Article

Endorsing Help For Others That You Oppose For Yourself: Mind Perception Alters the Perceived Effectiveness of Paternalism

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Abstract

How people choose to help each other can be just as important as how much people help. Help can come through relatively paternalistic or agentic aid. Paternalistic aid, such as banning certain foods to encourage weight loss or donating food to alleviate poverty, restricts recipients’ choices compared with agentic aid, such as providing calorie counts or donating cash. Nine experiments demonstrate that how people choose to help depends partly on their beliefs about the recipient’s mental capacities. People perceive paternalistic aid to be more effective for those who seem less mentally capable (Experiments 1 and 2), and people therefore give more paternalistically when others are described as relatively incompetent (Experiment 3). Because people tend to believe that they are more mentally capable than are others, people also believe that paternalistic aid will be more effective for others than for oneself, effectively treating other adults more like children (Experiments 4a–5b). Experiencing a personal mental shortcoming—overeating on Thanksgiving—therefore increased the perceived effectiveness of paternalism for oneself, such that participants thought paternalistic antiobesity policies would be more effective when surveyed the day after Thanksgiving than the day before (Experiment 6). A final experiment demonstrates that the link between perceived effectiveness of aid and mental capacity is bidirectional: Those receiving paternalistic aid were perceived as less mentally capable than those receiving relatively agentic aid (Experiment 7). Beliefs about how best to help someone in need are affected by subtle inferences about the mind of the person in need.

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... In helping decisions, one particular metric by which requesters are differentiated is their perceived neediness (Bar-Hillel & Yaari, 1993;Kienbaum & Wilkening, 2009;Paulus, 2014;Shah, 2009;Stahl, Tramontano, Swan, & Cohen, 2006;Ubel, 1999). 1 Helpers believe that needier individuals will value and use their help more (Dijker, Nelissen, & Stijnen, 2013), and neediness elicits sympathy and empathy, feelings that often incite help (Batson, 1987;Batson, Batson, Slingsby, Harrell, Peekna, & Todd, 1991). In this way, we predict that helpers might be willing to deviate from a more distributed allocation strategy to a more concentrated allocation strategy when one requester seems significantly needier than the others. 1 Other ways of differentiating requesters include how deserving (Appelbaum, 2002;Van Oorschot, 2006), attractive (Cryder, Botti, & Simonyan, 2017), or competent (Schroeder, Waytz, & Epley, 2017) they seem. ...
... More recent research has begun to explore how givers help, conditional on the initial decision to help. Beyond the present investigation of allocating help for multiple requesters, other research investigates the timing of help (short-term or long-term; Matsuba, Hart, & Atkins, 2007), what form of help to provide (paternalistic or agentic; Schroeder et al., 2017), and how people select among charitable organizations (Gneezy, Keenan, & Gneezy, 2014). A broader model could incorporate these predictors, addressing the shared and distinct mechanisms associated with helping individuals (Batson, 1987;Darley & Batson, 1973;Graziano et al., 2007) and helping groups (Andreoni, 2007;Duclos & Barasch, 2014;Galak et al., 2011;Smith, Faro, & Burson, 2013;Soyer & Hogarth, 2011), or even failing to help individuals and groups (Amir, Kogut, & Bereby-Meyer, 2016). ...
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Whether deciding how to distribute donations to online requesters or divide tutoring time among students, helpers must often determine how to allocate aid across multiple individuals in need. This paper investigates the psychology underlying helpers’ allocation strategies and tests preferences between two types of allocations: distribution (allocating help to multiple requesters) and concentration (allocating help to a single requester). Six main experiments and three follow-up experiments (n = 3,016) show a general preference for distributing help, because distribution feels procedurally fairer than concentration. We provide evidence for this preference in Experiment 1, test its psychological mechanisms (Experiments 2-3), and examine consequences for the amount of help provided (Experiments 4, 5a, and 5b). Experiment 3 demonstrates a boundary condition to the preference for distribution, showing that if one requester seems needier than others it can feel fairer to concentrate help to him or her. Next, testing real donation decisions in Experiments 4-5b, helpers distributed their donations across multiple requesters, which led them to donate more in aggregate when there were more requesters. Finally, the preference for distribution only resulted in more donations to a larger number of requesters when the donation decision was “unpacked,” that is, when donors made allocations for each requester separately (Experiments 5a and 5b). Understanding helpers’ allocation strategies provides insight into how people help others, how much they help, and why they help.
... In helping decisions, one particular metric by which requesters are differentiated is their perceived neediness (Bar-Hillel & Yaari, 1993;Kienbaum & Wilkening, 2009;Paulus, 2014;Shah, 2009;Stahl, Tramontano, Swan, & Cohen, 2006;Ubel, 1999). 1 Helpers believe that needier individuals will value and use their help more (Dijker, Nelissen, & Stijnen, 2013), and neediness elicits sympathy and empathy, feelings that often incite help (Batson, 1987;Batson, Batson, Slingsby, Harrell, Peekna, & Todd, 1991). In this way, we predict that helpers might be willing to deviate from a more distributed allocation strategy to a more concentrated allocation strategy when one requester seems significantly needier than the others. 1 Other ways of differentiating requesters include how deserving (Appelbaum, 2002;Van Oorschot, 2006), attractive (Cryder, Botti, & Simonyan, 2017), or competent (Schroeder, Waytz, & Epley, 2017) they seem. ...
... More recent research has begun to explore how givers help, conditional on the initial decision to help. Beyond the present investigation of allocating help for multiple requesters, other research investigates the timing of help (short-term or long-term; Matsuba, Hart, & Atkins, 2007), what form of help to provide (paternalistic or agentic; Schroeder et al., 2017), and how people select among charitable organizations (Gneezy, Keenan, & Gneezy, 2014). A broader model could incorporate these predictors, addressing the shared and distinct mechanisms associated with helping individuals (Batson, 1987;Darley & Batson, 1973;Graziano et al., 2007) and helping groups (Andreoni, 2007;Duclos & Barasch, 2014;Galak et al., 2011;Smith, Faro, & Burson, 2013;Soyer & Hogarth, 2011), or even failing to help individuals and groups (Amir, Kogut, & Bereby-Meyer, 2016). ...
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Whether deciding how to distribute donations to online requesters or divide tutoring time among students, helpers must often determine how to allocate aid across multiple individuals in need. This paper investigates the psychology underlying helpers’ allocation strategies and tests preferences between two types of allocations: distribution (allocating help to multiple requesters) and concentration (allocating help to a single requester). Six main experiments and three follow-up experiments (n = 3,016) show a general preference for distributing help, because distribution feels procedurally fairer than concentration. We provide evidence for this preference in Experiment 1, test its psychological mechanisms (Experiments 2-3), and examine consequences for the amount of help provided (Experiments 4, 5a, and 5b). Experiment 3 demonstrates a boundary condition to the preference for distribution, showing that if one requester seems needier than others it can feel fairer to concentrate help to him or her. Next, testing real donation decisions in Experiments 4-5b, helpers distributed their donations across multiple requesters, which led them to donate more in aggregate when there were more requesters. Finally, the preference for distribution only resulted in more donations to a larger number of requesters when the donation decision was “unpacked,” that is, when donors made allocations for each requester separately (Experiments 5a and 5b). Understanding helpers’ allocation strategies provides insight into how people help others, how much they help, and why they help.
... For instance, people think that other people are more biased than they are (Kruger & Gilovich, 1999;Pronin et al., 2002), more susceptible to persuasive tactics (Davison, 1983), more motivated by extrinsic vs. intrinsic incentives (Heath, 1999), more conformist , less human (Haslam et al., 2005), and less free (Helzer & Dunning, 2012;Pronin & Kugler, 2010). This idea that other people's minds are more likely to be biased and constrained, and generally less complex (Schroeder et al., 2017;Waytz et al., 2014) than one's own might make people more accepting of the possibility of science explaining other people's minds. ...
... This is particularly relevant considering that decision making in domains such as health can be delegated to surrogates (Buchanan & Brock, 1989;Fagerlin et al., 2001). Thus, people may suggest treatments and interventions for others that they would not choose for themselves (Schroeder et al., 2017). The results of Experiment 4 provide clear support for this hypothesis: Participants were less inclined to try products and procedures that were said to remedy problems in areas of mental life associated with introspection (e.g., love, self-esteem, anxiety). ...
