Ronnie Janoff-Bulman

Ronnie Janoff-Bulman
University of Massachusetts Amherst | UMass Amherst · Department of Psychology

PhD

About

86
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Publications

Publications (86)
Article
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Two studies explored the relationship between political ideology and endorsement of a range of moral principles. Political liberals and conservatives did not differ on intrapersonal or interpersonal moralities, which require self-regulation. However differences emerged on collective moralities, which involve social regulation. Contrary to Moral Fou...
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Morality helps make social life possible, but social life is embedded in many social contexts. Research on morality has generally neglected this and instead has emphasized people's general beliefs. We therefore investigated the extent to which different moral principles are perceived as embedded in social contexts. We conducted two studies investig...
Chapter
My student and I sat at my desk discussing the results-or rather the lack thereof-of our recent lab study. We had already conducted one experiment that provided support for our hypothesis, which we regarded as new and interesting. That first study, however, involved purely attitudinal measures, and the obvious next step was to assess actual behavio...
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Our past work linking motivation and morality provides a basis for understanding differences in political ideology and positions across the political spectrum. Conservatism is rooted in avoidance-based proscriptive morality, whereas liberalism is rooted in approach-based prescriptive morality. Two distinct, binding, group moralities reflect these d...
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Based on Lakoff’s (2002) Strict Father and Nurturant Parent metaphors for political conservatism and liberalism respectively, two studies explored parenting styles, political ideology, and the moral orientations that might link the two. Restrictive parenting (by both mother and father) predicted political conservatism, and this path was mediated by...
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In response to Graham's comments, we attempt to clarify aspects of the Model of Moral Motives (MMM). The columns of our model represent three primary contexts for morality, involving behaviors focused on the self, another person, and one's group. The rows of MMM represent proscriptive morality and prescriptive morality, which broadly reflect motive...
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Explanations based in attribution theory claim that strong external controls such as parental restrictiveness and punishment undermine moral internalization. In contrast, 3 studies provide evidence that parental punishment does socialize morality, but of a particular sort: a morality focused on prohibitions (i.e., proscriptive orientation) rather t...
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We present a new six-cell Model of Moral Motives that applies a fundamental motivational distinction in psychology to the moral domain. In addition to moral motives focused on the self or another, we propose two group-based moralities, both communal in orientation, but reflecting distinct moral motives (Social Order/Communal Solidarity vs. Social J...
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Based on the unique features of morality, we suggest that group memberships rooted in moral convictions are a special classification of inherently threatening social groups in which outgroup “hate” naturally occurs with ingroup “love.” Three studies explored emotional reactions to ingroups and outgroups by individuals whose group memberships were e...
Article
Our primary task is to explore the ways in which appreciation is experienced in the aftermath of trauma. However, in order to understand survivors' experiences of appreciation—the positive side of trauma—we must familiarize ourselves with the negative side, with the losses that accompany traumatic experiences, for the 2 sides of trauma are closely...
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This chapter uses morality as a lens for understanding distrust of government in the United States today. Drawing from recent work on the psychology of morality, it highlights the unique nature of moral convictions and the strong links between morality and trust. With this as a backdrop, distrust is discussed in relation to ingroup-outgroup status...
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A proscriptive moral orientation, involving a focus on “should nots,” is used to resolve a contradiction in the moral socialization literature made evident by findings related to shame. The traditionally accepted view that underregulation of morality (i.e., absence of internalized moral standards) accounts for increased moral transgressions by chil...
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The social intuitionist model has served as an important corrective to the earlier dominance of rational deliberation in moral psychology. Yet the relationship between intuition and deliberation in moral judgments remains largely unexplored. Three studies were conducted to explore the role of automatic and controlled processes in moral judgments. R...
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In this article we explore a self-regulatory perspective on the self-evaluative moral emotions, shame and guilt. Broadly conceived, self-regulation distinguishes between two types of motivation: approach/activation and avoidance/inhibition. We use this distinction to conceptually understand the socialization dimensions (parental restrictiveness ver...
