William von Hippel

William von Hippel
The University of Queensland | UQ · School of Psychology

About

138
Publications
141,343
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6,572
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 2007 - present
The University of Queensland
Position
  • Professor

Publications

Publications (138)
Article
The FIAT paradigm (Grimmer et al., 2021) is a novel method of eliciting ‘Aha’ moments for incorrect solutions to anagrams in the laboratory, i.e. false insights. There exist many documented reports of psychotic symptoms accompanying strong feelings of ‘Aha!’ (Feyaerts, Henriksen, Vanheule, Myin-Germeys, & Sass, 2021; Mishara, 2010; Tulver, Kaup, La...
Article
Deception is used by plants, animals, and humans to increase their fitness by persuading others of false beliefs that benefit the self, thereby creating evolutionary pressure to detect deception and avoid providing such unearned benefits to others. Self-deception can disrupt detection efforts by eliminating cognitive load and idiosyncratic deceptiv...
Article
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Our basic beliefs about reality can be impossible to prove and yet we can feel a strong intuitive conviction about them, as exemplified by insights that imbue an idea with immediate certainty. Here we presented participants with worldview beliefs such as “people’s core qualities are fixed” and simultaneously elicited an aha moment. In the first exp...
Article
The insight experience (or ‘Aha moment’) generally evokes strong feelings of certainty and confidence. An ‘Aha’ experience for a false idea could underlie many false beliefs and delusions. However, for as long as insight experiences have been studied, false insights have remained difficult to elicit experimentally. That difficulty, in turn, highlig...
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We argue that rather than being a wholly random event, birthdays are sometimes selected by parents. We further argue that such effects have changed over time and are the result of important psychological processes. Long ago, U.S. American parents greatly overclaimed holidays as their children's birthdays. These effects were larger for more importan...
Article
Objectives: Recovery from mental illness is multiply-determined, but one factor that has been proposed to influence recovery is the degree to which the person identifies as someone with a mental illness. This study examines the relationship between implicit identification with being mentally unwell and recovery among clients of a community mental...
Preprint
Full-text available
Our basic beliefs about reality can be impossible to prove and yet we can feel a strong intuitive conviction for them, as exemplified by insights that imbue an idea with immediate certainty. Here we presented participants with worldviews such as “people’s core qualities are fixed”, and simultaneously elicited an aha moment. In the first experiment...
Preprint
Full-text available
Our basic beliefs about reality can be impossible to prove and yet we can feel a strong intuitive conviction for them, as exemplified by insights that imbue an idea with immediate certainty. Here we presented participants with worldviews such as “people’s core qualities are fixed”, and simultaneously elicited an aha moment. In the first experiment...
Article
Objective: Stroke-related social cognitive impairment is now well established, but studies vary considerably in the nature and magnitude of the deficits reported, as well as whether there are potential areas of preservation. Because these discrepancies may reflect clinical heterogeneity between the contributing research participants, this study pr...
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Overconfidence is one of the most ubiquitous biases in the social sciences, but the evidence regarding its overall costs and benefits is mixed. To test the possibility that overconfidence might yield important relative benefits that offset its absolute costs, we conducted an experiment (N=298 university students) in which pairs of participants barg...
Article
Couple satisfaction has been extensively investigated, but little attention has been paid to the nature and assessment of high-quality, flourishing couple relationships. Particularly, current measures of relationship quality are insensitive at the upper end of the continuum, which in turn hinders progress toward understanding and facilitating flour...
Article
We treat meaning as nonphysical connection and potential organization. Meaning is a resource that can be used by animals to improve survival and reproduction. The evolution of brains to exploit meaning occurred in two heuristic steps. First, solitary brains developed mental representations of patterns for learning and guiding adaptive action. Secon...