Article
Four studies show that people differ in their lay beliefs concerning the degree to which science can explain their mind and the minds of other people. In particular, people are more receptive to the idea that the psychology of other people is explainable by science than to the possibility of science explaining their own psychology. This self-other difference is moderated by the degree to which people associate a certain mental phenomenon with introspection. Moreover, this self-other difference has implications for the science-recommended products and practices that people choose for themselves versus others.
... Notably, we found mixed evidence that policy support emerges as a function of individuals' own general difficulty in self-regulation (trait self-control) and no evidence specifically in the environmental domain (self-control struggle). This discrepancy between how policy may be instrumentalized to restrict own versus others' behavior is in line with the third person effect, which describes the phenomenon that individuals see others as more malleable by social influence [39] and paternalistic aid [74] than themselves. ...
Article
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Drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are necessary to successfully mitigate climate change. Individual environmental behavior is central to this change. Given that environmental behavior necessitates 1) effortful individual self-control and 2) cooperation by others, public policy may constitute an attractive instrument for regulating one’s own as well as others’ environmental behavior. Framing climate change mitigation as a cooperative self-control problem, we explore the incremental predictive power of self-control and beliefs surrounding others’ cooperation beyond established predictors of policy support in study 1 using machine-learning ( N = 610). In study 2, we systematically test and confirm the effects of self-control and beliefs surrounding others’ cooperation ( N = 270). Both studies showed that personal importance of climate change mitigation and perceived insufficiency of others’ environmental behavior predict policy support, while there was no strong evidence for a negative association between own-self control success and policy support. These results emerge beyond the effects of established predictors, such as environmental attitudes and beliefs, risk perception (study 1), and social norms (study 2). Results are discussed in terms of leveraging policy as a behavioral enactment constraint to control others’ but not own environmental behavior.
... As regards such citizen approval, studies on the acceptance of nudges have in fact shown that, to the extent that 'soft' paternalism is better appreciated than hard paternalistic imposition of a specific 'choice' (Schroeder et al., 2017), individuals value choice support via nudges both in hypothetical scenarios (Diepeveen et al, 2013;Junghans et al., 2015;Reisch & Sunstein, 2016;Sunstein et al., 2017) and in real-life settings (Kroese et al., 2015;Van Gestel et al., 2018). Nonetheless, the appreciation of nudges as they relate to autonomy is strongly influenced by how they are explained to nudgees. ...
Article
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In this paper, we critically review three assumptions that govern the debate on the legitimacy of nudging interventions as a policy instrument: (1) nudges may violate autonomous decision-making; (2) nudges lend themselves to easy implementation in public policy; and (3) nudges are a simple and effective mean for steering individual choice in the right direction. Our analysis reveals that none of these assumptions are supported by recent studies entailing unique insights into nudging from three disciplinary outlooks: ethics, public administration and psychology. We find that nudges are less of a threat to autonomous choice than critics sometimes claim, making them ethically more legitimate than often assumed. Nonetheless, because their effectiveness is critically dependent on boundary conditions, their implementation is far from easy. The findings of this analysis thus suggest new opportunities for identifying when and for whom nudge interventions are preferable to more conventional public policy arrangements.
... However, to the extent that receiving money from social programs and charities triggers status awareness, and thus a sensitivity to being pitied, it might also be important to understand variations to programs that mitigate these effects. A social identity threat approach might support the premise that non-paternalistic helping that provides recipients with more spending choice or opportunities for reciprocity (e.g., through community service) might have more positive emotional consequences (Schroeder, Waytz, & Epley, 2017). ...
Article
Both giving and receiving money have emotional benefits, but when gifts of value are made in the context of socioeconomic differences, there might also be emotional costs. Four studies (and an internal meta-analysis) tested the idea that receiving a generous gift from someone higher in perceived socioeconomic status (SES) signals social identity threat. In Study 1 (N = 218), participants on average, but especially those with relatively lower SES, reported experiencing more self-conscious negative affect when receiving a generous amount of money (vs. an even split) from a higher status giver in a dictator game. This effect was mediated by feeling pitied by the giver. Studies 2 (N = 331) and 3 (N = 426) revealed similar effects with recalled real-world experiences of receiving a generous gift from higher SES givers. Studies 3 and 4 (N = 142) revealed evidence for serial mediation, with lower relative SES predicting status awareness, status awareness predicting attributions of pity, and attributions of pity in turn predicting self-conscious negative affect. Effects were not significantly moderated by needing or requesting the money, suggesting that acts of generosity across the status divide readily signal social devaluation for those with lower perceived status. Findings have practical and conceptual implications for prosocial giving in a system of social and economic inequality.
... In one paper, I demonstrate that how people choose to help depends partly on their beliefs about the recipient's mental capacities. People perceive that aid which is more paternalistic (restricting the recipient's choice options) is more effective for those who seem less mentally capable (Schroeder, Waytz, & Epley, 2017). Because people tend to believe that they are more mentally capable than are others, people also believe that paternalistic aid will be more effective for others than for oneself, effectively treating other adults more like children than like themselves. ...
... The belief that others have weaker psychological needs may result in a systematically different method of providing aid. This proposition aligns with recent data demonstrating that people prefer giving paternalistic aid toward others (e.g., selecting more paternalistic policies to guide others' behavior or choosing to donate preselected gifts instead of cash) but prefer receiving agentic aid for themselves (e.g., selecting more agentic policies to guide their own behavior or choosing to receive cash; Schroeder, Waytz, & Epley, 2017). This self/other difference in how people prefer to help is fully mediated by perceptions of one's own and others' mental capacities. ...
Article
We document a tendency to demean others' needs: believing that psychological needs-those requiring mental capacity, and hence more uniquely human (e.g., need for meaning and autonomy)-are relatively less important to others compared with physical needs-those shared with other biological agents, and hence more animalistic (e.g., need for food and sleep). Because valuing psychological needs requires a sophisticated humanlike mind, agents presumed to have relatively weaker mental capacities should also be presumed to value psychological needs less compared with biological needs. Supporting this, our studies found that people demeaned the needs of nonhuman animals (e.g., chimpanzees) and historically dehumanized groups (e.g., drug addicts) more than the needs of close friends or oneself (Studies 1 and 3). Because mental capacities are more readily recognized through introspection than by external observation, people also demean peers' needs more than their own, inferring that one's own behavior is guided more strongly by psychological needs than identical behavior in others (Study 4). Two additional experiments suggest that demeaning could be a systematic error (Studies 5 and 6), as charity donors and students underestimated the importance of homeless people's psychological (vs. physical) needs compared with self-reports and choices from homeless people. Underestimating the importance of others' psychological needs could impair the ability to help others. These experiments indicate that demeaning is a unique facet of dehumanization reflecting a reliable, consequential, and potentially mistaken understanding of others' minds. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
... These behavioral consequences hint at a larger, more problematic reality: People appear more comfortable directing (and limiting) the decisions of the poor. For example, despite the demonstrated benefits of unconditional cash transfers (48,49) (i.e., giving money without accompanying restrictions), there remains a pervasive fear that funds will be used on the "wrong things" (8) and a tendency to instead choose more restrictive and conditional paternalistic aid (50). "Permissible consumption" provides another lens through which to understand this dynamic. ...
Article
Lower-income individuals are frequently criticized for their consumption decisions; this research examines why. Eleven preregistered studies document systematic differences in permissible consumption — interpersonal judgments about what is acceptable (or not) for others to consume—such that lower-income individuals’ decisions are subject to more negative and restrictive evaluations. Indeed, the same consumption decisions may be deemed less permissible for a lower-income individual than for an individual with higher or unknown income (studies 1A and 1B), even when purchased with windfall funds. This gap persists among participants from a large, nationally representative sample (study 2) and when testing a broad array of “everyday” consumption items (study 3). Additional studies investigate why: The same items are often perceived as less necessary for lower- (versus higher-) income individuals (studies 4 and 5). Combining both permissibility and perceived necessity, additional studies (studies 6 and 7) demonstrate a causal link between the two constructs: A purchase decision will be deemed permissible (or not) to the extent that it is perceived as necessary (or not). However, because—for lower-income individuals—fewer items are perceived as necessary, fewer are therefore socially permissible to consume. This finding not only exposes a fraught double standard, but also portends consequential behavioral implications: People prefer to allocate strictly “necessary” items to lower-income recipients (study 8), even if such items are objectively and subjectively less valuable (studies 9A and 9B), which may result in an imbalanced and inefficient provision of resources to the poor.