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Past research on political orientation suggests an association between conservatism and cognitive rigidity. In the area of self-regulation, cognitive rigidity has been related to avoidance motivation and cognitive flexibility to approach motivation. Furthermore, recent work suggests links between political orientation and self-regulation, with cons...
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A self-regulatory framework for distinguishing between shame and guilt was tested in three studies. Recently, two forms of moral regulation based on approach versus avoidance motivation have been proposed in the literature. Proscriptive regulation is sensitive to negative outcomes, inhibition based, and focused on what we should not do. Prescriptiv...
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Political liberalism and conservatism differ in provide versus protect orientations, specifically providing for group members' welfare (political Left) and protecting the group from harm (political Right). These reflect the fundamental psychological distinction between approach and avoidance motivation. Conservatism is avoidance based; it is focuse...
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A distinction is made between two forms of morality on the basis of approach-avoidance differences in self-regulation. Prescriptive morality is sensitive to positive outcomes, activation-based, and focused on what we should do. Proscriptive morality is sensitive to negative outcomes, inhibition-based, and focused on what we should not do. Seven stu...
Chapter
In the wake of 9/11 Americans experienced a collective trauma. The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were deeply disorienting for a nation that had taken for granted its own inviolability. As a group we experienced the extreme anxiety and disequilibrium that accompanied a sense that the world was now threatening and dangerous. The...
Article
Recent critiques of moral psychology and the contemporary culture wars highlight the need for a better understanding of diverse moral perspectives. A model of moral motives is proposed. The fundamental approach–avoidance distinction in motivation is crossed with self-other focus to create four moral motives: Self-Restraint (avoidance-self), Social...
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This chapter focuses on the role of respect in intergroup reconciliation. It first distinguishes between two types of respect - one largely intergroup and the other primarily intragroup in nature - and discusses the attributional components of these appraisals. It then moves to a discussion of disrespect and its implications for delegitimization, f...
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People generally believe that torture is effective despite strong counterclaims by experienced military interrogators and intelligence experts. This article challenges us to reexamine some of our basic assumptions about torture by presenting four psychological factors—primarily errors and biases in human judgment—that help account for this mistaken...
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Two studies explored the impact of micro justice (individual focus) and macro justice (societal focus) on perceptions of fairness within the context of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in South Africa. All participants read and listened to a detailed description of the TRC and were asked to judge the fairness of the overall process and...
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The tragic events of 9/11 were experienced as an overwhelming individual trauma for those closest to the attacks and as a disorienting collective trauma for the nation as a whole. One immediate and protracted response has been an increase in moralizing in the United States. To provide a context for the increased moralizing post-9/11, we present a m...
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Two studies were conducted to clarify the pattern of mixed results found in past research regarding the association between costs and satisfaction in close relationships. Insights from Prospect Theory (D. Kahneman & A. Tversky, 1979, 2000) suggested the importance of gain–loss framing in understanding costs. When costs are attached to valued outcom...
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This study explored motivational differences in the perception of social obligations by respondents from individualist versus collectivist cultures. Participants were 120 undergraduate students (60 Latinos and 60 Anglos) who completed a lengthy questionnaire assessing the extent to which they felt obligated to help and wanted to help across a varie...
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Four studies investigated the perception of autonomous motives for obligations—of “wants” in activities regarded as “shoulds.” In Study 1, respondents provided their reasons for engaging in self-generated obligations, whereas in Study 2, the experimenter provided the obligations. In both studies, participants spontaneously gave few autonomous motiv...
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Explored the role of liking and fairness motivation in Ss' ability to see both sides of a conflict in 2 experiments. In 2 studies of interpersonal conflict, Ss responded open-endedly to 2 parent–adolescents (Exp 1) or college roommate (Exp 2) conflict scenarios. 154 male and female college students participated in Exp 1 and 244 female college stude...
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The primary aim was to determine the relative contributions of early attachment and abuse history to adult attachment, depression, and conflict resolution behaviors. Differences between abused and nonabused respondents were also assessed. A multi-scale questionnaire was completed by 879 college students. Hierarchical regression analyses were used t...
