). The maximum number of correct classifications was thus 4. Results: Compared to conscious processing, intuitive, unconscious processing increased the number of correct classifications (Ms 2.15 vs. 2.80), F(1,79) = 13.88, p < .001 Conclusion: Our results show the potential merits of unconscious processing in diagnostic decision making.
- Jul 2008
In the present article a theory is outlined that explains why and when behavioral inhibition alters stimulus evaluations. In addition, some initial evidence is presented that supports the theory. Specifically, results of three experiments show that refraining from responding to stimuli results in devaluation of these stimuli, but only when these stimuli are positive. These findings suggest automatic behavior-regulation, in terms of devaluation of positive stimuli, in situations in which environmental cues triggering approach (because of the positive valence of the stimulus) run counter to situational demands (cues that elicit behavioral inhibition). Relations of the present research to self-perception, cognitive dissonance, and psychological reactance are discussed.
- Apr 2008
Recent research in neuroscience shows that observing attractive faces with direct gaze is more rewarding than observing attractive faces with averted gaze. On the basis of this research, it was hypothesized that object evaluations can be enhanced by associating them with attractive faces displaying direct gaze. In a conditioning paradigm, novel objects were associated with either attractive or unattractive female faces, either displaying direct or averted gaze. An affective priming task showed more positive automatic evaluations of objects that were paired with attractive faces with direct gaze than attractive faces with averted gaze and unattractive faces, irrespective of gaze direction. Participants' self-reported desire for the objects matched the affective priming data. The results are discussed against the background of recent findings on affective consequences of gaze cueing.
The present research aimed to test the role of mood in the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT; Bechara et al., 1994). In the IGT, participants can win or lose money by picking cards from four different decks. They have to learn by experience that two decks are overall advantageous and two decks are overall disadvantageous. Previous studies have shown that at an early stage in this card-game, players begin to display a tendency towards the advantageous decks. Subsequent research suggested that at this stage, people base their decisions on conscious gut feelings (Wagar \& Dixon, 2006). Based on empirical evidence for the relation between mood and cognitive processing-styles, we expected and consistently found that, compared to a negative mood state, reported and induced positive mood states increased this early tendency towards advantageous decks. Our results provide support for the idea that a positive mood causes stronger reliance on affective signals in decision-making than a negative mood.
Studies on short-term mating (STM) yield sex differences regarding preferences for attractiveness (important to women, very important to men) and social status (very important to women, not to men) in potential mates. Additionally, men generally report a greater desire to engage in STM than women. So far, this evidence is primarily based on studies using vignettes or surveys. The current study extended the findings on sex differences in STM by examining actual behavior and STM-desires towards real people of the opposite sex. It investigated whether (1) sex differences exist in STM-desire, (2) whether this desire was affected by a confederate's attractiveness and status, and (3) if these sex differences were also reflected in interpersonal behavior (mimicry). In a pub-like laboratory, single heterosexual participants performed a task alongside a confederate of the opposite sex, who differed in attractiveness and social status. Mimicry was observed and explicit STM-desire was assessed. Results showed that men only desired STM more than women in the case of an attractive partner. Women's STM-desire did not vary as a function of status or attractiveness of the potential partner. Men's, but not women's, mimicry paralleled these differential STM-desires. These results underline the conditionality of sex differences in STM-desire and provide a useful paradigm to further investigate STM.
Extending on the recent investigation into the implicit affective processes underlying motivation and decision making, 5 studies examined the role of negative affect in moderating goal priming effects. Specifically, experimental effects on measures that typify motivational qualities of goal systems, such as keeping a goal at a heightened level of mental accessibility and exerting effort to work for a goal and experiencing desire to attain the goal, showed that the motivation and resultant operation of social goals cease when these goals are primed in temporal proximity of negatively valenced information. These goal cessation effects resulting from the mere coactivation of a goal and negative affect are discussed against the background of present research on nonconscious goal pursuit and the role of accessibility and desirability in the regulation of automatic goal-directed behavior.
- Feb 2007
Previous research has shown that distracting stimuli are evaluated more negatively than new stimuli in a dual task paradigm (Raymond, Fenske, & Tavassoli, 2003). The present research aimed to extend this research by showing that repeatedly selecting targets in a perceptual identification task leads to lower evaluations of distracting stimuli embedded in this task, even when participants are unaware that they will be asked to evaluate the stimuli in a subsequent (separate) task. Results indeed show that repeatedly selecting target stimuli in the presence of distracting stimuli leads to devaluation of these distracting stimuli compared to both target stimuli and new stimuli in a subsequent task. The findings of the present research indicate that devaluation of repeatedly ignored stimuli arises even when stimulus evaluation is not salient during target selection.
