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Lacking Control Increases Illusory Patter Perception

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Abstract

We present six experiments that tested whether lacking control increases illusory pattern perception, which we define as the identification of a coherent and meaningful interrelationship among a set of random or unrelated stimuli. Participants who lacked control were more likely to perceive a variety of illusory patterns, including seeing images in noise, forming illusory correlations in stock market information, perceiving conspiracies, and developing superstitions. Additionally, we demonstrated that increased pattern perception has a motivational basis by measuring the need for structure directly and showing that the causal link between lack of control and illusory pattern perception is reduced by affirming the self. Although these many disparate forms of pattern perception are typically discussed as separate phenomena, the current results suggest that there is a common motive underlying them.

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... Conspiracist ideation is correlated with several biases, including the tendency to gather less data prior to decision-making (''jumping to conclusions"; [44,47] and the tendency toward lowered decision thresholds (''liberal acceptance"; [28], both of which are thought to cause epistemically-suspect beliefs (see: [6]. Manipulating particular reasoning biases, such as the tendency to perceive patterns in data when none are present (''illusory pattern perception"), increases conspiracist ideation [62]. Reasoning biases may cause conspiracist ideation because they influence individuals' likelihood of endorsing epistemically-suspect alternatives to official accounts, and motivate them to search for these accounts by encouraging paranoid thinking styles and distrust of information authorities, including scientists (see: [41]). ...
... Illusory Pattern Perception was measured using the Snowy Pictures Task [62]. Respondents view 24 pictures with visual noise (from: [58] and indicate whether they contain a difficult-toperceive object (half do, half do not). ...
... Belief in SARS-CoV-2 conspiracy theories was also (positively) associated with several reasoning biases, including illusory pattern perception and denominator neglect. While these biases were not identified as possible causes of conspiracist ideation by GFCI, previous literature providing evidence of a causal relation between these variables [47,56,62] suggests that additional exploration of the role of these biases may be warranted. Belief in SARS-COV-2 conspiracy theories was also positively associated with persecutory ideation (which GFCI suggested was causally upstream of belief in conspiracy theories) and negatively associated with epistemic trust in scientists (which GFCI suggested was reduced by belief in SARS-CoV-2 conspiracy theories). ...
Article
Background Widespread vaccine hesitancy and refusal complicate containment of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Extant research indicates that biased reasoning and conspiracist ideation discourage vaccination. However, causal pathways from these constructs to vaccine hesitancy and refusal remain underspecified, impeding efforts to intervene and increase vaccine uptake. Method 554 participants who denied prior SARS-CoV-2 vaccination completed self-report measures of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine intentions, conspiracist ideation, and constructs from the Health Belief Model of medical decision-making (such as perceived vaccine dangerousness) along with tasks measuring reasoning biases (such as those concerning data gathering behavior). Cutting-edge machine learning algorithms (Greedy Fast Causal Inference) and psychometric network analysis were used to elucidate causal pathways to (and from) vaccine intentions. Results Results indicated that a bias toward reduced data gathering during reasoning may cause paranoia, increasing the perceived dangerousness of vaccines and thereby reducing willingness to vaccinate. Existing interventions that target data gathering and paranoia therefore hold promise for encouraging vaccination. Additionally, reduced willingness to vaccinate was identified as a likely cause of belief in conspiracy theories, subverting the common assumption that the opposite causal relation exists. Finally, perceived severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection and perceived vaccine dangerousness (but not effectiveness) were potential direct causes of willingness to vaccinate, providing partial support for the Health Belief Model’s applicability to SARS-CoV-2 vaccine decisions. Conclusions These insights significantly advance our understanding of the underpinnings of vaccine intentions and should scaffold efforts to prepare more effective interventions on hesitancy for deployment during future pandemics.
... In five experiments, Whitson & Galinsky (2008) showed that experimentally induced lack of control (e.g., by remembering a past episode in which one had no control on a situation) caused a higher need for structure, a heightened perception of illusory shapes in noisy pictures (using a modified version of the Snowy Pictures Task, SPT; Ekstrom et al., 1976), and increased interpretations in terms of interpersonal conspiracy (using an imaginary vignette of a self-directed conspiracy from colleagues at work), as well as inducing superstitious perceptions and more proneness to perceive illusory correlations. However, these results have been contested (see Stojanov et al., 2020, andLodder, 2018, for difficulties of replication, and Francis et al., 2014, for concerns of p-hacking). ...
... Relatedly, Whitson and Galinsky (2008) observed that inducing a lack of control increased the participants' perception of illusory patterns, conspiracies, and superstitions via the motivational basis of a need for structure. This was measured with the Personal Need for Structure scale (PNFS; Thompson et al., 1992Thompson et al., , 1989), asking people for example to which extent "It upsets me to go into a situation without knowing what I can expect from it". ...
... The original Snowy Pictures Task (SPT) contains twenty-four images of objects partially hidden by static noise (Ekstrom et al., 1976). The modified SPT (Whitson & Galinsky, 2008) is made of twelve images containing an object and twelve images whose object has been removed using digital media software. Participants are asked to detect and write down the hidden object in each image if they see one, or to write down 'nothing' if they consider that nothing is hidden nor detectable. ...
Article
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Abstract: Perception of randomness, patterns in visual noise, and coincidences have been associated with propensity to endorse paranormal and conspiracist beliefs. There is, however, controversial evidence about the relationships and related explanatory paths. Whereas some studies report a strong association between pattern and randomness perception, and conspiracy theory beliefs, others note only a weak association or none at all. And while paranormal beliefs have been associated with randomness perception and are routinely correlated with conspiracy theory endorsement, the exact relationships, and differences of both types of belief remain elusive. The present research sought to resolve these issues by assessing the predictive power of several factors in competition, such as pattern, randomness, and coincidence perception, using different paradigms in two studies including four samples of participants, as well as a meta-analysis of all findings, testing twelve hypotheses in the process. We find that belief in conspiracy theories was best predicted by coincidence perception, whereas paranormal beliefs were best predicted by illusory pattern perception. Our findings help clarifying the distinction between pattern, randomness and coincidence perception, which are often conflated in the literature on nonconventional beliefs and qualifies the widespread idea that believers in conspiracy theories tend to reject randomness.
... When people perceive loss of control in a disaster, they are motivated to regain a sense of control by using a range of strategies (Liu et al., 2021). For example, untrue information, such as superstitions and conspiracies, provides "knowledge" Fake news in COVID-19 pandemic that addresses their unanswered questions, reduces uncertainty and increases their perceived control (Keinan, 2002;Kim et al., 2020;Whitson and Galinsky, 2008;Zhou et al., 2021). During the pandemic, people were often sheltered at home with limited permission to leave the house to reduce disease transmission (Sibley et al., 2020). ...
... In line with this, our study found that people who perceive low levels of control reported high levels of trust regarding HOFN, regardless of regional pandemic severity. This finding is consistent with previous literature that lack of control usually leads to maladaptive behaviors (Brandão et al., 2018;Cheng et al., 2013) and trust in fake news (Keinan, 2002;Whitson and Galinsky, 2008). Since our research cannot distinguish trust in fake news from trust in general news, lack of perceived control may make people believe in any news regarding the pandemic they see, but this hypothesis will require further research to examine. ...
Article
Purpose Health-related online fake news (HOFN) has become a major social problem. HOFN can lead to the spread of ineffective and even harmful remedies. The study aims to understand Internet users' responses to HOFN during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic using the protective action decision model (PADM). Design/methodology/approach The authors collected pandemic severity data (regional number of confirmed cases) from government websites of the USA and China (Studies 1 and 2), search behavior from Google and Baidu search engines (Studies 1 and 2) and data regarding trust in two online fake news stories from two national surveys (Studies 2 and 3). All data were analyzed using a multi-level linear model. Findings The research detected negative time-lagged relationships between pandemic severity and regional HOFN search behavior by three actual fake news stories from the USA and China (Study 1). Importantly, trust in HOFN served as a mediator in the time-lagged relationship between pandemic severity and search behavior (Study 2). Additionally, the relationship between pandemic severity and trust in HOFN varied according to individuals' perceived control (Study 3). Originality/value The authors' results underscore the important role of PADM in understanding Internet users' trust in and search for HOFN. When people trust HOFN, they may seek more information to implement further protective actions. Importantly, it appears that trust in HOFN varies with environmental cues (regional pandemic severity) and with individuals' perceived control, providing insight into developing coping strategies during a pandemic.
... Existenzielle Motive. Ein Ergebnis der psychologischen Forschung ist, dass ein erlebter Kontrollverlust, als Bedrohung der eigenen Existenz, insbesondere den konkreten Verschwörungsglauben verstärken kann [10]. In Momenten, in denen Menschen nicht in der Lage sind, Kontrolle herzustellen, reagieren sie, indem sie beispielsweise auch dort Muster sehen, wo keine sind. ...
... Dennoch lässt sich die Frage, inwiefern der Glaube an Verschwörungen zugenommen hat, nur schwer abschließend beantworten. Aus vorangegangener Forschung zeigt sich, dass der erlebte Kontrollverlust ein Verstärker von Verschwörungserzählungen sein kann [10]. Gerade eine Pandemie kann genau solche Zustände hervorrufen. ...