Article
In three studies (n = 427), participants wrote and answered questions about autobiographical episodes involving helping behavior from the perspective of the helper vs. the recipient. Both helpers and recipients reported that the benefits of help outweighed the costs (i.e., the help was non-zero-sum). Helpers underestimated the degree to which recip...
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We aim to test the hypothesis that overconfidence arises as a strategy to influence others in social interactions. To address this question, we design an experiment in which participants are incentivized either to form accurate beliefs about their performance at a test, or to convince a group of other participants that they performed well. We also...
Article
Although social cognitive difficulties are common following stroke, the extent to which such difficulties observed in the acute phase are related to long-term socioemotional outcomes remains poorly understood. To address this question empirically, fifty-three stroke patients completed a measure of Theory of Mind (The Reading the Mind in the Eyes Te...
Article
Community mental health is a vital service, but it faces ongoing challenges from its high staff‐turnover rates. The current study provides a preliminary test of a novel explanation for employee disengagement in community mental health. It is proposed that providing assistance to clients, while simultaneously feeling that only limited progress is be...
Preprint
We aim to test the hypothesis that overconfidence arises as a strategy to influence others in social interactions. We design an experiment in which participants are incentivised either to form accurate beliefs about their performance at a test, or to convince a group of other participants that they performed well. We also vary participants' ability...
Article
The quality and frequency of human technical innovation differentiates us from all other species, and has played a primary role in creating the cognitive niche that we occupy. Yet, despite the centrality of technical innovation to human culture and our daily lives, most people rarely if ever innovate new products. To address this discrepancy we con...
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SCIENTIFIC In this paper, we argue that four interlocking barriers beset psychologists seeking to develop a proper science of social psychology. The first is the ideological orientation characteristic of most social psychologists—heavily skewed on the left side of the political spectrum. The second is the adoption of a view of human nature that soc...
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Ballooning levels of societal inequality have led to a resurgence of interest in the economic causes and con- sequences of wealth disparity. What has drawn less attention in the scientific literature is how different levels of resource inequality influence what types of individuals emerge as leaders. In the current paper we take a distal approach t...
Article
Adults are capable of predicting their emotional reactions to possible future events. Nevertheless, they systematically overestimate the intensity of their future emotional reactions relative to how they feel when these events actually occur. The developmental origin of this 'intensity bias' has not yet been examined. Two studies were conducted to...
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This article presents a longitudinal test of three proposed functions of overconfidence. In a sample of 894 high school boys surveyed across two school years, we examined whether overconfidence in sporting ability and intelligence predicts improved mental health, motivation, and popularity. Both sporting and intelligence overconfidence showed posit...
Article
Background: This pilot study investigated links between psychobiological indicators of work productivity, prolonged desk sitting, and conditions whereby office workers were able to interrupt sitting using a sit-stand or treadmill desk. Methods: Twenty participants visited our laboratory and completed their own desk work in counterbalanced sit-on...
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Peace and global security are human endeavors, and thus their attainment depends as much on psychology as it does on gover-nance and technology. In this paper I outline 3 ways our evolved psychology is an obstacle to achieving international cooperation and peace. First, humans show strong evidence of adaptations for cooperation within groups, but e...
Article
Self-deception is both commonplace and costly, which raises the question of what purpose it might serve. According to the dominant explanation in psychology and economics, self-deception is an intrapersonal process that fortifies and protects the self from threatening information. An alternative possibility is that self-deception evolved as an inte...
Article
Objectives: It remains unclear whether there are age-related changes in the experience of strong self-conscious emotion, such as shame, guilt, pride and embarrassment. Because shame and guilt figure prominently in the aetiology of depressive symptoms and other mental health problems, a better understanding of how age affects the strong experience...
Article
Social cognition broadly refers to the processing of social information in the brain that underlies abilities such as the detection of others’ emotions and responding appropriately to these emotions. Social cognitive skills are critical for successful communication and, consequently, mental health and wellbeing. Disturbances of social cognition are...