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there appear to be 2 primary understandings of meaning that help inform survivors' crises and coping post-trauma: meaning as comprehensibility and meaning as significance / the first involves questions regarding whether something 'makes sense'; in other words, whether it fits with a system of accepted rules or theories / the second involves questio...
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Proceeding from a model of feature-positive goal monitoring, two studies tested hypothesized associations between approach goals and positive self-evaluations and between avoidance goals and negative self-evaluations. The existence of feature-positive searches in goal monitoring was expected to bias self-evaluations toward perceiving success for ap...
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Women's "failure to negotiate" is framed within the larger context of women's difficulties in advocating for themselves. These difficulties are examined in light of both the costs associated with female self-promotion and the often invisible link for women between being liked and being influential. Suggestions are made for minimizing the passive in...
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The loss of illusions is a powerful consequence of traumatic life events. Fundamental assumptions about benevolence, meaning, and self-worth are illusions that are shattered by the traumatic experience. The illusory nature of these assumptions is understood in terms of over generalization of positive beliefs about the self and the world. Ultimately...
Chapter
Violence is an all too common feature of modern life. Media presentations are filled with images of people hurting one another, and although much attention is given to scenes depicting violence and even to perpetrators of violence, little is given to victims (Bard & Sangrey, 1979). Violence involves physical force with the intent to harm another, a...
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Although the psychological literature has generally equated deservingness and justice, victims' responses suggest the need to disentangle the two concepts. Victims usually feel their traumatic experience was undeserved but typically do not consider the outcome in terms of justice or fairness. Rather, their feelings about not deserving the victimiza...
Article
The present research extended work on the buffering effects of self-complexity by exploring its implications for long-term adjustment following traumatic life events. Self-complexity for positive and negative self-representations were examined separately. Subjects were classified into two groups-trauma and no-trauma-based on their ratings of experi...
Article
Experiences with love in one's family of origin (between parent and child and between parents) and in recent romantic involvements were explored to understand better people's optimism about their success in intimate relationships. Two types of optimism were distinguished: optimism about future relationships in general, and optimism about marriage i...
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Researchers have recently begun to challenge long-standing views of grief and have called for new approaches to help understand the phenomenon. In this vein, the present study examined the impact of bereavement on people's basic assumptions about themselves and their world. Three categories of assumptions were explored: Benevolence of the World, Me...
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one of the most salient lessons one learns when working with victims is the extent to which people take for granted various apsects of themselves and their world; that is, we operate on the basis of important assumptions that generally go unquestioned and unchallenged / it is the sum total of these basic cognitive assumptions about the world and th...
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Two studies were conducted to examine the long-term impact of parental divorce on beliefs about the self and others. In Study 1, college-aged children of divorce and students from intact families did not differ on 8 basic assumptions or on measures of depression. Those whose parents are divorced, however, were less optimistic about the success of t...
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Work on the psychological aftermath of traumatic events suggests that people ordinarily operate on the basis of unchallenged, unquestioned assumptions about themselves and the world. A heuristic model specifying the content of people's assumptive worlds is proposed. The schema construct in social cognition is used to explore the role of these basic...
Article
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Based largely on research with victims, it is argued that illusions characterize our most basic assumptions about ourselves and our world and that these illusions are generally adaptive. The process of coping with victimization involves coming to terms with disillusionment, and strategies are presented that facilitate the process of rebuilding or r...
Chapter
Victims—of crime, violence, abuse, disease, serious accidents, natural disasters—generally experience considerable psychological distress. It is not difficult to comprehend common victim reactions such as disbelief, confusion, fear, anxiety, and hypervigilance. Typically, we recognize that bad things happen, but we never truly believe they will hap...
Chapter
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Through our work with a number of populations that have experienced traumatic negative events (e.g., rape victims, cancer patients, paralyzed accident victims) we have come to recognize the extent to which we ordinarily take for granted our very basic assumptions about ourselves and our world. These assumptions play a significant role in the emotio...
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Past research on cognitive biases has demonstrated the existence of a hindsight effect, whereby the receipt of outcome knowledge increases the perceived likelihood of the reported event. Three experiments were conducted that tested and supported the hindsight effect as a cause of victim blaming. Subjects read detailed accounts that were identical e...