Article
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the belief in conspiracy narratives within the population strongly influenced the implementation of containment measures and medical recommendations. Conspiracy narratives involve the belief that a group perceived as powerful would pursue secret plans to harm society, which distinguishes them from misinformation or disinformation. This paper presents findings from the research literature on the causes of conspiracy beliefs, their effects on individual health behaviors, and ways to counteract their spread.In situations where people have less capacity and motivation for deeper information processing, they form their opinions more heuristically, which increases vulnerability to cognitive biases. People become particularly susceptible to receiving misinformation or disinformation, which are frequently linked to the emotionalization of facts and simplistic responses. Belief in conspiracy narratives may become more easily established, with additional issues of personal identity and various psychological motives playing a role, among others. A general distrust of people who are perceived as “powerful,” such as representatives from science, medicine, and politics, can arise. Digital networks additionally contribute to the spread of conspiracy narratives.There are several ways that healthcare institutions can reduce the emergence and spread of misinformation, disinformation, and conspiracy narratives through their risk and crisis communications. The Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication Model (CERC) provides important approaches in this regard.
... Personal control refers to the belief that individuals can predict, affect, and steer both current events and events in the future (Kay et al., 2009). Human beings are fundamentally motivated to pursue and sustain personal control (Skinner, 1996), which has important influences on their psychological well-being and behavioral motivation (Obhi et al., 2012;Whitson & Galinsky, 2008). For example, personal control over daily hassles is a core variable that affects depression (Kanner & Feldman, 1991). ...
... fundamental human motivation is diverse, and the desire for personal control is one of the most basic innate psychological motivations (Skinner, 1996;Whitson & Galinsky, 2008). Our findings first empirically support the psychological benefits of bribery in guarding against threats to psychological personal control, but not necessarily because of environmental uncertainty, as previous researchers have argued . ...
Article
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The present research examined the effect of personal control on bribery intention and the mediating role of reciprocity beliefs in this relationship. In Study 1, we used questionnaires to investigate the correlational relationships among personal control, reciprocity beliefs, and bribery intention, and the results provided primary evidence for the mediated model. In Study 2, using a measurement-of-mediation design, we manipulated personal control to explore its effects on reciprocity beliefs and bribery intention. In Study 3, by adopting a moderation-of-process design, we examined whether increased levels of reciprocity beliefs weakened the relationship between personal control and bribery intention. Overall, these three studies showed that a decreased level of personal control resulted in stronger reciprocity beliefs, in turn promoting bribery intention. The results indicated that enhancing the sense of personal control and weakening reciprocal beliefs might be potential approaches to decrease bribery.
... In Study 4, we administered the CRT and AHS (24-item version; Choi et al., 2007) along with two new measures: a modified snowy pictures task (Whitson and Galinsky, 2008) and a profundity judgment task (Pennycook et al., 2015a). ...
... The modified snowy pictures task (MSPT; Whitson and Galinsky, 2008) was used to measure participants' ability to detect real patterns and avoid endorsing illusory patterns. Participants were presented with 24 pictures, 12 of which contained a difficult to perceive object and 12 of which contained only visual noise. ...
Article
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A consistent finding reported in the literature is that epistemically suspect beliefs (e.g., paranormal beliefs) are less frequently endorsed by individuals with a greater tendency to think analytically. However, these results have been observed predominantly in Western participants. In the present work, we explore various individual differences known to predict epistemically suspect beliefs across both Western and Eastern cultures. Across four studies with Japanese (n = 666) and Western (n = 650) individuals, we find that the association between thinking style and beliefs varied as a function of culture. Specifically, while Westerners who scored higher on measures of Type-2 analytic thinking tended to endorse epistemically suspect beliefs less, this association was not observed in Japanese samples, suggesting that the often-observed negative association between analytic thinking and epistemically suspect beliefs may be exclusive to Western individuals. Additionally, we demonstrate that a tendency to think holistically (specifically with regards to causality) is positively associated with the endorsement of epistemically suspect beliefs within both samples. Overall, we discuss how various individual differences predict the endorsement of epistemically suspect beliefs across cultures.
... Thus, belief in a single conspiracy theory is not in and of itself an indication of conspiracist ideation. Consistent with this idea, research suggests that a variety of situational factors can nudge people toward endorsing a given specific conspiracy theory, including a lack of control (Whitson & Galinsky, 2008), anxiety (Grzesiak-Feldman, 2013), and social identity threat (Mashuri & Zaduqisti, 2015). More generally, people seem to be drawn to believing conspiracy theories when they experience threats to existential (e.g., control, security), epistemic (e.g., understanding, accuracy), and social (e.g., self and group image) motives (see Douglas, Sutton, &Cichoka, 2017 andDouglas et al., 2019, for reviews). ...
... Previous research has suggested that situational threats can push people toward believing conspiracy theories (e.g., Whitson & Galinsky, 2008;see Douglas et al., 2017 and Douglas et al., 2019, for a review). Integrating this body of work with our findings suggests that situational threats to people's existential, epistemic, and social motives may have long-term effects on the degree to which people generally believe conspiracy theories, and may do so by driving people to engage with specific, real-world conspiracy theories. ...
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A primary focus of research on conspiracy theories has been understanding the psychological characteristics that predict people’s level of conspiracist ideation. However, the dynamics of conspiracist ideation—i.e., how such tendencies change over time—are not well understood. To help fill this gap in the literature, we used data from longitudinal studies conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. We find that greater belief in COVID-19 conspiracy theories at baseline predicts both greater endorsement of a novel real-world conspiracy theory involving voter fraud in the 2020 American Presidential election (Study 1) and increases in generic conspiracist beliefs over a period of several months (Studies 1 and 2). Thus, engaging with real-world conspiracy theories appears to act as a gateway, leading to more general increases in conspiracist ideation. Beyond enhancing our knowledge of conspiracist ideation, this work highlights the importance of fighting the spread of conspiracy theories.
... Experients in such circumstances may try to exert control; this unconscious process can result in their seeing or attributing patterns or agency where none exist. In other words, when individuals are unable to gain a sense of control (physical or psychological) objectively, they will often try to gain it perceptually (Lange & Houran, 2000;Whitson & Galinsky, 2008). Hungry people, for instance, are more likely to perceive food in ambiguous images (Levine, Chein, & Murphy, 1942), while children of lower economic status tend to overestimate the size of coins (Bruner & Goodman, 1947). ...
... That is, individuals who claim to live in a haunted location may perceive or interpret certain patterns that amount to a "ghost" in order to ease the uncertainly of ambiguous stimuli (psychological or physical) encountered there. This anxiety relieving process may typify what is happening in any purportedly haunted locale (Lange & Houran, 2001a;Whitson & Galinsky, 2008). For example, Houran's (1998, 1999) path analyses empirically modelled paranormal belief and experience in haunt-related contexts as fundamentally adaptive, non-pathological "delusion-like" ideations (for overviews, see Houran & Williams, 1998;Lange & Houran, 2001a). ...
Article
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Fieldwork studies of "haunted houses" can offer ecologically valid insights for model-building or theory-formation in consciousness studies from parapsychological and conventional perspectives. The interactionist hypothesis asserts that these anomalous episodes are a phenomenon rooted in environment-person bidirectional influences. Although prior research has examined the role of various physical factors in some haunt cases, relatively recent findings in environmental psychology suggest the potential involvement of six "Gestalt influences" that transcend discrete variables as conscious-or unconscious-stimulants of witness experiences. These meta-patterns in the psychology of spaces or settings involve: (i) affordance, (ii) atmosphere, (iii) ambiguity and threat anticipatory processes, (iv) immersion and presence, (v) legibility, and (vi) percipient memory and associations. Thus, haunted houses might be variants of "enchanted spaces or extraordinary architectural experiences." New research designs are thus recommended to scrutinise the presence and impact of Gestalt influences and enactive processes in parapsychological contexts.
... During the influence of the luck effect, illusion of control plays an important mediating role. The illusion of control triggered by the perception of luck causes people to believe that events will develop in their favor and feel that everything is under control, and this positive self-perception can provide a reasonable explanation for their choice of non-green consumption behavior (Broncano-Berrocal, 2015;Whitson & Galinsky, 2008). Moreover, the nature of luck is an external tool used to eliminate uncertainty. ...
... It has been shown that luck (e.g., lucky charms, lucky experiences) can help individuals alleviate negative feelings by providing them with resources for perceived control or adjust resources, and thus help individuals alleviate negative emotions (Rattet & Bursik, 2001). Whitson and Galinsky (2008) found that when people feel lack of control or have negative self-attribution, they will seek the help of luck. For example, they will establish an agency relationship with luck by knocking on wood or wearing lucky charms, and make their thoughts and decisions supported by supernatural forces, thus providing a rationalization for their behavioral decisions. ...
Article
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Luck, as a universal psychological phenomenon, has a unique impact on consumers’ decision-making behavior. Although studies have shown that luck affects people’s moral responsibility, few empirical studies have illustrated how luck affects consumers’ moral behavior from the domain of consumer behavior. Based on the supernatural agent theory of luck, the present study examined the influence of sense of luck on green consumption intention using three experiments. Experiment 1 scrutinized that relative to unlucky perception, participants with lucky perception can reduce green consumption intention. Experiment 2 tested the mediating role of illusion of control. Luck perception enhanced consumers' illusion of control, whereas the change in illusion of control influenced green consumption intention products. Experiment 3 showed the moderating role of narcissism in the effect of sense of luck on green consumption intention. For individuals with low levels of narcissism, luck perception, rather than misfortune perception, reduced consumers' green consumption intention; however, for highly narcissistic consumers, the effect of luck on green consumption intention was not significant.
... Hastalıkların kontrol altına alınması; hastalığın algılanma şekli, gösterilen tepkiler ve hastalığa uyum şekli ile ilişkilidir. Gösterilen tepkiler arasında yer alan kontrol duygusu; sağlığı tehdit eden durumlarla karşılaşıldığında; kişinin yaşamdaki birincil motivasyon gücünü oluşturan çevresel belirsizliğin üstesinden gelebileceği inancıdır (Whitson & Galinsky, 2008). Kontrol algısı düşük bireyler, belirsizlik karşısında daha fazla risk almaya meyillidirler (Whitson & Galinsky, 2008). ...