... Objectification Immanuel Kant defined objectification as "the lowering of a person, a being with humanity, to the status of an object" (Kant, 1797, p. 209). Although much of the extant psychological literature uses the concept of objectification to understand the sexual objectification of women (for a review, see Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997), objectification can also be a useful concept to understand a broader set of societal issues, such as labor relations (e.g., economic objectification; Marx, 1844Marx, /1864; see also Gruenfeld, Inesi, Magee, & Galinsky, 2008), slavery (Heath, & Schneewind, 1997), prejudice (Gray, Knobe, Sheskin, Bloom, & Barrett, 2011), paternalism (Haque & Waytz, 2012;Schroeder, Waytz, & Epley, 2017), and social activism (e.g., Calogero, 2013). ...
Article
People behave differently when at work than not at work; for example, they are less interested in making close friends and use more transactional language (networking vs. socializing). These examples hint at a broader phenomenon: that people engage in more objectification-treating people akin to objects-in work contexts than non work contexts. We propose that objectification is more prevalent at work because people engage in more calculative and strategic thinking (i.e., making decisions by computing the costs and benefits). Seven studies (N = 2,712) test this. In Study 1, participants objectified the same individuals more when they were pictured at work (e.g., in an office) than not at work (e.g., in a coffee shop). In Study 2, there was more objectification when the same event was framed as more (vs. less) work-related. Studies 3a and 3b (experience-sampling studies with 2,300 data points) show that working adults objectify others more during work than non work interactions and demonstrate which situational characteristics enhance objectification. Study 4 manipulates the proposed mechanism: Participants nudged to think less calculatively and strategically showed a reduced tendency to objectify others in work contexts. Considering consequences, job applicants in Study 5 who read company mission statements containing more calculative language expected more objectification and were less interested in applying. Moreover, employees who perceived more objectification in their workplace reported more negative work experiences (e.g., feeling lower belonging, experiencing more incivility; Study 6). Together, these studies provide insight into how objectification arises, where it occurs, and its consequences. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
... Helping behavior involves providing aid or benefit to another person. It can be classified into many subtypes depending on whether help is autonomy-or dependency-oriented (Nadler, 1997(Nadler, , 2002Schroeder et al., 2017); instrumental (Geller & Bamberger, 2009) or emotional (Bacharach et al., 2005); triggered by positive affect, obligation, or cost-benefit calculations (Ames et al., 2004); and so forth. An additional classification is the subject of this article: some help is full and some is partial. ...
Article
When being asked for help, people sometimes can only offer part of what is requested (i.e., partial help). The present research investigates whether helpers can accurately forecast how much help-seekers appreciate this understudied form of assistance. From multiple helping scenarios and a face-to-face interaction, we demonstrate an asymmetry in helpers’ and help-seeker’s appraisals of partial help: Helpers anticipated less appreciation for partial help than help-seekers felt in receiving it. This asymmetry arose from helpers’ greater valuation of helping outcomes over intentions to be helpful than help-seekers’. Accordingly, when helpers’ intentions were discounted, this asymmetry no longer persisted. Another account—helpers feel worse for breaking norms of helping than help-seekers—was not supported. We discuss several directions for future research on the psychology of partial prosocial behaviors.
... In Study 6, we investigated a downstream consequence of hardship narratives associated with PWPD: helping behaviors. Recent work distinguishes between paternalistic help, aid that restricts recipients' choices, and agentic help, aid that gives recipients control (Schroeder et al., 2017). For example, U.S. food stamps are paternalistic, in that they can only be spent on specific foods (e.g., uncooked rather than cooked foods). ...
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Across six studies, we tested how people with physical disabilities were ascribed mental faculties. People with physical disabilities were seen as more capable of mental agency (e.g., thinking), but not more capable of experience (e.g., pain), compared to nondisabled people (Study 1). People with physical disabilities were also seen as more capable of supernatural mental agency (e.g., seeing the future, reading minds; Study 2). Believing that people with physical disabilities were more mentally agentic than nondisabled people was unrelated to Beliefs in a Just World (Study 3) but was related to beliefs about hardship (Study 4). Narratives of overcoming adversity, common in portrayals of the disabled community, increased the perceived mental sophistication of people with physical disabilities (Study 5). Finally, hardship narratives also affected helping behavior toward people with physical disabilities (Study 6). Thus, hardship stories surrounding individuals with disabilities may contribute to beliefs that they have particularly sophisticated minds.
... Rather than manipulating actual behavior through nudges, we will use a scenario in which participants are exposed to a hypothetical nudge and instructed to estimate how the nudge would affect autonomy. The use of hypothetical scenarios to measure participants reaction to nudges has been employed previously (Schroeder et al., 2017), and has merit on its own, as it shows how people think of nudges and influences nudge acceptance. Every hypothetical nudge scenario will be presented together with an explanation of what a nudge is. ...
Article
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Objective While nudges are increasingly utilized in public policy settings, their potential threat to autonomous choice is the topic of heated debate. Regardless of the actual effects of nudges on autonomy, the mere perception of nudges as autonomy threatening by the general public or policy makers could negatively influence nudge acceptability. The present online studies examined how people expect (different) nudges to affect their perception of autonomy. Methods In the first study ( N = 455), participants were presented with a hypothetical choice that employed either a default nudge, direct persuasion, or no persuasion, to steer to the desired choice. The presented influence technique was explained before participants reported their expected autonomy, as well as their expected choice satisfaction. Study 2 ( N = 601) involved a replication of Study 1 with an additional social norm nudge condition. In Study 3 ( N = 750), the explanation of how choice had been influenced was omitted. Results While participants expected the default nudge to violate autonomy (Study 1), they had no such expectations for social norm nudges (Study 2). Omitting the explanation that most people are unaware of nudges influencing their choice, reduced the negative impact of nudges on expected autonomy (Study 3). Conclusion Effects of nudges on expectations of autonomy differ by type of nudge. Negative expectations are primarily driven by the explanation that decision makers are often unaware of nudges.
... Gray & Wegner, 2009;Loughnan et al., 2013) and subjected to forms of dehumanization that involve comparisons with animals (Morris et al., 2018). People are also shown to be more likely to endorse help for these dehumanized individuals that they oppose for themselves (Schroeder et al., 2017), a possible source for the common disconnect between female sex workers and government policy. That the difference in dehumanization between women in exploited and autonomous positions was relatively small may reflect the duality between perceptions that sex workers are both offenders and victims (Sanders & Brents, 2017). ...
Article
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Women are more likely than men to be sexualized, objectified and dehumanized. Female sex workers experience stigma and violence associated with these judgements at far higher rates than other women. Here, we use a pre-registered experimental design to consider which aspects of sex work – the level of sexual activity, earned income, or perceived autonomy of the work – drive dehumanization. A first group of participants (N = 217) rated 80 vignettes of women varying by full-time employment, hobbies and interests on humanness. These ratings were subtracted from the ratings of a second group of participants (N = 774) who rated these same vignettes which additionally described a part-time job, hobby or activity that varied in sexual activity, income earned and autonomy over one’s actions. We find that women and especially men dehumanize women they believe are engaging in penetrative sex. We also find that women’s autonomy of, but not their income from, their sexual activity increases dehumanization. Our findings suggest that opposition to women’s ability to pursue casual sex and generalizations about the exploitative conditions of sex work may drive the harshest negative prejudice towards female sex workers and, by similar mechanisms, women’s sexuality in general.
... Indeed, it has been observed that many people who are being nudged do not spontaneously notice the presence of a nudge (Hunter et al., 2018;Kroese et al., 2015;Van Gestel et al., 2018). The idea that unawareness is a critical condition for the impact of nudges may also relate to the impression that many people are reluctant to patronizing directions of their choice, especially insofar as governmental guidance is concerned ( Schroeder et al., 2017). This notion asserts that alerting people about the presence of a nudge would make them feel that they were being pushed toward a specific choice, leading to reactance (Wortman & Brehm, 1975) that would then reduce or eliminate the influence of a nudge. ...