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Knowledge of social rules helps people engage in socially intelligent behavior (Argyle & Kendon, 1967; Cantor & Kihlstrom, 1987; Lopes et al., 2004), but social knowledge alone is not enough. For example, even when they under- stand the social demands, people put their foot in their mouth if their dominant response to a situation is socially inappr...
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This study examined whether people can detect deception after the fact if they initially accept someone's behaviour at face value but then learn that they have been duped. Fifty-four groups composed of four to six mutual friends engaged in a group discussion with a financial incentive for arriving at a correct decision. One member of each group was...
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An age-related 'positivity' effect has been identified, in which older adults show an information-processing bias towards positive emotional items in attention and memory. In the present study, we examined this positivity bias by using a novel paradigm in which emotional and neutral distractors were presented along with emotionally valenced targets...
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Four studies and a computer simulation tested the hypothesis that people who are overconfident in their self-assessments may be more successful in attracting mates. In Study 1, overconfident people were perceived as more confident in their dating profiles, and this perceived confidence predicted increased romantic desirability. Study 2 revealed tha...
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To adapt one’s behavior to suit changing social contingencies, it is necessary to be skillful at detecting such changing contingencies in the first place. As a consequence, the ability to detect changing contingencies (reversal learning) should predict social competence across both competitive and cooperative social settings. Consistent with this p...
Chapter
In early November 1999 I joined Stormfront, one of the first and largest neo-Nazi sites on the Internet. Every morning for about a year I logged into various discussion forums on the site to see what my Nazi cyberfriends were doing and how they were reacting to the events of the day. Soon I also started visiting the websites of White Aryan Resistan...
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Older adults favor emotionally positive material over emotionally negative material in information processing. Given the potentially harmful consequences of avoiding negative information, this aging positivity effect may provide benefits that offset its costs. To test this possibility, we assessed positivity in recall and blood indicators of immune...
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Research has identified numerous factors associated with successful treatment in alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs, yet treatment completion rates are often low and subsequent relapse rates very high. We propose that people's implicit identification with drugs and alcohol may be an additional factor that impacts their ability to complete abs...
Article
Human mate choice is complicated, with various individual differences and contextual factors influencing preferences for numerous traits. However, focused studies on human mate choice often do not capture the multivariate complexity of human mate choice. Here, we consider multiple factors simultaneously to demonstrate the advantages of a multivaria...
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The metaphor of selfish goals is misguided. Organisms can be considered vessels that further the interests of their genes, but not vessels that further the interests of their goals. Although goals can act at cross-purposes to each other and to longevity, such trade-offs are predicted by evolutionary theory. The metaphor of selfish goals provides no...
Article
Aggressiveness is highly heritable. Recent experimental work has linked individual differences in a functional polymorphism of the monoamine oxidase-A gene (MAOA) to anger-driven aggression. Other work has implicated the dorsal ACC (dACC) in cognitive-emotional control and the amygdala in emotional arousal. The present imaging genetics study invest...
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Avoiding disease and acquiring resources have been recurrent challenges throughout human evolution. These abilities are particularly relevant to mate preferences, as pathogens and resources can both be transferred between mates and to mutual offspring. Based on 689 participants’ attractiveness ratings of manipulated online dating profiles, we teste...
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This study aimed to assess the potential association between age-related prefrontal brain changes and slot machine gambling, an activity that has become increasingly popular among older adults. Functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to assess healthy older and younger adults whilst playing a slot machine. Results revealed that the older gro...
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Regret and anticipated regret enhance decision quality by helping people avoid making and repeating mistakes. Some of people's most intense regrets concern sexual decisions. We hypothesized evolved sex differences in women's and men's experiences of sexual regret. Because of women's higher obligatory costs of reproduction throughout evolutionary hi...
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Social behavioral abnormalities are commonly seen in the later stages of dementia. However, there has been only limited empirical study of social functioning in the earlier stages of the disease, or in individuals diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The aim of the present study was to test whether these clinical groups show more sociall...