... Gösterilen tepkiler arasında yer alan kontrol duygusu; sağlığı tehdit eden durumlarla karşılaşıldığında; kişinin yaşamdaki birincil motivasyon gücünü oluşturan çevresel belirsizliğin üstesinden gelebileceği inancıdır (Whitson & Galinsky, 2008). Kontrol algısı düşük bireyler, belirsizlik karşısında daha fazla risk almaya meyillidirler (Whitson & Galinsky, 2008). Kontrol duygusu aynı zamanda uzun vadeli sağlık ve esenlik ile de bağlantılıdır (Zhu et al., 2020). ...
... It might be that low psychological well-being increases the likelihood of endorsement of conspiracy theories, as experimentally manipulating the COVID-19 threat leads to a greater belief in COVID-19 conspiracy theories, and this was mediated by increased feelings of fear and anxiety (Jutzi et al., 2020). Likewise, heightened anxiety (Grzesiak-Feldman, 2013) and the perception of lack of control (Whitson and Galinsky, 2008) has been associated with belief in general conspiracy theories. At the same time, belief in conspiracy theories themselves might also lead to lower psychological well-being, as being exposed to conspiracy theories led to feelings of powerlessness in political (Jolley and Douglas, 2014b) and health (Jolley and Douglas, 2014a) contexts, as well as to higher feelings of anomie (Jolley et al., 2019), which describes perceptions of alienation, the disorderliness of the (social) world and general dissatisfaction. ...
Article
Rationale Belief in COVID-19 conspiracy theories can have severe consequences; it is therefore crucial to understand this phenomenon, in its similarities with general conspiracy belief, but also in how it is context-dependent. Objective The aim of this systematic review is to provide a comprehensive overview of the available research on COVID-19 conspiracy beliefs and to synthesise this research to make it widely accessible. Methods We present a synthesis of COVID-19 conspiracy belief research from 85 international articles, identified and appraised through a systematic review, in line with contemporary protocols and guidelines for systematic reviews. Results We identify a number of potential antecedents of COVID-19 conspiracy beliefs (individual differences, personality traits, demographic variables, attitudes, thinking styles and biases, group identity, trust in authorities, and social media use), their consequences (protective behaviours, self-centred and misguided behaviours such as hoarding and pseudoscientific health practices, vaccination intentions, psychological wellbeing, and other negative social consequences such as discrimination and violence), and the effect sizes of their relations with the conspiracy beliefs. Conclusions We conclude that understanding both the potential antecedents and consequences of conspiracy beliefs and how they are context-dependent is highly important to tackle them, whether in the COVID-19 pandemic or future threats, such as that of climate change.
... First, perceived control, the degree to which an individual feels that he or she is in control of the external world and not restricted by the environment [21], can negatively predict the need for structure. Research has shown that the lower an individual's perceived control, the higher their need for structure [22]. Compensatory control theory provides an explanation for this effect: According to the theory [6,11], feeling a sense of control is a basic human need and provides an important guarantee for people to feel that the world and their objective environment is safe and orderly. ...
Article
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The COVID-19 pandemic is profoundly affecting the minds and behaviors of people worldwide. This study investigated the differences in the need for structure among people from different social classes and the psychological mechanisms underlying this need, as well as the moderating effect of the threat posed by the pandemic. Using data collected from non-student adults in China, we found that the lower an individual’s social class, the lower their need for structure, and this effect was based on the mediating role of perceived control. However, the mediating effect was moderated by pandemic threat, and the above relationship existed only when this threat was low. When the level of pandemic threat was higher, neither the effect of social class nor of perceived control on the need for structure were significant. Specifically, in higher-threat situations, the need for structure among individuals from higher social classes and who had a higher sense of control increased significantly, meaning the mediating effect was no longer significant. This finding showed that under the threat of a pandemic, individuals who have a lower need for structure will still pursue and prefer structure and order. The theoretical and practical implications of the research are also discussed.
... In threatening situations people try to restore their sense of control and meaning to reduce anxiety, by several mechanisms, such as quick cognitive closure (Heine et al., 2006) or compensatory control (Brotherton, 2015). Several studies showed that strengthening people's sense of control reduced beliefs in conspiracy theories (van Prooijen and Acker, 2015), while the threats to personal control and feelings of powerlessness increased the perception of patterns in random stimuli (Whitson and Galinsky, 2008), higher endorsement of popular specific conspiracy theories (Abalakina-Paap et al., 1999;van Prooijen and Acker, 2015), and higher generic conspiracy mentality (Bruder et al., 2013; but see Stojanov and Halberstadt, 2020). Associations between anxiety, lack of control and higher endorsement of conspiracy theories about COVID-19 was confirmed also by recent studies from the pandemic period (Biddlestone et al., 2020;Kim and Kim, 2021;Oleksy et al., 2021;Sallam et al., 2021;Šrol et al., 2021). ...
Article
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One of the appeals of conspiracy theories in times of crises is that they provide someone to blame for what has happened. Thereby, they increase distrust, negative feelings, and hostility toward implicated actors, whether those are powerful social outgroups or one’s own government representatives. Two studies reported here examine associations of COVID-19 conspiracy theories with prejudice, support for violence, and other and negative social outcomes. In Study 1 ( N = 501), the endorsement of the more specific conspiracy theories about the alleged role of China was associated with more prejudiced views of Chinese and Italian people. In Study 2 ( N = 1024), lowered trust in government regulations and increased hostility associated with the COVID-19 and generic conspiracy beliefs were correlated with justification of and willingness to engage in non-compliance with regulations, violent attacks on 5G masts, and anti-government protests. Across both of the studies, higher exposure to news about COVID-19 was associated with lower endorsement of conspiracy theories, but also with increased feelings of anxiety and lack of control, which in turn were correlated with higher COVID-19 conspiracy beliefs endorsement. We highlight the potential social problems which are associated with the wide-spread endorsement of COVID-19 conspiracy theories.
... They are more likely to emerge in societal crises (van Prooijen & Douglas, 2017) and in anxiety-inducing situations: Participants who were waiting for an examination indicated heightened conspiracy beliefs (Grzesiak-Feldman, 2013) and participants who received an anxiety prime were more likely to suspect a conspiracy behind a fictional ambiguous scenario (Radnitz & Underwood, 2017). Finally, participants who experienced a lack of control, which likely induced anxiety, were more likely to perceive conspiracies behind unrelated stimuli (Whitson & Galinsky, 2008). ...
Article
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Research suggests that conspiracy beliefs are adopted because they promise to reduce anxiety, uncertainty, and threat. However, little research has investigated whether conspiracy beliefs actually fulfill these promises. We conducted two longitudinal studies ( N Study 1 = 405, N Study 2 = 1,012) to examine how conspiracy beliefs result from, and in turn influence, anxiety, uncertainty aversion, and existential threat. Random intercept cross-lagged panel analyses indicate that people who were, on average, more anxious, uncertainty averse, and existentially threatened held stronger conspiracy beliefs. Increases in conspiracy beliefs were either unrelated to changes in anxiety, uncertainty aversion, and existential threat (Study 2), or even predicted increases in these variables (Study 1). In both studies, increases in conspiracy beliefs predicted subsequent increases in conspiracy beliefs, suggesting a self-reinforcing circle. We conclude that conspiracy beliefs likely do not have beneficial consequences, but may even reinforce the negative experience of anxiety, uncertainty aversion, and existential threat.
... Extant research suggests that the perception of control is an essential part of life; it is important for self-esteem (Friedland, Keinan, and Regev 1992), increases the motivation to work hard (Chapman and Turner 1986), and provides a pleasant feeling (Rothbaum, Weize, and Snyder 1982). Meanwhile, a lack of control leads to poor motivation and "learned helplessness" in education contexts (Koller and Kaplan 1978); it increases anxiety (Mineka and Kelly 1989;Watson 1967) and fear (Whalen 1998;Whitson and Galinsky 2008), which, in turn, significantly affect the perceived risk associated with the object under consideration (Klein and Kunda 1994;Nordfjaern, Jørgensen, and Rundmo 2012;Nordgren, Van der Pligt, and Van Harreveld 2007;Weinstein 1984). ...
Article
Self-driving cars are undergoing extensive road tests and should enter the market within the decade, but consumers continue to worry about the safety of autonomous vehicles—even though most traffic accidents are caused by human errors that are avoidable with automation technology. Four experiments investigated how a vehicle’s automation level affects its perceived safety, why excessive safety concerns prevail, and how they can be mitigated. In all experiments, participants read descriptions of full-automation (Level 5) and high-automation (Level 4) self-driving cars: Participants consistently perceived Level 5 (vs. Level 4) vehicles as less safe. The effect persisted when objective safety information was available. A mediation analysis and a mediation-by-moderation approach suggest that the negative effect of the automation level on perceived safety is driven by the perceived lack of control over driving. Finally, the effect disappeared when participants imagined themselves as passengers rather than drivers, offering a practical implication for managers.
... Based on previous research, a series of psychological, socio-demographic, and situational factors seem to predict conspiracy belief (Douglas et al. 2019). From a psychological perspective, belief in conspiracy theories appears to be rooted in negative emotions, such as anxiety (Grzesiak-Feldman 2013), uncertainty (van Prooijen & Jostmann 2013), stress (Swami et al. 2016), feelings of powerlessness (Jolley & Douglas 2014a;van Prooijen 2017), and lack of control (Whitson & Galinsky 2008;Douglas, Sutton & Cichocka 2017), especially for people with an external locus of control (Hamsher, Geller & Rotter 1968). Through the simplified explanations they provide for a distressing event or threat, conspiracy theories offer people a mechanism to make sense of these events, to overcome their negative emotions, and regain a lost sense of order and control under conditions of uncertainty and fear (Hofstadter 1966;Robins & Post 1997;Kruglanski et al. 2006). ...