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Nudges are behavioral interventions to subtly steer citizens’ choices toward “desirable” options. An important topic of debate concerns the legitimacy of nudging as a policy instrument, and there is a focus on issues relating to nudge transparency, the role of preexisting preferences people may have, and the premise that nudges primarily affect people when they are in “irrational” modes of thinking. Empirical insights into how these factors affect the extent to which people are susceptible to nudge influence (i.e., “nudgeable”) are lacking in the debate. This article introduces the new concept of nudgeability and makes a first attempt to synthesize the evidence on when people are responsive to nudges. We find that nudge effects do not hinge on transparency or modes of thinking but that personal preferences moderate effects such that people cannot be nudged into something they do not want. We conclude that, in view of these findings, concerns about nudging legitimacy should be softened and that future research should attend to these and other conditions of nudgeability.
... However, in this study participants were not being nudged themselves, but rather asked to rate the scenario from a third person viewpoint. Earlier research has demonstrated that in the case of nudging there is a critical difference in how people evaluate choice support for themselves as compared to choice support for others: they tend to view support for other people as less problematic and even required, while they consider support in making their own decisions as unwanted interference [13], illustrating that expectations for one's own autonomy are not identical to expectations about other people's autonomy. ...
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Nudges have repeatedly been found to be effective, however they are claimed to harm autonomy, and it has been found that laypeople expect this too. To test whether these expectations translate to actual harm to experienced autonomy, three online studies were conducted. The paradigm used in all studies was that participants were asked to voluntarily participate in a longer version of the questionnaire. This was either done in a hypothetical setting, where participants imagined they were asked this question, but did not answer it, and reported their expectations for autonomy; Or in an actual choice setting where participants answered the question and then reported their actual autonomy. The first study utilized the hypothetical setting and tried to replicate that laypeople expect nudges to harm autonomy with the current paradigm. A total of 451 participants were randomly assigned to either a control, a default nudge, or a social norm nudge condition. In the default nudge condition, the affirmative answer was pre-selected, and in the social norm nudge condition it was stated that most people answered affirmative. The results showed a trend for lower expected autonomy in nudge conditions, but did not find significant evidence. In Study 2, with a sample size of 454, the same design was used in an actual choice setting. Only the default nudge was found to be effective, and no difference in autonomy was found. In Study 3, Studies 1 and 2 were replicated. Explanation of the nudge was added as an independent variable and the social norm nudge condition was dropped, resulting in six conditions and 1322 participants. The results showed that participants indeed expected default nudges to harm their autonomy, but only if the nudge was explained. When actually nudged, no effect on autonomy was found, independent of the presence of an explanation.
... When people engage in dependency-oriented (compared with autonomy-oriented) help toward refugees, they are more likely to be paternalistic and have moral image concerns [45], feel sympathy ([37], also see the study reported by Lantos et al. [47]), and view help recipients as incompetent [48]. In contrast, autonomy-oriented help toward refugees is more likely when individuals experience moral outrage [37], have a group consciousness (shared emotions, group efficacy, and identification as refugee supporter [38]), and view refugees as competent [45]. ...
Article
We review psychological approaches of helping behavior in the context of refugee immigration. Refugee migration, compared to non-refugee migration, is characterized by greater forcedness and related perils. Taking into account perceptions of forcedness and perils, we examine potential helpers’ responses at each of four successive stages towards helping people in perilous, distressing, or emergency situations: (1) noticing and recognizing distressing, help-demanding conditions, (2) taking responsibility, (3) knowing how to help, and (4) transfer of one’s knowledge into action. In so doing, we discuss the role of different motives and functions of providing help (e.g., preserving refugees’ dependency or facilitating their autonomy), and implications of unequal power relations between help providers and refugees.
... A potential reason for the rare occurrence of associations between these components of self-regulation capacity and nudge acceptability could be that not everyone possesses insight in their ability to self-regulate. People sometimes tend to overestimate their own self-control [41] and therefore may become more reserved about receiving aid from policy makers [42]. Differences in the extent to which people accurately assess their own ability to self-regulate, and in the extent to which people are open to being confronted with this insight, may thus have confounded the expected effects. ...
Article
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Background Public acceptability of nudging is receiving increasingly more attention, but studies remain limited to evaluations of aspects of the nudge itself or (inferred intentions) of the nudger. Yet, it is important to investigate which individuals are likely to accept nudges, as those who are supposed to benefit from the implementation should not oppose it. The main objective of this study was to integrate research on self-regulation and nudging, and to examine acceptability of nudges as a function of self-regulation capacity and motivation. Method Participants ( N = 301) filled in questionnaires about several components of self-regulation capacity (self-control, proactive coping competence, self-efficacy, perceived control and perceived difficulty) and motivation (autonomous motivation and controlled motivation). To evaluate nudge acceptability, we used three vignettes describing three types of nudges (default, portion size, and rearrangement) that stimulated either a pro-self behavior (healthy eating) or pro-social behavior (sustainable eating) and asked participants to rate the nudges on (aspects of) acceptability. Results Results revealed that there were substantial differences in acceptability between the three types of nudges, such that the default nudge was seen as less acceptable and the rearrangement nudge as most acceptable. The behavior that was stimulated did not affect acceptability, even though the nudges that targeted healthy eating were seen as more pro-self than the nudges targeting sustainable eating. From all self-regulation components, autonomous motivation was the only measure that was consistently associated with nudge acceptability across the three nudges. For self-regulatory capacity, only some elements were occasionally related to acceptability for some nudges. Conclusion The current study thus shows that people are more inclined to accept nudges that target behaviors that they are autonomously motivated for, while people do not meaningfully base their judgments of acceptability on self-regulatory capacity.
Article
Does wearing makeup benefit women by changing how they perceive themselves, and are the perceptions that others make of makeup wearers positive, or negative? In two pre‐registered experiments, we investigated the effects of makeup on women's self‐perceived traits, and others’ objectifying perceptions of them. In Experiment 1, 229 women imagined one of four scenarios (e.g., a romantic date). Half applied makeup for that scenario before rating their self‐perceived agency, humanness, romantic competitiveness towards other women and reactions to partner jealousy. Results showed little evidence that applying makeup affected women's self‐perceived traits. In Experiment 2, 844 participants rated images of women's faces from Experiment 1 on their mental capacity and moral status. Women wearing more makeup were attributed less mental capacity and moral status, with attributions mediated by perceptions that heavier makeup‐wearers have more sex and are more physically attractive. Findings suggest that although women experience cultural pressure to wear makeup, negative stereotypes of makeup‐wearers may lead to detrimental perceptions of women. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
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Impression management is a fundamental aspect of social life. From self-promotion to feedback giving, from advice-seeking to networking, people frequently find themselves in situations where they need to make a positive impression on others. Despite the long-term benefits of making a favorable impression, impression-management attempts can backfire in unintended ways. In this article, I review recent research on self-presentation, social cognition, and communication to explain when and why people have misguided intuitions about their impressions on others, document common impression-management mistakes, and propose more effective strategies to minimize actor-target asymmetries in social interactions. This review provides a theoretical framework to understand the psychology of impression (mis)management, as well as the risks and rewards of different self-presentation strategies.
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In developing countries with limited resources available for aid distribution, community-based organizations have been pivotal in providing emergency relief to marginalized groups during the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent lockdown(s). Using the theory of power–dependence relations and resource dependency theory, this paper explores the realities of refugee-led community-based organizations (RLOs) in Malaysia and their relationships with internal and external agents. Utilizing qualitative data from 38 leaders and followers, we conducted a thematic analysis to understand the experiences of RLOs since March 2020, finding that during the pandemic: (1) a significant burden fell on a few leaders to distribute aid from external parties; (2) leaders and followers experienced the pandemic very differently; and (3) leaders became disseminators of public health information. Given the power structures, dependencies and findings identified in this paper, we propose a more cohesive aid distribution strategy for different actors to engage with RLOs, allowing them to maximize the reach of disbursed funds.
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Understanding the characteristics of social judgments in helping and help-seeking is profoundly essential to facilitate efficient and satisfactory interactions among human beings. Potential helpers and help-recipients have asymmetric perceptions in several aspects, including likelihood of seeking or receiving help, efforts invested in helping, anticipated emotions, and preferred manners in which aid is given. In consequence, they frequently mispredict how others truly think, feel and behave, which may inhibit the occurrence of cooperation and the spread of prosocial behavior. We propose that such prediction errors are inevitable under the joint influence of individual cognitive limitations and social factors. To bridge the gap between helpers and help-recipients, individuals and organizations should take its causes into account. Future research is encouraged to investigate the manifestation of prediction errors in online helping, emotional assistance, and between close others.