We investigated the influence of the compatibility between mood and decision strategies on the subjective value of a decision outcome. Several studies have provided evidence for the idea that a sad mood induces people to analyse information carefully, probably fitting well with a deliberative decision strategy. In a happy mood, people tend to act more strongly on their feelings, probably fitting well with an intuitive decision strategy. However, sometimes the situation demands the use of decision strategies that seem incompatible with mood states. We expected that decision makers would value a decision outcome higher in the case of a fit between mood and decision strategy than in the case of a non-fit. After a mood manipulation, participants were instructed to decide either based on their first affective reaction or after deliberation. Results confirmed our expectations: fitting decisions enhanced the subjective value of a decision outcome.
- Nov 2006
Previous research has shown that implementation intentions are effective tools to promote new behavior. The present study aimed to provide the first evidence that conscious planning is an effective tool in replacing well-learned habits with new habits. This was tested in a field-experiment on repetitive behavior in the domain of recycling, using 109 employees of a tele-company as participants. Recycling behavior of the participants was observed by the actual amount of paper and the number of plastic cups in their personal wastebaskets. Following a pre-measure, participants were assigned to either implementation intention conditions, conditions in which an eye-catching facility was placed to promote recycling behavior, or control conditions. Recycling behavior was substantially improved in the facility as well as the implementation intention conditions in week 1 and week 2 and still 2 months after the manipulation. These data supported our hypothesis that planning breaks down unwanted habits and creates new ones.
- Aug 2006
Whereas previous findings suggest that mood alters information processing style judgment and strategic behavior, in the present article, the hypothesis is tested that moods influence our non–conscious behavior. In the first study, we observed a correlation between participants’ mood and their non–conscious mimicry of a person on television. In the second study, participants were put in either a positive or negative mood and afterwards they watched a video comprising of two episodes, one with a pen–playing experimenter, and one with a non-pen–playing experimenter. Participants were videotaped to see whether they would mimic the pen–playing experimenter. As predicted, we found that only participants in a positive mood mimic the confederate’s behavior. Finally, tentative evidence suggesting that the effect of mood on mimicry is mediated by cognitive processing style is discussed. These results support a functional explanation for the effects of mood on information processing and behavior.
Past research has revealed that forgiveness promotes prosocial cognition, feeling, and behavior toward the offender. The present research extends this research by examining whether forgiveness may spill over beyond the relationship with the offender, promoting generalized prosocial orientation. Consistent with hypotheses, three studies revealed that forgiveness compared to unforgiveness is generally associated with higher levels of a generalized prosocial orientation, as indicated by higher levels of a we frame of mind (as indicated by a greater use of first-person plural pronouns, e.g., we, us, in a language task) and greater feelings of relatedness toward others in general. Moreover, forgiveness (vs. unforgiveness) was even associated with greater probability of donating to charity and greater willingness to engage in volunteering. Finally, the authors found that unforgiveness reduces tendencies toward generalized prosocial orientation, whereas forgiveness restores generalized prosocial orientation to baseline levels within the relationship.
- Oct 2005
Three studies explored whether odor can influence people's cognition and behavior without their being consciously aware of the influence. In two studies, we tested and confirmed that when participants were unobtrusively exposed to citrus-scented all-purpose cleaner, the mental accessibility of the behavior concept of cleaning was enhanced, as was indicated by faster identification of cleaning-related words in a lexical decision task and higher frequency of listing cleaning-related activities when describing expected behavior during the day. Finally, a third study established that the mere exposure to the scent of all-purpose cleaner caused participants to keep their direct environment more clean during an eating task. Awareness checks showed that participants were unaware of this influence. The present studies reveal the nonconscious influence that olfactory cues can have on thinking and doing.
- May 2004
Three studies investigated the effects of self-construal activation on behavior conducive to interpersonal proximity. Study 1 revealed that compared with control participants, participants who were primed with the independent (or personal) self sat further away from where they anticipated another person would sit in a waiting room. Results of Study 2 indicated that participants primed with the interdependent (or social) self sat closer to the anticipated other person than did those primed with the independent self. Finally, Study 3 used the chronic self-construal of participants to predict the seating distance in dyadic settings. Results showed that greater independence of participants' self-construals was associated with greater spatial distance during the interaction. Together, the studies provide clear evidence that self-construal activation automatically influences interpersonal behavior as reflected in the actual distance between the self and others. Results are discussed in terms of the functions and motives connected to self-construals.