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This article explores factors that affect the strength of beliefs in COVID-19 conspiracy theories drawing on data collected in an online survey of undergraduate and graduate students from Romanian universities. The results indicate that students with lower socio-economic status, lower levels of news consumption in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, who rely primarily on information from television and discussions to their peers, as well as those with lower levels of education/analytical skills are more susceptible to endorsing conspiracy theories regarding the origin and the nature of COVID-19. Education, analytical skills, and exposure to high quality media information appear to equip students with the necessary tools to critically assess COVID-19-related conspiracies. Given the link between conspiracy belief and health behaviors in the context of the pandemic, these results point to the importance of analytical skills and media regulation for curbing misinformation in societal contexts of heightened uncertainty, confusion, and existential threat.
... In un gioco di specchi, l'altro diventa un modo -mondo che parla anche di noi: del nostro modo di pensare la costruzione della città, la costruzione degli indicatori di "felicità economica" di un paese, come degli indicatori di qualità di un servizio, e della loro "parte" nella costruzione dei problemi che poi decidiamo di affrontare. La ricerca ci aiuta ad esempio ad evidenziare come sentimenti di mancanza di controllo (Whitson & Galinsky, 2008;van Prooijen & Acker, 2015), di impotenza (Abalakina-Paap et al., 1999), incertezza (Bale, 2007;van Prooijen, 2016;van Prooijen & Jostmann, 2013) e alienazione (Abalakina-Paap et al., 1999;Goertzel, 1994), particolarmente acuti durante periodi di avversità, legati ad esempio a condizioni climatiche estreme o carestie (Hogg, 2007), abbiano da sempre fatto da sfondo al fiorire di conflitti inter-gruppo e teorie complottiste. Seguendo Douglas e colleghi (2017), esse aiutano a soddisfare motivi epistemici (comprendere il proprio ambiente), esistenziali (sentirsi al sicuro), e sociali (mantenere un'immagine positiva di sé e del proprio ingroup). ...
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Identifico l'oggetto di analisi della psicologia clinica nei modi di interpretare la convivenza, agiti dagli individui, dai gruppi sociali, dalle istituzioni, dagli esperti. I modi di interpretare strutturano la nostra osservazione e comprensione dei problemi, così come il modo di affrontarli e di rispondervi. In questo scritto, analizzo il mito di un individuo che agisce, reagisce, si "ammala" nel vuoto sociale-un mito alimentato anche dalla ricerca e dalla prassi psicologico clinica-evidenziando le condizioni contestuali entro cui le risposte individuali maturano e la vulnerabilità sociale è costruita. In questa prospettiva, la distinzione tra livello individuale e sistemico di analisi e di intervento viene meno: il "sintomo" segnala una patologia della relazione e interroga sulle premesse, intersoggettivamente e culturalmente condivise, che la alimentano. Nello scenario odierno, caratterizzato da fenomenologie fortemente critiche per la convivenza (dal movimento no-vax ai localismi identitari segnati dal ribadimento della propria diversa ed esclusiva appartenenza religiosa, etnica, ideologica, politica), sostenere le istituzioni nella comprensione del contesto (soggettivo, intersoggettivo, culturale, simbolico) in cui si opera e del rapporto intrattenuto con l'Altro da sé è una possibile funzione che la psicologia clinica può perseguire e mettere al servizio della convivenza e del suo sviluppo. Parole chiave: convivenza, domanda di senso, dispositivi semiotici, alterità * Professore associato di Psicologia Clinica presso l'Università del Salento. Venuleo, C. (2021). Con-testi di vulnerabilità e domanda di senso. Riflessioni sulle sfide sociali della psicologia clinica. Rivista di Psicologia Clinica, 16(2), 76-88.
... There is extensive theoretical and empirical research suggesting that having control over surrounding circumstances is a basic need for humans' healthy development and psychological well-being (Fiske and Dépret, 1996;Deci and Ryan, 2012;Landau et al., 2015). Personal control sense is so important that when people perceive a loss of control over their environment, they try their best to reinstate the control sense by various of methods, such as paying more attention to external circumstances (Kraus et al., 2009), seeking illusory correlations among a series of irrelevant events (Whitson and Galinsky, 2008), and even buying utilitarian products (Chen et al., 2017). Previous research suggested that if a private kindergarten teacher held negative occupation stereotypes that being a private kindergarten teacher is less steady and promising than being a public kindergarten teacher, he/she would perceive lower control sense over surrounding environments (Yang et al., unpublished, see text footnote 1). ...
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In China-Mainland, the turnover rate of private kindergarten teachers remains high for a long time. With 692 Chinese private kindergarten teachers as subjects, we applied a questionnaire survey to examine the relationship between self-occupation stereotypes held by private kindergarten teachers and their turnover intention and the underlying mechanisms. The structured equation model (SCM) was conducted to analyze data and revealed a significantly positive correlation between self-occupation stereotypes and turnover intention. Further analyses showed that on the individual level, personal control sense mediated the relationship between self-occupation stereotypes and turnover intention, and on the organization level, professional identity mediated the relationship between them. Additionally, self-occupation stereotypes were also related to turnover intention via the chain-mediating role of personal control sense and professional identity. The current research firstly clarified the acting paths between self-occupation stereotypes of private kindergarten teachers and turnover intention on both the individual and the organization levels. In practice, the research provided a novel perspective for policy makers to alleviate the turnover tendency of private kindergarten teachers.
... For example, studies have found that people with a high need for cognitive closure report stronger conspiracy beliefs when the official account of an incident is lacking (e.g., Marchlewska et al., 2018). Other studies have revealed that conspiracy beliefs are related to a higher tendency to perceive patterns and agency that do not exist (e.g., Douglas et al., 2016;Whitson & Galinsky, 2008). ...
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Understanding why people believe conspiracy theories related to disease outbreaks and the consequences of such beliefs is critical for combating both the COVID-19 pandemic and its corresponding “infodemic.” In the introduction to this special issue on conspiracy theories about infectious diseases, the authors first provide a brief overview of the narratives of conspiracy theories related to COVID-19, followed by a review of extant theoretical frameworks regarding the psychology of conspiracy beliefs. Specifically, they discuss how epistemic, existential, and social needs contribute to the holding of conspiracy beliefs. Then, the authors summarize the major findings from the nine empirical articles featured in this issue, particularly how they shed light on the antecedents and consequences of disease-related conspiracy beliefs. They conclude by discussing future directions for the study of disease-related conspiracy beliefs.
... Second, the studies reported here make assumptions only about the underlying sense-making processes, which can be defined as cognitive attempts to establish straightforward, meaningful, and causal relationships between stimuli (van Prooijen, 2020). In this process, there are several more specific psychological mechanisms involved, including agency detection (Barrett, 2004(Barrett, , 2007Douglas et al., 2016;Johnson & Barrett, 2003) and pattern perception Whitson & Galinsky, 2008;Zhao et al., 2014). Finally, there are some cultural and political factors that have not been fully considered in this article. ...
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During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have endorsed conspiracy theories about foreign governments yet shown increased trust and support for their own government. Whether there is a potential correlation between these social phenomena and the psychological mechanisms behind them is still unclear. Integrating insights from the existential threat model of conspiracy theories and system justification theory, two experimental studies were conducted to investigate whether belief in out-group conspiracy theories can play a mediating role in the effects of system threat on people's system justification beliefs against the background of the pandemic. The results show that system threat positively predicts individuals’ system-justifying belief, and belief in out-group conspiracy theories mediated this relationship.
... Consistent with the personal control literature, we examine situations where either the actual or perceived level of control is altered (Pittman and Pittman 1979;Whitson and Galinsky 2008). However, we propose any effects we observe will be driven by perceptions of control, as the personal control literature consistently finds that the actual control in a situation has little impact unless it is acknowledged and perceived (Averill 1973;Burger 1989;Skinner 1996). ...
Article
Solicitation of time and money donations are central to the success of nonprofit organizations like charities and political groups. Although nonprofits tend to prefer money, experimental and field data demonstrate that donors prefer to donate time, even when doing so does less good for the cause. However, despite the importance of this asymmetry, little is known about its psychological underpinnings. In the current investigation, we identify a previously unexplored difference between time and money, which we argue can explain the preference to donate time over money. Specifically, we propose that potential donors feel more personal control over their time (vs. money) donations, leading to greater interest in donating and donation amount. We test this framework across seven studies using incentive-compatible and hypothetical behaviors, utilizing both mediation and moderation approaches. Our results show that when donors’ sense of control is threatened, donations of time might be used as a compensatory strategy, and that simple linguistic interventions can increase perceived control and donations for money, which we find to typically lag behind time. We conclude by discussing implications of these results for marketing theory and practice.
... The epistemic function is another shared feature of both concepts by presenting stories about causal relationships (Wood & Douglas, 2018) as cross-cultural phenomena to reduce uncertainty (Barber, 2011;van Prooijen & Douglas, 2017). Sense-making processes and the detection of patterns and agencies have been linked to (predominantly Christian) religiosity (Inzlicht et al., 2011;van Elk et al., 2016) and the endorsement of CTs (Douglas et al., 2016;Marchlewska et al., 2018;van Prooijen et al., 2018), partly depending on contexts like experiencing uncertainty or lacking control (Andersen, 2019;Whitson & Galinsky, 2008). ...