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We tested antecedents (paternalistic beliefs; Study 1) and consequences (social change potential; Study 2) of autonomy‐ and dependency‐oriented help and developed scales assessing paternalistic beliefs and both forms of help. In Study 1 (N = 143 Germans), we focused on paternalistic beliefs as an antagonist to social change and a key distinguishing variable between engagement in both forms of help. As expected, paternalistic beliefs were positively related to dependency‐oriented help, mediated by concern for a positive national moral image, but negatively related to autonomy‐oriented help, mediated by perceived competence of refugees. In Study 2, both refugees (N = 80) and Germans (N=94) perceived autonomy‐oriented help to have more potential for social change than dependency‐oriented help. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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Virtually all previous studies of domestic economic redistribution find white Americans to be less enthusiastic about welfare for black recipients than for white recipients. When it comes to foreign aid and international redistribution across racial lines, I argue that prejudice manifests not in an uncharitable, resentful way but in a paternalistic way because intergroup contact is minimal and because of how the media portray black foreigners. Using two survey experiments, I show that white Americans are more favorable toward aid when cued to think of foreign poor of African descent than when cued to think of those of East European descent. This relationship is due not to the greater perceived need of black foreigners but to an underlying racial paternalism that sees them as lacking in human agency. The findings confirm accusations of aid skeptics and hold implications for understanding the roots of paternalistic practices in the foreign aid regime.
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Emotion scientists often distinguish those emotions that are encountered universally, even among animals ( “primary emotions”), from those experienced by human beings ( “secondary emotions”). No attempt, however, has ever been made to capture the lay conception about this distinction and to find the criteria on which the distinction is based. The first study presented in this paper was conducted in three countries involving four languages, so as to allow for cross‐cultural comparisons. Results showed a remarkable convergence. People from all samples not only differentiated between “uniquely human” and “non‐uniquely human” emotions on a continuum, but they did so on the same basis as the one used by emotion scientists to distinguish between “primary” and “secondary” emotions. Study 2 focused on the implicit use of such a distinction. When confronted with a human (animal) context, participants reacted faster to secondary (vs primary) emotions. The implications of the human uniqueness of some emotions within the social and interpersonal contexts are discussed.
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Every day, we make decisions on topics ranging from personal investments to schools for our children to the meals we eat to the causes we champion. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. The reason, the authors explain, is that, being human, we all are susceptible to various biases that can lead us to blunder. Our mistakes make us poorer and less healthy; we often make bad decisions involving education, personal finance, health care, mortgages and credit cards, the family, and even the planet itself. Thaler and Sunstein invite us to enter an alternative world, one that takes our humanness as a given. They show that by knowing how people think, we can design choice environments that make it easier for people to choose what is best for themselves, their families, and their society. Using colorful examples from the most important aspects of life, Thaler and Sunstein demonstrate how thoughtful "choice architecture" can be established to nudge us in beneficial directions without restricting freedom of choice. Nudge offers a unique new take-from neither the left nor the right-on many hot-button issues, for individuals and governments alike. This is one of the most engaging and provocative books to come along in many years. © 2008 by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein. All rights reserved.
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Presents a comprehensive review of research and theory on reactions to help, organized in terms of 4 conceptual orientations (equity, attribution, reactance, and threat to self-esteem). For each orientation, the basic assumptions and predictions are discussed, supportive and nonsupportive data are reviewed, and an overall appraisal is offered. Threat to self-esteem is proposed as an organizing construct for research on reactions to help, and a model based on this construct is presented. It is argued that a formalized threat-to-self-esteem model is more comprehensive and parsimonious for predicting reactions to help than are equity, attribution, or reactance models. (111 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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In a study with a total of 180 male college students in the US, Japan, and Sweden, Ss received monetary aid from another member of an experimental group. The obligation attached to the aid was varied along with the Ss' perception of the donor's resources. The effects of the aid on Ss' attraction for the donor, desire for coalition, and repayment were assessed. In general, Ss were more attracted to a donor who obliged them to return the resources than to a donor who asked for nothing in return or for interest. Greater attraction was also expressed for a poor as opposed to a wealthy donor. Desires for coalition were unrelated to attraction for the donor; Ss preferred to join with the wealthy rather than the poor donor. However, more monetary resources were returned to the poor as opposed to the wealthy donor. The same general pattern of findings emerged in the US, Japan, and Sweden. (25 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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If people favor their ingroup, are especially concerned with their own group, and attribute different essences to different groups, itfollows that their essence must be superior to the essence of other groups. Intelligence, language, and certain emotions are all considered to be distinctive elements ofhuman nature or essence. The role ofintelligence and language in discrimination, prejudice, and racism has already been largely investigated, and this article focuses on attributed emotions. Specifically, we investigate the idea that secondary emotions are typically human characteristics, and as such, they should be especially associated with and attributed to the ingroup. Secondary emotions may even be denied to outgroups. These differential associations and attributions of specifically human emotions to ingroups versus outgroups should affect intergroup relations. Results from several initial experiments are summarized that support our reasoning. This emotional approach to prejudice and racism is contrasted with more classic, cognitive perspectives.
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This research examines inferences about the emotional states of ingroup and outgroup victims after a natural disaster, and whether these inferences predict intergroup helping. Two weeks after Hurricane Katrina struck the southern United States, White and non-White participants were asked to infer the emotional states of an individualized Black or White victim, and were asked to report their intentions to help such victims. Overall, participants believed that an outgroup victim experienced fewer secondary, �uniquely human� emotions (e.g. anguish, mourning, remorse) than an ingroup victim. The extent to which participants did infer secondary emotions about outgroup victims, however, predicted their helping intentions; in other words, those participants who did not dehumanize outgroup victims were the individuals most likely to report intentions to volunteer for hurricane relief efforts. This investigation extends prior research by: (1) demonstrating infraglobalhumanization of individualized outgroup members (as opposed to aggregated outgroups); (2) examining infrahumanization via inferred emotional states (as opposed to attributions of emotions as stereotypic traits); and (3) identifying a relationship between infra-humanization of outgroup members and reduced intergroup helping.
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This essay considers, and rejects, arguments for libertarian paternalism based on behavioral law and economics' findings that people sometimes make mistakes and lack self-control. It doesn't follow from the fact that people don't always do 'what they really want' that we can know what they really want and with confidence put in place laws and policies to nudge them in that direction. Still, in part because we don't necessarily do 'what we really want,' there may be sensible reasons to adopt paternalistic policies.
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Regulation by the state can take a variety of forms. Some regulations are aimed entirely at redistribution, such as when we tax the rich and give to the poor. Other regulations seek to counteract externalities by restricting behavior in a way that imposes harm on an individual basis but yields net societal benefits. A good example is taxation to fund public goods such as roads. In such situations, an individual would be better off if she alone were exempt from the tax; she benefits when everyone (including herself) must pay the tax.
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Investigated predictors of intergroup aggression and its relations to in-group bias. In a questionnaire, 156 Israeli adults reported perceptions of their own religious group and of the ultraorthodox Jewish out-group and expressed aggression toward the ultraorthodox (opposing institutions that serve their needs, supporting acts harmful to them, and opposing interaction with them). Respondents showed in-group favoritism in trait evaluations, but this bias was unrelated to aggression. Perceived inter-group conflict of interests, the postulated motivator of aggression, predicted it strongly. The effects of conflict on aggression were partially mediated by 2 indexes of dehumanizing the out-group (perceived value dissimilarity and trait inhumanity) and by 1 index of probable empathy with it (perceived in-group-out-group boundary permeability). These variables related to aggression more strongly among persons who identified highly with their in-group. The variables also mediated the effects of religious group affiliation on aggression. The value dissimilarity finding supports derivations from belief congruence theory.
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There is disagreement in the literature about the exact nature of the phenomenon of empathy. There are emotional, cognitive, and conditioning views, applying in varying degrees across species. An adequate description of the ultimate and proximate mechanism can integrate these views. Proximately, the perception of an object's state activates the subject's corresponding representations, which in turn activate somatic and autonomic responses. This mechanism supports basic behaviors (e.g., alarm, social facilitation, vicariousness of emotions, mother-infant responsiveness, and the modeling of competitors and predators) that are crucial for the reproductive success of animals living in groups. The Perception-Action Model (PAM), together with an understanding of how representations change with experience, can explain the major empirical effects in the literature (similarity, familiarity, past experience, explicit teaching, and salience). It can also predict a variety of empathy disorders. The interaction between the PAM and prefrontal functioning can also explain different levels of empathy across species and age groups. This view can advance our evolutionary understanding of empathy beyond inclusive fitness and reciprocal altruism and can explain different levels of empathy across individuals, species, stages of development, and situations.