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This study examined the relationship between particular cognitions and psychological adjustment to breast cancer. It was hypothesized that adjustment would be positively associated with victims' perceptions of invulnerability to a recurrence of cancer and that victims' causal attributions for cancer would influence adjustment to the extent that the...
Article
Reactions of crime victims are considered in relation to the more general topic of reactions to victimization. First, similarities between reactions to criminal and non-criminal victimizations are discussed in terms of shattered assumptions regarding invulnerability, meaningfulness, and self-worth. Next, differences between responses to criminal an...
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Conducted 3 studies to investigate associations among mindfulness, longevity, and senility. Study 1 Ss were 45 76–80 yr old residents of a nursing home. Study 2 Ss were 18 65–96 yr old female nursing home residents. Study 3 data were collected from 3 nursing homes and included data on 40 persons who had died of heart disease, 17 with arteroscleroti...
Article
Although specific victimizations may differ, there appear to be common psychological responses across a wide variety of victims. It is proposed that victims' psychological distress is largely due to the shattering of basic assumptions held about themselves and their world. Three assumptions that change as a result of victimization are: 1) the belie...
Article
30 nursing home residents (aged 65–97 yrs) were interviewed to determine the best predictors of psychological well-being. The most positive well-being was reported by Ss who perceived themselves as relatively healthy, had little education, had high perceived control, and perceived little change in control from pre- to postrelocation. Social worker'...
Article
An experiment was conducted to determine the esteem and control correlates of behavioral and characterological blame for victims and observers. On the basis of a proposed motivation to minimize perceptions of vulnerability, it was predicted that behavioral self-blame would be “adaptive” for victims, whereas both behavioral and characterological bla...
Article
Married women were interviewed in an investigation of attributions of control and blame for marital conflict and satisfaction with one's marriage. Each respondent was asked to discuss two standard conflict situations and two conflicts from her own marriage. Results supported the hypotheses that blaming one's spouse for marital problems is negativel...
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Two types of self-blame--behavioral and characterological--are distinguished. Behavioral self-blame is control related, involves attributions to a modifiable source (one's behavior), and is associated with a belief in the future avoidability of a negative outcome. Characterological self-blame is esteem related, involves attributions to a relatively...
Article
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Distinguishes 2 types of self-blame--behavioral and characterological. Behavioral self-blame is control related, involves attributions to a modifiable source (one's behavior), and is associated with a belief in the future avoidance of a negative outcome. Characterological self-blame is esteem related, involves attributions to a relatively nonmodifi...
Article
Participant-observer differences in attributions were examined in a field setting. Overenrollment at a large university resulted in the assignment of some students to temporary non-dormitory quarters. Participants (those affected) reacted more negatively to the administration and blamed both themselves and fate less than did observers; further, gre...
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Adaptation level theory suggests that both contrast and habituation will operate to prevent the winning of a fortune from elevating happiness as much as might be expected. Contrast with the peak experience of winning should lessen the impact of ordinary pleasures, while habituation should eventually reduce the value of new pleasures made possible b...
Article
Two types of self-blame were investigated: characterological self-blame, corresponding to the popular negative view of self-blame; and behavioral self-blame, representing a positive attempt to reestablish a belief in control. Results of a questionnaire completed by rape crisis centers located across the country attest to the pervasiveness of self-b...
Article
The purpose of this study was to examine the relation between victims' attributions of causality for their accidents and their ability to cope with severe misfortune. A total of 29 individuals who had been paralyzed in serious accidents were intensively interviewed. Both quantitative and open-ended questions were used to elicit attributions of blam...
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discuss several parameters that are important for defining and limiting the phenomenon we refer to as personal change / propose a heuristic model of the common process underlying personal change / proposed model represents an attempt to delineate the common elements of diverse change phenomena / model will be applied specifically to two domains tha...
Article
victims' attributions for disease, crime, and accidents represent cognitive attempts to understand and explain these highly stressful, undesirable events self-blame attributions are common reactions to disease, crime, and accidents document the extent of self-blame attributions and analyze why such seemingly negative attributions occur not al...