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Religious and conspiracy beliefs share the feature of assuming powerful forces that determine the fate of the world. Correspondingly, they have been theorized to address similar psychological needs and be based on similar cognitions, but there exist little authoritative answers about their relationship. We delineate two theory-driven possibilities. If conspiracy theories and religions serve as surrogates for each other by fulfilling similar needs, the two beliefs should be negatively correlated. If conspiracy and religious beliefs stem from the same values and cognitions, this would speak for a positive correlation that might be diminished—for example—by controlling for shared political ideologies. We approached the question with a meta-analysis (N = 10,242), partial correlations from large Christian-dominated datasets from Germany, Poland, and the USA (N = 12,612), and a preregistered US-study (N = 500). The results indicate that the correlations between religiosity and conspiracy theory endorsement were positive and political orientation shared large parts of this covariance. Correlations of religiosity with the more need-related conspiracy mentality differed between countries. We conclude that similarities in the explanatory style and ideologies seem to be central for the relation between intrinsic religiosity and endorsing conspiracy theories, but psychological needs only play a minor role.
... This highlights the importance of misinformation on COVID-19 vaccines on some individuals who are emotionally attached to their beliefs and not prone to abandon them despite contradictory personal experiences. The pre-pandemic evidence shows that this may mainly concern those with anxiety traits, perceiving that society is under threat and that the situation lacks control [38][39][40]. As also found, unvaccinated healthcare workers hospitalized due to COVID-19 regretted their decision not to vaccinate less often, and 26.1% were unwilling to promote vaccination despite their experience with severe COVID-19. ...
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The COVID-19 vaccination has been the subject of unprecedented misinformation, false news, and public concerns. This study presents a unique analysis comprising persons who were not vaccinated and became ill. It investigates reasons for not vaccinating and evaluates how the personal experience of COVID-19 affected further attitudes and decisions related to health. The study included 730 consecutive unvaccinated patients hospitalized in 12 centers in Poland during the autumn 2021 pandemic wave. The most frequent reason behind the refusal to receive the vaccine was concern over the adverse effects, disbelief that the vaccine was sufficiently tested, and one’s conviction that COVID-19 will not affect a patient. Online information, friends, spouse, children/grandchildren, and other family members were most often the source of discouragement from vaccination. Most individuals regretted their decision not to receive a vaccine (66.0%), declared to promote COVID-19 vaccination after discharge (64.0%), and to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in the time recommended for convalescents (69.5%). Individuals expressing no regrets of vaccine refusal more frequently revealed conspiracy beliefs. The study shows that personal experience with severe COVID-19 can influence the perception of vaccination, but approximately one-third of unvaccinated hospitalized patients still appear to express vaccine hesitancy.
... Therefore, we propose that negative emotions are often accompanied by a lack of control, which arouses an individual's need for control and corresponding action to restore it. Though previous studies have found many methods that can help people restore personal control (Whitson and Galinsky, 2008;Hamerman and Johar, 2013;Faraji-Rad et al., 2017), as we elaborated above section, ritualistic consumption can also serve as an effective measure to restore a sense of control. Accordingly, we propose the following hypothesis: ...
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Ritualistic consumption refers to integrating ritual elements into the process of product design and usage. By conducting three studies, we find that ritualistic consumption can offer new and interesting experiences and help consumers gain a sense of control. Both positive and negative emotions can promote ritualistic consumption tendencies. However, their underlying psychological mechanisms are different. Specifically, positive emotion can arouse consumers’ desire for interesting experience and thus promotes their preference for ritualistic consumption, while negative emotion can arouse consumers’ need for control and thus promote their preference for ritualistic consumption. Our research results offer a theoretical contribution and practical inspiration for emotional marketing.
... People with a pronounced conspiracy mentality show higher levels of distrust in democracy and are more likely to support violence as a means to achieve political interests (Pickel et al., 2020). A high sense of uncertainty and the feeling of having no control over the current situation are particularly important drivers of belief in conspiracy narratives (Whitson and Galinsky, 2008). To deal with this perceived loss of control, people turn to conspiracy narratives that offer simple explanations for complex, threatening developments (Imhoff and Lamberty, 2020). ...
Article
Societal crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, produce societal instability and create a fertile ground for radicalization. Extremists exploit such crises by distributing disinformation to amplify uncertainty and distrust among the public. Based on these developments, this study presents a longitudinal analysis of far-right communication on fringe platforms, demonstrating radicalization dynamics. Public Telegram communication of three movements active in Germany (QAnon, Identitarian Movement, Querdenken) was analyzed through a quantitative content analysis of 4500 messages posted to nine channels between March 2020 and February 2021. We study the movements' discourse using several indicators of radicalization dynamics. The increasing prevalence of conspiracy narratives, anti-elitism, political activism, and support for violence indicate radicalization dynamics in these movements’ online communication. However, these dynamics varied within the movements. It can be concluded that, when studying radicalization dynamics online, it is crucial to not just focus on one single indicator, but consider longitudinal changes across several indicators, ideally comparing different movements.
... Further, they are often viewed as Machiavellian, corrupt, surreptitious, and hypocritical (Biddlestone et al., 2021), making their behavior easier to condemn because it is not merely their ends that are problematic, but also the means. Ultimately, leaders can use this form of outward attack to reinforce the belief that their followers are virtuous and functionally led Whitson & Galinsky, 2008; however, see Stojanov & Halberstadt, 2020). ...
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Although many virtuous leaders are guided by the ideal of prioritizing the needs and welfare of their subordinates, others advance their self-interest at the expense of the people they purport to serve. In this article, we discuss conspiracy theories as a tool that leaders use to advance their personal interests. We propose that leaders spread conspiracy theories in service of four primary goals: 1) to attack opponents; 2) to increase support from their ingroup members; 3) to shift blame and responsibility; and 4) to undermine institution that threaten their power. We argue that authoritarian, populist, and conservative leaders are most likely to spread conspiracy theories during periods of instability.
... We term this social cognitive structure-discordant knowing-felt knowledge or certainty about something that one perceives as opposed by the majority of other people, for instance, in terms of being judged as unknowable or inaccurate. Potentially, people adopt this isolating epistemic structure in an effort to satiate desires for certainty, control, and uniqueness (e.g., Gollwitzer & Oettingen, 2019;Hofstede, 1991;Imhoff & Lamberty, 2017;Kruglanski & Orehek, 2012;Webster & Kruglanski, 1994;Whitson & Galinsky, 2008). ...
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Examining the epistemic and social-cognitive structures underlying fanaticism, radicalization, and extremism should shed light on how these harmful phenomena develop and can be prevented. In nine studies (N = 3,277), we examined whether discordant knowing-felt knowledge about something that one perceives as opposed by most others-underlies fanaticism. Across multifaceted approaches, experimentally manipulating participants' views to fall under this framework (e.g., "I am certain about X, but most other people think X is unknowable or wrong") heightened indicators of fanaticism, including aggression, determined ignorance, and wanting to join extreme groups in the service of these views. Additional analyses found that this effect occurs via threat-based mechanisms (Studies 1-7), can be intervened on to prevent fanaticism (Study 2), is conditional on the potency of opposition (Study 3), differs from effects on extremism (Study 4), and extends to mental representations of the self (Study 5). Generalizing these findings to real-world contexts, inducing participants with discordant knowledge about the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election and the morality of abortion heightened fanaticism regarding these topics (Studies 6 and 7). Additionally, antivaccine fanatics and followers of a real-world fanatical religious group exhibited greater discordant knowing than nonfanatical individuals (Studies 8 and 9). Collectively, the present studies suggest that a specific epistemic structure-discordant knowing-underlies fanaticism, and further, highlight the potential of investigating constructs like fanaticism from an epistemic social cognitive perspective. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
... Accordingly, three types of motivations underlie adherence to conspiracist beliefs, namely, (a) epistemic, (b) existential (the need to feel safe and in control), and (c) social (the need to belong with a group, see Douglas et al., 2017 for an overview). Empirical findings support this classification because adherence to unfounded beliefs is positively associated with uncertainty reduction (Marchlewska et al., 2018), loss of control (Whitson & Galinsky, 2008), death anxiety (Newheiser et al., 2011), and social exclusion threats (Graeupner & Coman, 2017). ...
Article
The prevalence of unfounded beliefs (e.g. supernatural or conspiracy beliefs) remains an important issue due to their negative consequences in various domains. Interventions were shown to reduce supernatural beliefs only when addressing pseudoscientific ones. Based on these findings, we designed a single session intervention aiming to teach participants the epistemological distinction between science and pseudoscience. We then assessed the effectiveness of this intervention. Secondary school teachers (N = 130) were assigned to one of two groups focusing on critical thinking with or without the intervention content related to pseudoscience. Supernatural beliefs, conspiracy mentality and pattern perception were measured using computerized surveys pre‐ and one moth post‐intervention. Mixed‐model analyses revealed the expected decrease in conspiracy mentality, d = .60, supernatural beliefs, d = 1.01 and illusory pattern perception, d = .34 among teachers in the pseudoscience‐focused group. Our intervention constitutes a novel cost‐effective tool for critical thinking promotion among education professionals. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... Consistent with these claims, religious specialists in non-industrial societies are called upon to heal disease and illness, and perform rituals to mitigate natural disasters (Winkelman, 1986). These explanations predict that religious specialists are more likely to arise in existentially threatening and unpredictable environments (Rossano, 2007;Singh, 2017), and are consistent with the claim that religions function to reduce stress, uncertainty and anxiety (Norris & Inglehart, 2011;Whitson & Galinsky, 2008). ...
Article
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Professional religious specialists centralised religious authority in early human societies and represented some of the earliest instances of formalised social leadership. These individuals played a central role in the emergence of organised religion and transitions to more stratified human societies. Evolutionary theories highlight a range of environmental, economic and social factors that are potentially causally related to the emergence of professional religious specialists in human history. There remains little consensus over the relative importance of these factors and whether professional religious specialists were the outcome or driver of increased socio-cultural complexity. We built a global dataset of hunter–gatherer societies and developed a novel method of exploratory phylogenetic path analysis. This enabled us to systematically identify the factors associated with the emergence of professional religious specialists and infer the directionality of causal dependencies. We find that environmental predictability, environmental richness, pathogen load, social leadership and food storage systems are all correlated with professional religious specialists. However, only food storage is directly related to the emergence of professional religious specialists. Our findings are most consistent with the claim that the early stages of organised religion were the outcome rather than driver of increased socio-economic complexity.