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Important asymmetries between self-perception and social perception arise from the simple fact that other people's actions, judgments, and priorities sometimes differ from one's own. This leads people not only to make more dispositional inferences about others than about themselves (E. E. Jones & R. E. Nisbett, 1972) but also to see others as more susceptible to a host of cognitive and motivational biases. Although this blind spot regarding one's own biases may serve familiar self-enhancement motives, it is also a product of the phenomenological stance of naive realism. It is exacerbated, furthermore, by people's tendency to attach greater credence to their own introspections about potential influences on judgment and behavior than they attach to similar introspections by others. The authors review evidence, new and old, of this asymmetry and its underlying causes and discuss its relation to other psychological phenomena and to interpersonal and intergroup conflict.
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Two experiments exploring the effects of social category membership on real-life helping behavior are reported. In Study 1, intergroup rivalries between soccer fans are used to examine the role of identity in emergency helping. An injured stranger wearing an in-group team shirt is more likely to be helped than when wearing a rival team shirt or an unbranded sports shirt. In Study 2, a more inclusive social categorization is made salient for potential helpers. Helping is extended to those who were previously identified as out-group members but not to those who do not display signs of group membership. Taken together, the studies show the importance of both shared identity between bystander and victim and the inclusiveness of salient identity for increasing the likelihood of emergency intervention.
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People typically evaluate their in-groups more favorably than out-groups and themselves more favorably than others. Research on infrahumanization also suggests a preferential attribution of the "human essence" to in-groups, independent of in-group favoritism. The authors propose a corresponding phenomenon in interpersonal comparisons: People attribute greater humanness to themselves than to others, independent of self-enhancement. Study 1 and a pilot study demonstrated 2 distinct understandings of humanness--traits representing human nature and those that are uniquely human--and showed that only the former traits are understood as inhering essences. In Study 2, participants rated themselves higher than their peers on human nature traits but not on uniquely human traits, independent of self-enhancement. Study 3 replicated this "self-humanization" effect and indicated that it is partially mediated by attribution of greater depth to self versus others. Study 4 replicated the effect experimentally. Thus, people perceive themselves to be more essentially human than others.
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The authors examined how a perceiver's identification of a target person's actions co-varies with attributions of mind to the target. The authors found in Study 1 that the attribution of intentionality and cognition to a target was associated with identifying the target's action in terms of high-level effects rather than low-level details. In Study 2, both action identification and mind attribution were greater for a liked target, and in Study 3, they were reduced for a target suffering misfortune. In Study 4, it was again found that action identification and mind attribution were greater for a liked target, but like that for the self or a liked other, positive actions were identified at higher levels than negative actions, with the reverse being true for disliked others. In Study 5, the authors found that instructing participants to adopt the target's perspective did not affect mind attribution but did lead to higher level identifications of the target's actions.
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Integrating research on social identity processes and helping relations, the authors proposed that low-status group members who are high identifiers will be unwilling to receive help from the high-status group when status relations are perceived as unstable and help is dependency-oriented. The first experiment, a minimal group experiment, found negative reactions to help from a high-status outgroup when status relations were unstable. The 2nd and 3rd experiments, which used real groups of Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews, replicated this finding and showed that high identifiers were less receptive to help from the high-status outgroup than low identifiers. The 4th experiment, a help-seeking experiment with real groups of competing high schools, found that the least amount of help was sought from a high-status group by high identifiers when status relations were perceived as unstable and help was dependency-oriented. Theoretical and applied implications are discussed.
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Mediating variables are prominent in psychological theory and research. A mediating variable transmits the effect of an independent variable on a dependent variable. Differences between mediating variables and confounders, moderators, and covariates are outlined. Statistical methods to assess mediation and modern comprehensive approaches are described. Future directions for mediation analysis are discussed.
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We use a randomized controlled trial to study the response of poor households in rural Kenya to large, unconditional cash transfers from the NGO GiveDirectly. The transfers differ from other programs in that they are explicitly unconditional, large, and concentrated in time. We randomized at both the village and household levels; further, within the treatment group, we randomized recipient gender (wife vs. husband), transfer timing (lump-sum transfer vs. monthly installments), and transfer magnitude (USD 404 PPP vs. USD 1,525 PPP). We find a strong consumption response to transfers, with an increase in household monthly consumption from USD 158 PPP to USD 193 PPP nine months after the transfer began. Transfer recipients experience large increases in psychological wellbeing. We find no overall effect on levels of the stress hormone cortisol, although there are differences across some subgroups. Monthly transfers are more likely than lump-sum transfers to improve food security, while lump-sum transfers are more likely to be spent on durables, suggesting that households face savings and credit constraints. Together, these results suggest that unconditional cash transfers have significant impacts on economic outcomes and psychological wellbeing.
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Researchers interested in testing mediation often use designs where participants are measured on a dependent variable Y and a mediator M in both of 2 different circumstances. The dominant approach to assessing mediation in such a design, proposed by Judd, Kenny, and McClelland (2001), relies on a series of hypothesis tests about components of the mediation model and is not based on an estimate of or formal inference about the indirect effect. In this article we recast Judd et al.'s approach in the path-analytic framework that is now commonly used in between-participant mediation analysis. By so doing, it is apparent how to estimate the indirect effect of a within-participant manipulation on some outcome through a mediator as the product of paths of influence. This path-analytic approach eliminates the need for discrete hypothesis tests about components of the model to support a claim of mediation, as Judd et al.'s method requires, because it relies only on an inference about the product of paths-the indirect effect. We generalize methods of inference for the indirect effect widely used in between-participant designs to this within-participant version of mediation analysis, including bootstrap confidence intervals and Monte Carlo confidence intervals. Using this path-analytic approach, we extend the method to models with multiple mediators operating in parallel and serially and discuss the comparison of indirect effects in these more complex models. We offer macros and code for SPSS, SAS, and Mplus that conduct these analyses. (PsycINFO Database Record
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In order to test the hypothesis that the decision to accept or reject a prosocial offer is a joint function of (1) value and cost associated with the offer and (2) the recipients degree of dependence, a role-playing abilities test was created. As part of the role-playing task, undergraduate students were asked to consider a prosocial offer, consisting of either high or low value, which imposed minimal or restrictive constraints, under conditions of high or low dependence. As predicted, high value and low cost were significant factors in the decision to accept or reject the prosocial offer. In addition, two unexpected interactions, Value by Dependence and Cost by Dependence, were significant.
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Since Mill’s seminal work On Liberty, philosophers and political theorists have accepted that we should respect the decisions of individual agents when those decisions affect no one other than themselves. Indeed, to respect autonomy is often understood to be the chief way to bear witness to the intrinsic value of persons. In this book, Sarah Conly rejects the idea of autonomy as inviolable. Drawing on sources from behavioral economics and social psychology, she argues that we are so often irrational in making our decisions that our autonomous choices often undercut the achievement of our own goals. Thus in many cases, it would advance our goals more effectively if government were to prevent us from acting in accordance with our decisions. Her argument challenges widely held views of moral agency, democratic values, and the public/private distinction, and will interest readers in ethics, political philosophy, political theory, and philosophy of law.
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We review early and recent psychological theories of dehumanization and survey the burgeoning empirical literature, focusing on six fundamental questions. First, we examine how people are dehumanized, exploring the range of ways in which perceptions of lesser humanness have been conceptualized and demonstrated. Second, we review who is dehumanized, examining the social targets that have been shown to be denied humanness and commonalities among them. Third, we investigate who dehumanizes, notably the personality, ideological, and other individual differences that increase the propensity to see others as less than human. Fourth, we explore when people dehumanize, focusing on transient situational and motivational factors that promote dehumanizing perceptions. Fifth, we examine the consequences of dehumanization, emphasizing its implications for prosocial and antisocial behavior and for moral judgment. Finally, we ask what can be done to reduce dehumanization. We conclude with a discussion of limitations of current scholarship and directions for future research. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Psychology Volume 65 is January 03, 2014. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/catalog/pubdates.aspx for revised estimates.