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Sociological theory stresses the link between drug use and identity and the need to reconstitute this identity as separate from drug use for successful recovery. Research in implicit social cognition suggests that people's attitudes need not be available to conscious awareness to have an influence on behaviour. Combining these two ideas, this explo...
Article
Research with violent offenders and delinquent adolescents suggests that endogenous testosterone concentrations have the strongest positive correlations with violence among men who have low concentrations of cortisol. The present study tested the hypothesis that testosterone and cortisol would similarly interact to determine neural activation in re...
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Caffeine is the most widely consumed central nervous system stimulant in the world, yet little is known about its effects on aggressive behavior. Individuals often consume caffeine to increase energy and ward off mental depletion. Because mental depletion increases aggression when people are provoked, caffeine might reduce aggression by amelioratin...
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Commentators raised 10 major questions with regard to self-deception: Are dual representations necessary? Does self-deception serve intrapersonal goals? What forces shape self-deception? Are there cultural differences in self-deception? What is the self? Does self-deception have costs? How well do people detect deception? Are self-deceivers lying?...
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In this article we argue that self-deception evolved to facilitate interpersonal deception by allowing people to avoid the cues to conscious deception that might reveal deceptive intent. Self-deception has two additional advantages: It eliminates the costly cognitive load that is typically associated with deceiving, and it can minimize retribution...
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Power has been found to increase risk-taking (Anderson & Galinsky, 2006) but this effect appears to be moderated by individual differences in power motivation (Maner, Gailliot, Butz, & Peruche, 2007). Among individuals high in power motivation, the experience of power leads to more conservative decisions. As testosterone is associated with the purs...
Article
Impaired executive control is implicated in aggression. Research suggests that the acute administration of glucose can improve executive control. In two experiments undergraduates completed a measure of trait aggression and consumed a glucose or placebo beverage before being given the chance to administer a blast of white noise to a fictitious part...
Article
Whistling Vivaldi And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us by Claude M. Steele Norton, New York, 2010. 256 pp. $25.95, C$32.50. ISBN 9780393062496. Steele discusses how stereotypes can undermine the performance and affect the psychology and lives of those marked on the basis of race, gender, class, or cultural classifications.
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Staff interactions with their clients are an important factor in the quality of care that is provided to people in drug treatment. Yet there is very little research that addresses staff attitudes or clients' perceptions of discrimination and prejudice by staff with regard to treatment outcomes. This research aimed to assess whether perceptions of d...
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Processing of evaluative information is a central theme in social cognition research. Most studies focus on processing advantages associated with negative information. Here, we demonstrate and explain the faster processing of positive information. Building on the "density" hypothesis (Unkelbach et al., 2008), we predicted that this advantage is exp...
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In 2005, 60 health care workers were recruited through services that attract injecting drug users (IDUs) and asked to complete attitude measures regarding IDU clients. Mediation analyses indicated that conservative health care workers displayed more negative attitudes toward their IDU clients because they believe that injecting drug use is within t...
Article
This research explored age-related changes in drawing stereotypic inferences during the comprehension of narrative texts. Previous research suggests that declines in inhibitory function can lead older adults to rely more on stereotypes and be more prejudiced than younger adults, even in the face of a desire to be non-prejudiced. In two experiments...
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The authors report a field experiment with skateboarders that demonstrates that physical risk taking by young men increases in the presence of an attractive female. This increased risk taking leads to more successes but also more crash landings in front of a female observer. Mediational analyses suggest that this increase in risk taking is caused i...
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Reports an error in "Interacting with sexist men triggers social identity threat among female engineers" by Christine Logel, Gregory M. Walton, Steven J. Spencer, Emma C. Iserman, William von Hippel and Amy E. Bell (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2009[Jun], Vol 96[6], 1089-1103). The affiliation for William von Hippel is incorrect. T...