... Low levels of trust (Goertzel, 1994), perceived powerlessness (Abalakina-Paap et al., 1999;Pratt, 2003;Zarefsky, 1984), feelings of anomia and an associated lack of control (Goertzel, 1994;Whitson & Galinsky, 2008) Grada, 2006). By engaging in these mechanisms, extremist beliefs tend to be further reinforced (Hogg, Meehan, & Farqueharson, 2010). ...
Thesis
Progress within the field of radicalisation is evident. Yet while research increasingly adopts a quantitative approach to studying radicalisation processes, there is no sound empirical evidence base on the risk and protective factors for violent extremism and much research is not fit for practice. Day-to-day risk assessment and management of individuals deemed to be a potential risk to national security forms a core component of counter-terrorism. Each phase of counter-terrorism risk assessment and management requires state-of-the-art science for the identification of putative risk and protective factors, and to understand how such factors are functionally linked to violent extremism. This thesis provides a unique contribution to these research endeavours in several important ways. First, in order to explain why individuals radicalise, we have to turn our focus towards those risk factors and underlying mechanisms, which explain why and how certain individuals come to develop extremist propensities. Thus, this thesis’ main aim is to study risk and protective factors for the development of violent extremist propensities. Second, terrorism studies is over-reliant on secondary data. By conducting two unique large-scale nationally representative general population surveys, this thesis contributes towards establishing a robust empirical knowledge base. These are one of the first such surveys conducted within the field of violent extremism research. Third, radicalisation trajectories and engagement in violent extremism are characterised by complex constellations of risk as well as protective factors. Risk factors for one risk specification may not equally apply to others and the conditional and contextual nature of various factors need to be taken into consideration, which necessitates more complex analyses of patterns of relationships. This thesis draws on a range of structural equation models, conditional mediation models and interaction analyses, which allow for a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms and complex configurations of various risk and protective factors. The analytical designs embedded throughout this thesis are some of the first to test such interactions in an empirical manner. Fourth, this thesis uses an integrative framework which examines not just risk but also protective factors for violent extremism and draws on a wide range of validated theories from different disciplines to strengthen the explanation of relationships between factors. By utilising models with several risk/protective factors, this thesis overcomes some of the 'problem of specificity', as it delivers plausible answers as to why the vast majority of individuals, who are experiencing particular conditions or grievances do not develop violent extremist intentions. Such research designs may be able to identify those factors that can inform prevention and intervention programs. Fifth, radicalisation is a complex and multifaceted process with diverse pathways and outcomes to it. This inherent complexity renders radicalisation, as a construct, difficult to operationalise. A key part of conducting quantitative research is the development of adequate and validated instruments. Thus, by developing and validating psychometrically sound instruments, this thesis contributes towards rigorous quantitative research on violent extremism. This thesis addresses these issues through a number of novel research designs. First, I conduct a systematic review and synthesise the existing evidence on quantitative risk and protective factors for different radicalisation outcomes. However, several gaps as well as conceptual and methodological issues are identified, which are addressed in the following chapters. Second, I conduct a German nationally representative survey on violent extremism, and I apply structural equation modeling to employ a conceptually integrated approach to studying the individual and environmental-level determinants of differential vulnerability to extremism. The findings demonstrate the profound effect of person-environment reciprocity and, thereby, highlight key individual, developmental and social mechanisms involved in the development of extremist propensities. Increasingly, we are witnessing a seeming convergence between belief in conspiracy theories and ideological extremes. However, there is a dearth of empirical research on the relationship between conspiracy beliefs and violent extremism. Therefore, third, this thesis conducts a unique quantitative analysis on this relationship and the findings highlight the contingent effects of risk and protective factors, which are defined as ‘interactive’ or ‘buffering’ protective factors. This has major implications in regard to prevention strategies of ‘at-risk’ populations. Fourth, based on a large-scale UK nationally representative survey, I develop and validate a novel psychometric tool to measure individuals’ misogynistic attitudes. Fifth, recent incidents have demonstrated that misogynistic beliefs can lead to acts of mass violence. This thesis provides the first survey-based study on the relationship between misogyny and violent extremism by examining the underlying mechanisms and contingent effects linking misogyny to (extremist) violence. Collectively, the dissertation’s results demonstrate that multiple factors likely contribute to individual pathways into violent extremism. No single risk or protective factor exists that can explain its genesis. This has significant implications for practice and policy. Preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) programs must take account of the constellation of multiple factors that interact with (and sometimes enable or disable one another) rather than solely focusing upon single risk factors. These findings stress the need to implement evidenced based prevention and interventions programs, which have to address these risk factors early on, before they properly take hold and become so deeply ingrained that they are almost intractable. Therefore, increased focus of P/CVE interventions should be put on the indirect, long-term and life-course oriented protective factors.
... La perception de manque de contrôle est un état aversif et indésirable. Par conséquent, les personnes cherchent différentes stratégies de compensation pour restaurer leur perception de contrôle(Whitson & Galinsky, 2008). Une de ces stratégies de compensation est précisément de se lier à des sources externes telles que, par exemple, des leaders plus agentiques. ...
Thesis
Les stéréotypes de genre représentent l’un des principaux déterminants dans la perception du leadership des hommes et des femmes. Les stéréotypes des hommes ont été davantage associés à un leadership efficace que ceux des femmes. Par conséquent, les hommes sont généralement perçus comme plus légitimes et préparés pour occuper les rôles de leaders. Cependant, depuis quelques années, plusieurs arguments suggèrent que cette association est renversée. Actuellement, les stéréotypes des femmes seraient davantage associés à un leadership efficace, et cela les conférerait un avantage de leadership sur les hommes. Or, les propositions de l’avantage du leadership où certaines qualités stéréotypées seraient supérieures à d’autres vont à l’encontre des prémisses de base du leadership. Le leadership se déroule dans un contexte. Le contexte influence la portée, la validité et l’impact du leadership. Ainsi, les effets d’un type de leadership dans une situation ne se vérifieront pas forcément dans une autre. En effet, certains critiques ont proposé que les recherches devraient plutôt se focaliser sur les contextes où un éventuel avantage pourrait se vérifier. De ce fait, à travers cinq études, incluant quatre expérimentales, une corrélationnelle et la validation d’une échelle sur la perception de la crise, la présente thèse visait à déterminer si les différents types de crise pourraient constituer un avantage de leadership pour les hommes ou pour les femmes. Nous avons formulé l’hypothèse selon laquelle l’évaluation des leaders et du type de leadership dépendrait de leur congruence avec le contexte. Les résultats de nos études confirment partiellement nos hypothèses. Si dans la plupart des situations les traits agentiques et communaux ont été en effet évalués en congruence avec le type de crise, concernant les comportements, contrairement à ce que nous avons prédit, ceux considérés comme typiques des femmes (i.e., de considération) ont été davantage préférés dans toutes les situations. Cependant, indépendamment de leur préférence, l’efficacité des traits agentiques et communaux et des comportements de considération et de structure ont été médiatisés par les sentiments d’incertitude, d’injustice et de contrôle présents dans la crise. Dans la plupart des situations ils ont été perçus comme efficaces ou ont favorisé l’évaluation des leaders. Finalement, nos résultats montrent que si la réussite organisationnelle est davantage attribuée aux hommes, l’efficacité dans les situations de crises est également davantage attribuée aux hommes. Cependant, pour résoudre la crise, les hommes et les femmes n’ont pas été préférés de la même manière dans toutes les situations. Les femmes ont été davantage préférées que les hommes pour résoudre une crise relationnelle. Ces résultats sont discutés à la lumière des arguments de l’avantage du leadership et de l’impact du contexte sur le leadership. Nous argumentons que malgré l’impact évident du contexte sur le leadership, les femmes, à cause des injonctions imposés par les stéréotypes de genre, pourraient effectivement avoir un avantage de leadership sur les hommes.
... It might be that low psychological well-being increases the likelihood of endorsement of conspiracy theories, as experimentally manipulating the COVID-19 threat leads to a greater belief in COVID-19 conspiracy theories, and this was mediated by increased feelings of fear and anxiety (Jutzi et al., 2020). Likewise, heightened anxiety (Grzesiak-Feldman, 2013) and the perception of lack of control (Whitson & Galinsky, 2008) has been associated with belief in general conspiracy theories. At the same time, belief in conspiracy theories themselves might also lead to lower psychological well-being, as being exposed to conspiracy theories led to feelings of powerlessness in political (Jolley & Douglas, 2014b) and health (Jolley & Douglas, 2014a) contexts, as well as to higher feelings of anomie (Jolley et al., 2019), which describes perceptions of alienation, the disorderliness of the (social) world and general dissatisfaction. ...
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Background: The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic was followed by the widespread proliferation of conspiracy beliefs (CBs) regarding the origin and harmfulness of the virus and a high level of hesitancy and resistance to vaccination. We aimed to test a series of hypotheses on the correlates of CBs and vaccination. Methods: The sample (N=1203), was based on a multistage probabilistic household sampling designed to represent the general population of Serbia. We investigated correlates of CBs and vaccination, including socio-demographic factors, personality (HEXACO + Disintegration trait), somatic health, stressful experiences during pandemics (i.e. Covid-19 related and other threatening events), and psychological distress. The subjects were randomly split into two approximately equal subgroups, enabling cross-validation of the findings. Based on the significant regression predictors found in the exploratory, the SEM model was tested in the confirmatory subsample. Results: The SEM model based on the finding in the first subgroup had excellent Goodness-of-Fit indices. The most important correlates of CBs were Disintegration (proneness to psychotic-like experiences), low Openness, lower education, Extraversion, living in a smaller settlement, and being employed. The correlates of vaccination were older age, CBs, and larger places of living. Evidence on the role of both stressful experiences and psychological distress in CBs and vaccination was not found.Conclusions: The findings of moderately strong and robust (cross-validated) paths, leading from Disintegration to CBs and from CBs to vaccination were the most important ones. Our findings seem to emphasize the role of cognitive/perceptual processes in CBs and vaccination.