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The present study tested derivations from social learning theory on the disinhibition of aggression through processes that weaken self-deterring consequences to injurious conduct. Subjects were provided with opportunities to behave punitively under diffused or personalized responsibility toward groups that were characterized in either humanized, neutral, or dehumanized terms. Both dehumanization and lessened personal responsibility enhanced aggressiveness, with dehumanization serving as the more potent disinhibitor. Escalation of aggression under conditions of dehumanization was especially marked when punitiveness was dysfunctional in effecting desired changes. The uniformly low level of aggression directed toward humanized groups, regardless of variations in responsibility and instrumentality of the conduct, attested to the power of humanization to counteract punitiveness. Results of supplementary measures are consistent with the postulated relationship between self-disinhibiting processes and punitiveness. Dehumanization fostered self-absolving justifications that were in turn associated with increased punitiveness. Findings on the internal concomitants of behavior performed under different levels of responsibility suggest that reducing personal responsibility heightens aggressiveness more through social than personal sources of disinhibition.
Article
Three studies suggest that individuals see the existence and operation of cognitive and motivational biases much more in others than in themselves. Study 1 provides evidence from three surveys that people rate themselves as less subject to various biases than the “average American,” classmates in a seminar, and fellow airport travelers. Data from the third survey further suggest that such claims arise from the interplay among availability biases and self-enhancement motives. Participants in one follow-up study who showed the better-than-average bias insisted that their self-assessments were accurate and objective even after reading a description of how they could have been affected by the relevant bias. Participants in a final study reported their peer’s self-serving attributions regarding test performance to be biased but their own similarly self-serving attributions to be free of bias. The relevance of these phenomena to naïve realism and to conflict, misunderstanding, and dispute resolution is discussed.
Article
Psychologists have long assumed that the motivation for all intentional action, including all action intended to benefit others, is egoistic. People benefit others because, ultimately, to do so benefits themselves. The empathy-altruism hypothesis challenges this assumption. It claims that empathic emotion evokes truly altruistic motivation, motivation with an ultimate goal of benefiting not the self but the person for whom empathy is felt. Logical and psychological distinctions between egoism and altruism are reviewed, providing a conceptual framework for empirical tests for the existence of altruism. Results of empirical tests to date are summarized; these results provide impressive support for the empathy-altruism hypothesis. We conclude that the popular and parsimonious explanation of prosocial motivation in terms of universal egoism must give way to a pluralistic explanation that includes altruism as well as egoism. Implications of such a pluralism are briefly noted, not only for our understanding of prosocial motivation but also for our understanding of human nature and of the emotion-motivation link.
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This book presents a new theory of the social group which seeks to explain how individuals become unified into a group and capable of collective behaviour. The book summarizes classic psychological theories of the group, describes and explains the important effects of group membership on social behaviour, outlines self-categorization theory in full and shows how the general perspective has been applied in research on group formation and cohesion, social influence, the polarization of social attitudes, crowd psychology and social stereotyping. The theory emerges as a fundamental new contribution to social psychology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
We develop further our model of affirmative action as help (Pratkanis & Turner, 1996b; Turner & Pratkanis, 1994) by looking at the impact of aid on the donor. White Americans often take one of three approaches toaffirmative action. First, they can reject affirmative action because of their own personal frustrations. Second, they can engage in selective aid that maintains the basic patterns of social dominance. Both of these approaches can damage the psychological functioning of Whites. Third, White Americans can proactively seek to remove discriminatory barriers in a process we call democratic altruism, thereby opening the possibility of learning from diverse others and growth as a person. We conclude by discussing tactics for promoting democratic altruism.
Article
Advertisements for charities often display photographs of the people they help to evoke the kind of sympathy that engenders giving. This article examines how the expression of emotion on a victim's face affects both sympathy and giving. Building on theories of emotional contagion and sympathy, the authors propose that (1) people "catch" the emotions displayed on a victim's face and (2) they are particularly sympathetic and likely to donate when they see sad expressions versus happy or neutral expressions. Consistent with emotional contagion, participants felt sadder when viewing a sad-faced victim, and their own sadness mediated the effect of emotion expression on sympathy. Contagion effects are automatic and noninferential, but they are diminished by deliberative thought. The authors discuss the implications of using subtle emotional expressions on charitable and other marketing appeals.
Chapter
The subject of this Essay is not the so-called Liberty of the Will, so unfortunately opposed to the misnamed doctrine of Philosophical Necessity,1 but Civil, or Social Liberty: the na¬ture and limits of the power which can be legitimately ex¬ercised by society over the individual. A question seldom stated, and hardly ever discussed, in general terms, but which profoundly influences the practical controversies of the age by its latent presence, and is likely soon to make itself rec¬ognized as the vital question of the future. It is so far from being new, that in a certain sense, it has divided mankind, almost from the remotest ages; but in the stage of progress into which the more civilized portions of the species have now entered, it presents itself under new conditions, and re¬quires a different and more fundamental treatment.
Article
The article presents a model which proposes that groups may establish or challenge dominance through helping. It begins by noting the centrality of inequality in helping and inter–group relations. The implications of this to affirmative action programs are noted. Following this, a model of inter–group helping relations is proposed. It suggests that when the high status group provides to the low status group dependency oriented help, it may do so in order to establish dominance. The willing receptivity of the low status group may indicate its acceptance of the inequality, and lack of receptivity for such help may be motivated by the desire to achieve social equality. Empirical findings that are relevant to this analysis are presented in studies using Israeli students as research participants.
Article
The paper identifies a class of violent acts that can best be described as sanctioned massacres. The special features of sanctioned massacres are that they occur in the context of a genocidal policy, and that they are directed at groups that have not themselves threatened or engaged in hostile actions against the perpetrators of the violence. The psychological environment in which such massacres occur lacks the conditions normally perceived as providing some degree of moral justification for violence. In searching for a psychological explanation of mass violence under these conditions, it is instructive to focus on factors reducing the strength of restraining forces against violence. Three interrelated processes are discussed in detail: (a) processes of authorization, which define the situation as one in which standard moral principles do not apply and the individual is absolved of responsibility to make personal moral choices; (b) processes of routinization, which so organize the action that there is no opportunity for raising moral questions and making moral decisions; and (c) processes of dehumanization which deprive both victim and victimizer of identity and community. The paper concludes with suggestions for corrective efforts that might help to prevent sanctioned massacres by counteracting the systemic and attitudinal supports for the processes described.
Chapter
HYPOTHESIZES THAT MERE REPEATED EXPOSURE OF THE INDIVIDUAL TO A STIMULUS OBJECT ENHANCES HIS ATTITUDE TOWARD IT. BY "MERE" EXPOSURE IS MEANT A CONDITION MAKING THE STIMULUS ACCESSIBLE TO PERCEPTION. SUPPORT FOR THE HYPOTHESIS CONSISTS OF 4 TYPES OF EVIDENCE, PRESENTED AND REVIEWED: (1) THE CORRELATION BETWEEN AFFECTIVE CONNOTATION OF WORDS AND WORD FREQUENCY, (2) THE EFFECT OF EXPERIMENTALLY MANIPULATED FREQUENCY OF EXPOSURE UPON THE AFFECTIVE CONNOTATION OF NONSENSE WORDS AND SYMBOLS, (3) THE CORRELATION BETWEEN WORD FREQUENCY AND THE ATTITUDE TO THEIR REFERENTS, AND (4) THE EFFECTS OF EXPERIMENTALLY MANIPULATED FREQUENCY OF EXPOSURE ON ATTITUDE. THE RELEVANCE FOR THE EXPOSURE-ATTITUDE HYPOTHESIS OF THE EXPLORATION THEORY AND OF THE SEMANTIC SATIATION FINDINGS WERE EXAMINED. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
We used simple economic games to examine pro-social behavior and the lengths that people will take to avoid engaging in it. Over two studies, we found that about one-third of participants were willing to “exit” a $10 dictator game and take $9 instead. The exit option left the receiver nothing, but also ensured that the receiver never knew that a dictator game was to be played. Because most social utility models are defined over monetary outcomes, they cannot explain choosing the ($9, $0) exit outcome over the dominating $10 dictator game, since the game includes outcomes of ($10, $0) and ($9, $1). We also studied exiting using a “private” dictator game. In the private game, the receiver never knew about the game or from where any money was received. Gifts in this game were added innocuously to a payment for a separate task. Almost no dictators exited from the private game, indicating that receivers’ beliefs are the key factor in the decision to exit. When, as in the private game, the receivers’ beliefs and expectations cannot be manipulated by exit, exit is seldom taken. We conclude that giving often reflects a desire not to violate others’ expectations rather than a concern for others’ welfare per se. We discuss the implications of our results for understanding ethical decisions and for testing and modeling social preferences. An adequate specification of social preferences should include “psychological” payoffs that directly incorporate beliefs about actions into the utility function.