- Feb 2004
Recent studies have shown that mimicry occurs unintentionally and even among strangers. In the present studies, we investigated the consequences of this automatic phenomenon in order to learn more about the adaptive function it serves. In three studies, we consistently found that mimicry increases prosocial behavior. Participants who had been mimicked were more helpful and generous toward other people than were nonmimicked participants. These beneficial consequences of mimicry were not restricted to behavior directed toward the mimicker, but included behavior directed toward people not directly involved in the mimicry situation. These results suggest that the effects of mimicry are not simply due to increased liking for the mimicker, but are due to increased prosocial orientation in general.
- Nov 2003
The present experiment investigated the influence of attitude accessibility on several meta-attitudinal strength measures. It was predicted that certainty and perceived likelihood of change, i.e., commitment-related attributes of attitude strength, are influenced by changes in attitude accessibility, while no effects were expected for importance and perceived centrality to values and the self, i.e., centrality-related attributes. Accessibility was manipulated by having participants express their attitudes either repeatedly or only once. As hypothesized, accessibility and measures of commitment were enhanced after repeated expression compared to single expression. Furthermore, mediation analyses supported the idea that subjective commitment may be inferred from the ease of attitude retrieval. Centrality-related attributes were found to be unaffected by the accessibility manipulation. The results are discussed in the light of a multi-dimensional structure of attitude strength and antecedent processes of meta-cognitive attributes of strength.
- Jul 2003
Two experiments investigated the idea that mimicry leads to pro-social behavior. It was hypothesized that mimicking the verbal behavior of customers would increase the size of tips. In Experiment 1, a waitress either mimicked half her customers by literally repeating their order or did not mimic her customers. It was found that she received significantly larger tips when she mimicked her customers than when she did not. In Experiment 2, in addition to a mimicry- and non-mimicry condition, a baseline condition was included in which the average tip was assessed prior to the experiment. The results indicated that, compared to the baseline, mimicry leads to larger tips. These results demonstrate that mimicry can be advantageous for the imitator because it can make people more generous.
- Dec 2002
Processes of self-justification were investigated in a field experiment among car drivers. High self-esteem was expected to reduce internal and external self-justification strategies. Dissonance was aroused by confronting respondents with the negative consequences of car driving either for others, that is, moral dissonance (e.g., environment, public health), or for themselves, that is, hedonistic dissonance (e.g., travel time). A third group served as a no-dissonance control group. Consistent with the predictions, no self-justification was found among high-self-esteem respondents. Low-self-esteem respondents displayed more external self-justification strategies in response to moral dissonance and internal self-justification strategies in response to hedonistic dissonance, although the latter effect was weaker. Results of Study 2 suggest that high-self-esteem respondents are less likely to engage in self-justification because they experience less discomfort after a self-threat. Together, the results illuminate the relation between self-esteem and self-justification and provide external validity for self-affirmation theory.
- Nov 2002
This study investigated the role of attitude strength as a moderator variable with regard to the direction of the relation between attitudes and behavior. The hypothesis was tested that strong attitudes guide behavior, whereas weak attitudes follow behavior in accordance with self-perception principles. The study (N = 106) consisted of two sessions. In session 1, attitudes and attitude strength (certainty, importance, centrality) towards Greenpeace were measured. One week later, participants returned to the laboratory (session 2) and were given the opportunity to donate money to Greenpeace. After the participants' decision to donate money or not, attitudes towards Greenpeace were measured again. The results were consistent with the predictions. First, strong attitudes were more predictive of donation behavior than weak attitudes. Moreover, session 2 attitudes of weak attitude participants were influenced by their donation behavior, whereas no such effect was found among strong attitude participants. Finally, strong attitudes were also found to be more stable over time than weak attitudes. The results provide a complete overview of the moderating role of attitude strength with regard to the bi-directional attitude-behavior relationship. Results are discussed in the light of attitude retrieval versus attitude-construction processes. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Six studies examined the value-behavior relation and focused on motivational properties of values, the self, and value activation. Priming environmental values enhanced attention to and the weight of information related to those values, which resulted in environmentally friendly consumer choices. This only occurred if these values were central to the self-concept. Value-congruent choices were also found in response to countervalue behavior in an unrelated context. Donating behavior congruent with central altruistic values was found as a result of enhanced self-focus, thus demonstrating the importance of the self in the value-behavior relation. The external validity of the value-centrality measure and its distinction from attitudes were demonstrated in the prediction of voting. Values were thus found to give meaning to, energize, and regulate value-congruent behavior, but only if values were cognitively activated and central to the self.