... The epistemic function is another shared feature of both concepts by presenting stories about causal relationships (Wood & Douglas, 2018) as cross-cultural phenomena to reduce uncertainty (Barber, 2011;van Prooijen & Douglas, 2017). Sense-making processes and the detection of patterns and agencies have been linked to (predominantly Christian) religiosity (van Elk et al., 2016;Inzlicht et al., 2011) and the endorsement of CTs (Douglas et al., 2016;Marchlewska et al., 2018;van Prooijen et al., 2018), partly depending on contexts like experiencing uncertainty or lacking control (Andersen, 2019;Whitson & Galinsky, 2008). ...
Article
Full-text available
Religious and conspiracy beliefs share the feature of assuming powerful forces that determine the fate of the world. Correspondingly, they have been theorized to address similar psychological needs and to be based on similar cognitions, but there exist little authoritative answers about their relationship. We delineate two theory‐driven possibilities. If conspiracy theories and religions serve as surrogates for each other by fulfilling similar needs, the two beliefs should be negatively correlated. If conspiracy and religious beliefs stem from the same values and cognitions, this would speak for a positive correlation that might be diminished—for example—by controlling for shared political ideologies. We approached the question with a meta‐analysis (N = 10,242), partial correlations from large Christian‐dominated datasets from Germany, Poland, and the United States (N = 12,612), and a preregistered U.S. study (N = 500). The results indicate that the correlations between religiosity and conspiracy theory endorsement were positive, and political orientation shared large parts of this covariance. Correlations of religiosity with the more need‐related conspiracy mentality differed between countries. We conclude that similarities in the explanatory style and ideologies seem to be central for the relation between intrinsic religiosity and endorsing conspiracy theories, but psychological needs only play a minor role.
Article
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Making accurate decisions based on unreliable sensory evidence requires cognitive inference. Dysfunction of n-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors impairs the integration of noisy input in theoretical models of neural circuits, but whether and how this synaptic alteration impairs human inference and confidence during uncertain decisions remains unknown. Here we use placebo-controlled infusions of ketamine to characterize the causal effect of human NMDA receptor hypofunction on cognitive inference and its neural correlates. At the behavioral level, ketamine triggers inference errors and elevated decision uncertainty. At the neural level, ketamine is associated with imbalanced coding of evidence and premature response preparation in electroencephalographic (EEG) activity. Through computational modeling of inference and confidence, we propose that this specific pattern of behavioral and neural impairments reflects an early commitment to inaccurate decisions, which aims at resolving the abnormal uncertainty generated by NMDA receptor hypofunction.
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В статье представлен обзор литературы, посвящённой конспирологическому мышлению. Хотя консенсус в отношении определения данного понятия отсутствует, исследователи, как правило, обращают внимания на следующие сходные аспекты: вера в секретные и тайные действия; наличие группы заинтересованных лиц, влияющих на мировые процессы или скрывающих информацию о чем-либо; ложный или неправдоподобный характер теорий заговора. Существуют два принципиально разных подхода для измерения конспирологического мышления: (1) с точки зрения согласия с рядом реальных теорий заговора; (2) в общих терминах, без ссылки на конкретные теории заговора. Каждый из них имеет серьёзные ограничения как специфические (например, произвольность выбора теорий заговора для первого подхода и отсутствие одномерности шкал — для второго), так и общие (сложность использования шкал в сравнительных международных исследованиях). В обзоре приведены примеры инструментария, соответствующего каждому из подходов. Факторы, влияющие на веру в теории заговора, могут быть разделены на психологические и социальные. Конспирологические убеждения более свойственны людям с высокой тревожностью, низкой самооценкой и менее развитыми аналитическими способностями. Кроме того, в теории заговора чаще верят люди с низким социальным статусом и уровнем образования, невысоким уровнем генерализированного и политического доверия, принадлежащие к краям идеологического спектра, а также потребляющие информацию из глянцевых журналов и социальных сетей. Роль возраста и религиозности менее однозначна.
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The present investigation sought to examine the differential effects of expected versus unexpected information on interpretive activity. It was predicted that expected information would involve an automatic mode of processing, while unexpected information would prompt a more controlled mode. More specifically, we examined the proposition that unexpected or inconsistent information would lead to attempts at generating explanations for the discrepancy, and that the resulting explanations would tend toward maintaining the original expectation. Subjects were exposed to a general description of an actor, and then received additional information consistent or inconsistent with that description; the strength of or confidence in the original expectation was also varied. The primary experimental task involved subjects retelling these stories. The data revealed that, relative to processing consistent information, subjects tended to provide explanations spontaneously for the unexpected events. These findings were discussed in terms of unexpected events producing greater observer involvement, which in turn increases the likelihood of interpretive activity.
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Tested the proposition that variations in experience with lack of control ought to cause variations in the tendency to engage in attribution processes. 158 university students were first given 1 of 3 levels of experience with lack of control (high, low, or no helplessness training); in a 2nd study, their utilization of information that had previously been shown to be sensitive to motivational variations was measured. Results indicate the expected effects on mood and performance: Low helplessness Ss were hostile and showed performance gains, and high helplessness Ss were depressed and showed performance deficits. However, the attributions of both low and high helplessness Ss were significantly more affected by variations in the description of a communicator than were the attributions of Ss who had not been given experience with lack of control. Findings are consistent with the general control motivation hypothesis. (39 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Based on Wortman and Brehm's integration of reactance theory with Seligman's model of learned helplessness, an investigation was conducted to examine the effects of amount of helplessness training and internal--external locus of control on subsequent task performance and on self-ratings of mood. Subjects were divided into "internal" and "external" groups and were then given either high, low, or no helplessness training on a series of concept-formation problems. After completing a mood checklist, all subjects worked on an anagram task presented as a second experiment by a second experimenter. The results revealed that internals exhibited greater performance decrements and reported greater depression under high helplessness than did externals. In the low helplessness conditions, internals tended to perform better than control subjects, while externals tended to perform worse than control subjects; low helplessness subjects also reported the highest levels of hostility. The results are discussed within the context of Wortman and Brehm's integration of reactance and learned helplessness theories.
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Reviews 17 publications (including some containing multiple studies) on spontaneous attribution activity. The paradigms include the coding of written material, recording of thoughts during or after task completion, and indirect inferences of attributional activity exhibited in other cognitive processes. There is unequivocal documentation of attributional activity, with unexpected events and nonattainment of a goal among the antecedent cues that elicit causal search. It is concluded that the topic under investigation, therefore, should not be the existence of attributional search, but rather the conditions under which it is most promoted. (35 ref)
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The provision of information before medical or surgical procedures should improve knowledge and allay anxiety about the pending procedure. This trial aimed to assess the value of an information video in this process. Patients scheduled to undergo colonoscopy were approached about 1 week before the procedure. All patients were given an information leaflet about colonoscopy, and completed a Spielberger state anxiety inventory (STAI) questionnaire to assess baseline anxiety. The patients were then randomly assigned to watch or not watch the information video. Immediately before colonoscopy, all patients completed a second anxiety questionnaire and a knowledge questionnaire. 198 patients were screened. 31 declined to participate and 17 were unable to complete the forms. Of the remaining 150 patients, 72 were assigned the video, and 78 no video. The groups were similar with regard to age, sex, educational attainment, and initial anxiety score. Female patients had higher baseline anxiety than male patients (mean STAI 46.3 [95% CI 44.9-47.7] vs 36.9 [35.5-38.3]; difference 9.4 [7.8-12.2], p=0.0008). Patients who had not had a previous colonoscopy had higher baseline anxiety scores than those who had prior experience of the procedure (46.9 [45.4-48.5] vs 36.3 [34.7-37.9]; difference 10.6 [7.5-13.8], p=0.0008). Patients who watched the video were significantly less anxious before colonoscopy than those who did not. The former also scored more highly in the knowledge questionnaire than the latter with regard to the purpose of the procedure, procedural details, and potential complications of colonoscopy. An information video increases knowledge and decreases anxiety in patients preparing for colonoscopy.
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The p53 tumor suppressor promotes apoptosis in response to DNA damage. Here we describe the Caenorhabditis elegans gene ced-13, which encodes a conserved BH3-only protein. We show that ced-13 mRNA accumulates following DNA damage, and that this accumulation is dependent on an intact C. elegans cep-1/p53 gene. We demonstrate that CED-13 protein physically interacts with the antiapoptotic Bcl-2-related protein CED-9. Furthermore, overexpression of ced-13 in somatic cells leads to the death of cells that normally survive, and this death requires the core apoptotic pathway of C. elegans. Recent studies have implicated two BH3-only proteins, Noxa and PUMA, in p53-induced apoptosis in mammals. Our studies suggest that in addition to the BH3-only protein EGL-1, CED-13 might also promote apoptosis in the C. elegans germ line in response to p53 activation. We propose that an evolutionarily conserved pathway exists in which p53 promotes cell death by inducing expression of two BH3-only genes.