Article
Introspection involves looking inward into conscious thoughts, feelings, motives, and intentions. Modern social psychological research has raised questions about the value and reliability of information gained via introspection. This chapter concerns people's heavy weighting of introspective information for making self‐assessments. It also concerns a few principles associated with that weighting—that is, that it does not extend to how people treat others' introspections, that it can lead people to disregard information conveyed by their own (but not others') behavior, and that it is rooted not only in people's unique access to their introspections but also in the unique value they place on them. Over‐valuing of personal introspections occurs in a variety of domains, including judgment and decision making, personal relationships, and stereotyping and prejudice. An understanding of it sheds light on theoretical concerns involving the actor–observer bias, self‐enhancement, temporal distance effects, and the perception of free will. People's unique valuing of their introspections likely has deep roots, but this “introspection illusion” also causes problems. It can foster conflict, discrimination, lapses in ethics, and barriers to self‐knowledge and social intimacy. Understanding its sources and effects may help alleviate some of those problems.
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Four experiments identify a tendency for people to believe that their own lives are more guided by the tenets of free will than are the lives of their peers. These tenets involve the a priori unpredictability of personal action, the presence of multiple possible paths in a person's future, and the causal power of one's personal desires and intentions in guiding one's actions. In experiment 1, participants viewed their own pasts and futures as less predictable a priori than those of their peers. In experiments 2 and 3, participants thought there were more possible paths (whether good or bad) in their own futures than their peers' futures. In experiment 4, participants viewed their own future behavior, compared with that of their peers, as uniquely driven by intentions and desires (rather than personality, random features of the situation, or history). Implications for the classic actor-observer bias, for debates about free will, and for perceptions of personal responsibility are discussed.
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“Nudges” are being widely promoted to encourage energy conservation. We show that while the electricity conservation “nudge” of providing feedback to households on own and peers’ home electricity usage works with liberals, it can backfire with conservatives. Our regression estimates predict that a Democratic household that pays for electricity from renewable sources, that donates to environmental groups, and that lives in a liberal neighborhood reduces its consumption by 3 percent in response to this nudge. A Republican household that does not pay for electricity from renewable sources and that does not donate to environmental groups increases its consumption by 1 percent.
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Título en la cubierta: Images of Savages. Ancient Roots of Modern Prejudice in Western Culture Se estudia el prejuicio en la cultura occidental hacia los pobladores de otras latitudes al considerarlos como hombres salvajes y hasta cierto punto monstruosos y que ya formaba parte de los europeos desde el descubrimiento de América y que genera el racismo actual. En autor considera que esta actitud está anquilosada en la percepción occidental y que actualmente se realizan esfuerzos para eliminarla.
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Four studies examined how impulse-control beliefs--beliefs regarding one's ability to regulate visceral impulses, such as hunger, drug craving, and sexual arousal-influence the self-control process. The findings provide evidence for a restraint bias: a tendency for people to overestimate their capacity for impulse control. This biased perception of restraint had important consequences for people's self-control strategies. Inflated impulse-control beliefs led people to overexpose themselves to temptation, thereby promoting impulsive behavior. In Study 4, for example, the impulse-control beliefs of recovering smokers predicted their exposure to situations in which they would be tempted to smoke. Recovering smokers with more inflated impulse-control beliefs exposed themselves to more temptation, which led to higher rates of relapse 4 months later. The restraint bias offers unique insight into how erroneous beliefs about self-restraint promote impulsive behavior.
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Historically, traditional people have often been likened to animals and children. A study employing implicit social cognition methods examined whether these associations endure in a more subtle, implicit form. Consistent with colonial era portrayals of indigenous and other traditional people as 'primitives' or 'savages', participants continued to associate them with animal- and child-related stimuli more readily than people from modern, industrialized societies. In addition, traditional people were ascribed fewer uniquely human attributes than their modern counterparts. These findings, replicated with verbal and pictorial representations of the traditional/modern distinction, were independent of any positive or negative evaluation of traditional people. They imply that colonial 'images of savages' persist in contemporary western society as a cultural residue.
Article
Hypotheses involving mediation are common in the behavioral sciences. Mediation exists when a predictor affects a dependent variable indirectly through at least one intervening variable, or mediator. Methods to assess mediation involving multiple simultaneous mediators have received little attention in the methodological literature despite a clear need. We provide an overview of simple and multiple mediation and explore three approaches that can be used to investigate indirect processes, as well as methods for contrasting two or more mediators within a single model. We present an illustrative example, assessing and contrasting potential mediators of the relationship between the helpfulness of socialization agents and job satisfaction. We also provide SAS and SPSS macros, as well as Mplus and LISREL syntax, to facilitate the use of these methods in applications.
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COLLEGE SS OVERHEARD AN EPILEPTIC SIEZURE. THEY BELIEVED EITHER THAT THEY ALONE HEARD THE EMERGENCY, OR THAT 1 OR 4 UNSEEN OTHERS WERE ALSO PRESENT. AS PREDICTED, THE PRESENCE OF OTHER BYSTANDERS REDUCED THE INDIVIDUAL'S FEELINGS OF PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY AND LOWERED HIS SPEED OF REPORTING (P < .01). IN GROUPS OF 3, MALES REPORTED NO FASTER THAN FEMALES, AND FEMALES REPORTED NO SLOWER WHEN THE 1 OTHER BYSTANDER WAS A MALE RATHER THAN A FEMALE. IN GENERAL, PERSONALITY AND BACKGROUND MEASURES WERE NOT PREDICTIVE OF HELPING. BYSTANDER INACTION IN REAL LIFE EMERGENCIES IS OFTEN EXPLAINED BY APATHY, ALIENATION, AND ANOMIE. RESULTS SUGGEST THAT THE EXPLANATION MAY LIE IN THE BYSTANDER'S RESPONSE TO OTHER OS THAN IN HIS INDIFFERENCE TO THE VICTIM.
Article
The purpose was to show that when a favor reduces a person's freedom, it arouses "psychological reactance," a motivational state aimed at restoration of this freedom. Ss, run individually, learned they were to make 1st-impression ratings of another S (confederate) and then were given a soft drink by this S, prior to making the ratings. In a 2 X 2 design, the 1st-impression ratings were given low or high importance; ½ of each importance group received the favor, ½ did not. An opportunity was presented for S to do a favor for the confederate after the ratings. In the low-importance condition, the favor increased the likelihood that S would perform a favor in turn for the confederate, and in high importance, the favor reduced the likelihood that S would perform the return favor.
Article
Traditionally, prejudice has been conceptualized as simple animosity. The stereotype content model (SCM) shows that some prejudice is worse. The SCM previously demonstrated separate stereotype dimensions of warmth (low-high) and competence (low-high), identifying four distinct out-group clusters. The SCM predicts that only extreme out-groups, groups that are both stereotypically hostile and stereotypically incompetent (low warmth, low competence), such as addicts and the homeless, will be dehumanized. Prior studies show that the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) is necessary for social cognition. Functional magnetic resonance imaging provided data for examining brain activations in 10 participants viewing 48 photographs of social groups and 12 participants viewing objects; each picture dependably represented one SCM quadrant. Analyses revealed mPFC activation to all social groups except extreme (low-low) out-groups, who especially activated insula and amygdala, a pattern consistent with disgust, the emotion predicted by the SCM. No objects, though rated with the same emotions, activated the mPFC. This neural evidence supports the prediction that extreme out-groups may be perceived as less than human, or dehumanized.
Article
Like all perception, social perception reflects evolutionary pressures. In encounters with conspecifics, social animals must determine, immediately, whether the "other" is friend or foe (i.e. intends good or ill) and, then, whether the "other" has the ability to enact those intentions. New data confirm these two universal dimensions of social cognition: warmth and competence. Promoting survival, these dimensions provide fundamental social structural answers about competition and status. People perceived as warm and competent elicit uniformly positive emotions and behavior, whereas those perceived as lacking warmth and competence elicit uniform negativity. People classified as high on one dimension and low on the other elicit predictable, ambivalent affective and behavioral reactions. These universal dimensions explain both interpersonal and intergroup social cognition.