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Conducted 2 experiments to examine whether the tendency to make more extreme attributions following control deprivation, observed by T. S. Pittman and N. L. Pittman (see record 1981-25822-001), stemmed from a motive to regain actual environmental control or to affirm an image of oneself as able to control (important outcomes). Study 1 varied control deprivation by exposing 78 undergraduates to either high-, low-, or no-helplessness training prior to measuring attributions. A 4th condition exposed Ss to low-helplessness training but allowed them to affirm a valued self-image (by completing a self-relevant value scale) just prior to the attribution measure. Replicating the findings of Pittman and Pittman, Ss made more extreme attributions and had worse moods in the high- and low-helplessness conditions than in the no-helplessness condition, but in the 4th condition the self-affirming value scale eliminated the effect of low-helplessness training on both attributions and mood. Study 2, using 32 undergraduates, showed that this effect occurred only when the value scale was central to Ss' self-concept. It is concluded that the motive for attributional analysis following control deprivation in this paradigm was to protect a positive self-image rather than to regain environmental control and that this motive can stimulate attributional analysis that is not related to the self or the provoking control threat and, thus, is not self-serving. (18 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Drawing from self-affirmation theory (C. M. Steele, 1988) and L. L. Martin and A. Tesser's (1989, 1996) theory of ruminative thinking, the authors hypothesized that people stop ruminating about a frustrated goal when they can affirm an important aspect of the self. In 3 experiments participants were given failure feedback on an alleged IQ test. Failure feedback led to increased rumination (i.e., accessibility of goal-related thoughts) compared with no-failure conditions (Studies 1 and 2). Rumination was reduced when participants could self-affirm after failure (Studies 1 and 2) or before failure (Study 3). In Study 3, self-affirmation led to increased positive affect on a disguised mood test and more positive name letter evaluations. Moreover, the obtained increase in positive affect mediated the effect of self-affumation on rumination. It is concluded that self-affirmation may be an effective way to stop ruminative thinking. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Tested the hypothesis that individuals engage in more thorough attributional processing for unexpected events than they do for expected events. 51 undergraduates observed the experimenter asking a confederate either a small or large favor. The small request led to an expectancy of compliance; the large request led to expectancy of refusal. The confederate then either did or did not comply with the request, thus either confirming or disconfirming Ss' expectancies. Ss were than allowed to look at any 5 of the confederates' responses to a 10-item questionnaire that the confederate had supposedly filled out earlier. Five of the items on the questionnaire were relevant to helping, and 5 were of general interest. As predicted, Ss chose more helping-relevant items when their expectancies had been disconfirmed. Implications for attributions for the behavior of stereotyped out-group members are discussed. (33 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Three experiments, with 60 undergraduates, examined what types of events instigate causal reasoning and what effects causal reasoning has on the subsequent use of information stored in memory. Ss were shown descriptions of behaviors performed by hypothetical characters, wrote brief continuations, and were given a surprise recall test on the behavior description phrases. Memory and use of explanatory content were assessed. Results indicate that unexpected events elicit causal reasoning and that causal reasoning produces relatively elaborate memory representations of these events so that they are more likely to be recalled. Findings are discussed in terms of the role of causal reasoning during acquisition, retention, and retrieval in social memory tasks. (41 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Individual differences in the desire for simple structure may influence how people understand, experience, and interact with their worlds. Studies 1 and 2 revealed that the Personal Need for Structure (PNS) scale (M. Thompson, M. Naccarato, and K. Parker, 1989) possesses sufficient reliability and convergent and discriminant validity. In Studies 3–5, Ss high in PNS were especially likely to organize social and nonsocial information in less complex ways, stereotype others, and complete their research requirements on time. These data suggest that people differ in their chronic desire for simple structure and that this difference can have important social–cognitive and behavioral implications. A consideration of chronic information-processing motives may facilitate the theoretical integration of social cognition, affect, motivation, and personality. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
At intervals of 1, 3, 6, and 9 hours after eating, 5 experimental subjects were tested in a situation wherein they were to identify a series of 80 ambiguous figures (40 chromatic and 40 achromatic) in order to determine if the number of identifications of the figures with food and food objects increased as the degree of hunger increased. Each subject was tested at least twice at each interval, whereas 5 control subjects were tested at intervals of from 45 minutes to 2½ hours after eating, each interval constant for a given subject. The number of food responses to the achromatic figures increased at 3 and 6 hours and then decreased, while for the chromatic figures the responses increased up to 3 hours and then decreased. An hypothesis is presented which "emphasizes the conflict between food-set and reality-set, the chromatic cards activating the reality-set more than the achromatic cards do." (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Tested the hypothesis that an experience that simply affirms a valued aspect of the self can eliminate dissonance and its accompanying cognitive changes. Three experiments were conducted using the conventional forced-compliance procedure. In Study 1, some of the 76 college student Ss were allowed to affirm an important, self-relevant value (by completing a self-relevant value scale) immediately after having written unrelated dissonant essays and prior to recording their attitudes on the postmeasure. Other Ss underwent an identical procedure but were selected so that the value affirmed by the scale was not part of their self-concept. The value scale eliminated dissonance-reducing attitude change among Ss for whom it was self-relevant but not among Ss for whom it was not self-relevant. This occurred even though the value scale could not resolve or reduce the objective importance of the dissonance-provoking inconsistency. Study 2, conducted with 24 Ss with a strong economic and political value orientation, showed that the self-affirmation effect was strong enough to prevent the reinstatement of dissonance. Study 3, testing generalizability with 24 Ss, replicated the effect by using a different attitude issue, a different value for affirmation, and a different measure of dissonance reduction. Results imply that a need for psychological consistency is not part of dissonance motivation and that salient, self-affirming cognitions may help objectify reactions to self-threatening information. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
ABSTRACT The hypothesis that people engage in attribution processes to obtain a sense of control was tested In each of three experiments, subjects identified on an individual difference measure as high in a general desire for control (DC) were found to engage in attnbution processes more than subjects low in desire for control In Experiment 1, high-DC subjects were more likely to utilize attributionally relevant information when describing the cause of a writer's behavior than were low-DC subjects High-DC subjects in Experiment 2 were more likely to ask attribution questions about hypothetical events than were low-DC subjects In Expenment 3, high-DC subjects gave more attributions for their performance on a test than did low-DC subjects The findings are interpreted as support for the control motivation explanation for why people engage in attribution processes
Article
Recent social psychological research on paranoid cognition has shown that when individuals are self-conscious or feel under evaluative scrutiny, they tend to overestimate the extent to which they are the target of others' attention. As a result, they make overly personalistic attributions about others' behavior. These personalistic attributions, in turn, foster a pattern of heightened distrust and suspicion regarding others' motives and intentions. Drawing on this research, the present work investigates antecedents and consequences of paranoid cognition in groups and organizations. Results of two studies are presented. Study 1 investigates how tenure in a group or organization affects individuals' self-consciousness and susceptibility to paranoid cognition. Study 2 replicates and extends the results of the first study using a new laboratory analog for studying paranoid cognition in small groups. Implications of the findings are discussed in terms of their contribution to theory regarding the origins and dynamics of collective distrust and suspicion.
Article
Past attributional studies have produced a consensus that negative and unexpected outcomes promote spontaneous causal search. Howwever, there is no theoretical reason to believe that outcome has an effect on spontaneous causal attribution independent of expectancy. Past studies thatfound the outcome effect all sufferfrom the methodological problems of (a) lack of spontaneity in elicited attributions and/or (b) improper manipulation. Experiment I (N = 44) introduced rigorous control of the two independent variables and showed that only expectancy has an independent effect on spontaneous causal thinking. Experiment 2 (N = 100) showed that, although expectancy is the only antecedent to spontaneous causal attribution, outcome does affect nonspontaneous causal search, giving a strong indication that the lack of spontaneity accounts for the outcome effect found in the past studies.
Article
The object of the study was to observe the changes in efficiency of perceptive activity of man (recognition of visual patterns against a background of noises) throughout an increase in emotional stress caused by a forthcoming parachuete jump. A moderate degree of emotional stress can improve performance efficiency and decrease the number of the subject's errors. Later an impairment of differentation of similar signals was seen and an increase in the number of "false alarm" errors along with a decrease in the number of omissions to reactions signals. The neurophysiological basis of such changes in perceptive activity consists in a transition from conditional behaviour to reaction through mechanisms of Ukhtomsky's dominant focus.
Article
Depressed and nondepressed college students received experience with solvable, unsolvable, or no discrimination problems. When later tested on a series of patterned anagrams, depressed groups performed worse than nondepressed groups, and unsolvable groups performed worse than solvable and control groups. As predicted by the learned helplessness model of depression, nondepressed subjects given unsolvable problems showed anagram deficits parallel to those found in naturally occurring depression. When depressed subjects attributed their failure to the difficulty of the problems rather than to their own incompetence, performance improved strikingly. So, failure in itself is apparently not sufficient to produce helplessness deficits in man, but failure that leads to a decreased belief in personal competence is sufficient.
Article
Many investigators have proposed that threat is a basic cause of authoritarianism. This perspective suggests the hypothesis that increased threat should evoke increased authoritarianism. To test this prediction, various archival data from 2 threatening historical periods (the 1930's and 1967-1970) and 2 nonthreatening periods (the 1920's and 1959-1964) were examined to determine whether authoritarianism did increase in response to threat. Data indicate that environmental threat was reliably associated with changed behavior in most areas of the "authoritarian syndrome." Results are consistent with the hypothesis that threat is a cause of authoritarianism and added validity to the concept of an authoritarian syndrome. (45 ref)
Article
Theories of motivation built upon primary drives cannot account for playful and exploratory behavior. The new motivational concept of "competence" is introduced indicating the biological significance of such behavior. It furthers the learning process of effective interaction with the environment. While the purpose is not known to animal or child, an intrinsic need to deal with the environment seems to exist and satisfaction ("the feeling of efficacy") is derived from it. (100 ref.) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).
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