Gregory M. Walton's research while affiliated with Stanford University and other places

Publications (28)

Article
Full-text available
Inequality and deep poverty have risen sharply in the US since the 1990s. Simultaneously, cash-based welfare policies have frayed, support for public assistance has fallen on the political right, and prejudice against recipients of welfare has remained high. Yet, in recent years Universal Basic Income (UBI) has gained traction, a policy proposing t...
Article
Research on group dehumanization has focused largely on the perpetrators of dehumanization or on its negative emotional and cognitive effects on targets. We theorized that people would also reassert their humanness in response to dehumanizing portrayals of their group. Experiment 1 showed that Black individuals responded to a dehumanizing represent...
Article
Full-text available
Across the globe, men make markedly more money than women, even within the same position. We introduce egalitarian norm messaging as a potential intervention to increase women’s salaries and counter the gender pay gap. In two preregistered experiments with seasoned professionals (N = 435, work experience: M > 8 years, salary negotiations: M > 18 pe...
Article
Similarities are foundational to building and maintaining friendships, but for cross-race friends, differences in experiences related to race are also inevitable. Little is known about how friends approach talking about race-related experiences. We suggest that these conversations are a threatening opportunity. Across five studies, we show that the...
Article
A common method to promote behavior change, particularly in contexts related to collective action, is to reference a social norm and ask people to comply with it. We argue that such appeals will be more effective when they couch the norm as an invitation to work with others toward a common goal. In six experiments, we found that working-together no...
Article
Full-text available
Refugees suffer from a stigmatized identity, portraying them as weak, unskilled victims. We developed a brief (~10-minute) intervention that reframed refugees’ identity as being, by its very nature, a source of strength and skills. Reading-and-writing exercises, provided by a university, highlighted how refugees’ experiences helped them acquire ski...
Preprint
Inequality and deep poverty have risen sharply in the US since the 1990s. Simultaneously, support for cash-based welfare has fallen among conservatives, who hold more stigmatizing beliefs about welfare recipients. Universal Basic Income (UBI)—a policy that proposes to give cash to all citizens to meet basic needs—aims to combat both economic and so...
Article
Everyday maltreatments can threaten people's basic sense of being human. Can victims restore their sense of humanness after it has been damaged by an offense and, if so, how? Four studies compared forgiving and taking revenge as responses to victimization. In Study 1, participants recalled a time they either forgave or took revenge against someone...
Preprint
Research on group dehumanization has focused largely on the perpetrators of dehumanization or its negative emotional and cognitive effects on targets. We theorized that people would also reassert their humanness in response to dehumanizing portrayals of their group. Experiment 1 showed that Black participants responded to even an implied dehumanizi...
Article
Full-text available
Significance A new era of international development aspires to increase the dignity and capabilities of people in poverty. Yet narratives accompanying aid often reinforce stigmatizing views of those in poverty as deficient in their circumstances or ability. We find that typical deficit-focused narratives risk undermining the very goals of aid—to em...
Article
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How can we curb the current norm of unsustainable levels of meat consumption? Research on dynamic norms finds that learning that others are starting to eat less meat can inspire people to follow suit. Across four field experiments, we test efforts to scale dynamic-norm messages by incorporating them into restaurant and web-based menus. Studies 1–3...
Chapter
When bad things happen to people-like placement on academic probation, experiencing symptoms in a medical treatment, or difficulties with a baby-people can risk drawing negative, even catastrophic or stigmatizing inferences about themselves, other people, or their prospects. Ironically, these inferences can become self-fulfilling and undermine outc...
Article
Recent research has found that dynamic norms—information about collective change in behavior—can promote meaningful personal behavior change, even if that behavior is not currently the norm. Through what psychological processes do dynamic norms operate? We theorized that, when others change, it can lead observers to infer that whatever factors had...
Article
Full-text available
Long-standing social problems such as poor achievement, personal and intergroup conflict, bad health, and unhappiness can seem like permanent features of the social landscape. We describe an approach to such problems rooted in basic theory and research in social psychology. This approach emphasizes subjective meaning-making—working hypotheses peopl...
Article
It is well known that people conform to normative information about other people’s current attitudes and behaviors. Do they also conform to dynamic norms—information about how other people’s behavior is changing over time? We investigated this question in three online and two field experiments. Experiments 1 through 4 examined high levels of meat c...
Article
Full-text available
Significance In the United States, large, persistent gaps exist in the rates at which racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups complete postsecondary education, even when groups are equated on prior preparation. We test a method for preventing some of those gaps by providing individuals with a lay theory about the meaning of commonplace difficultie...
Article
We argue that social psychology has unique potential for advancing understanding of resilience. An exciting development that illustrates this is the emergence of social-psychological interventions – brief, stealthy, and psychologically precise interventions – that can yield broad and lasting benefits by targeting key resilience mechanisms. Such int...
Chapter
In recent years, several studies have shown that brief, theory-based social-psychological interventions can cause large, enduring effects on important outcomes, such as school achievement and marital relationships. How are such effects possible? We propose a field-theory model: this model distinguishes “nudge” interventions—interventions designed t...
Article
Background: Unconditional regard refers to the feeling that one is accepted and valued by others without conditions. Psychological theory suggests that experiences of unconditional regard lead children to feel that they are valuable despite setbacks. We hypothesized that reflecting on experiences of unconditional regard would buffer children's neg...
Article
Full-text available
Many important learning tasks feel uninteresting and tedious to learners. This research proposed that promoting a prosocial, self-transcendent purpose could improve academic self-regulation on such tasks. This proposal was supported in 4 studies with over 2,000 adolescents and young adults. Study 1 documented a correlation between a self-transcende...
Article
Over the past 20 years, a large body of laboratory and field research has shown that, when people perform in settings in which their group is negatively stereotyped, they may experience a phenomenon called stereotype threat that can undermine motivation and trust and cause underperformance. This review describes that research and places it into an...
Article
Citizens complete a survey the day before a major election; a change in the survey items' grammatical structure increases turnout by 11 percentage points. People answer a single question; their romantic relationships improve over several weeks. At-risk students complete a 1-hour reading-and-writing exercise; their grades rise and their health impro...
Article
In the present research, we examined the hypothesis that cues of social connectedness to a member of another social group can spark interest in the group's culture, and that such interest, when freely enacted, contributes to reductions in intergroup prejudice. In two pilot studies and Experiment 1, we found that extant and desired cross-group frien...
Article
Full-text available
Carefully devised and delivered psychological interventions catalyze the effects of high-quality educational reforms, but don't replace them.
Article
We argue that in important circumstances meritocracy can be realized only through a specific form of affirmative action we call affirmative meritocracy. These circumstances arise because common measures of academic performance systematically underestimate the intellectual ability and potential of members of negatively stereotyped groups (e.g., non-...
Article
An important consequence of negative stereotypes that impugn non-Asian ethnic minorities' intellectual ability and women's mathematical ability is to convey to the targets of these stereotypes that they are not seen as individuals, that they may not be fully valued or respected-that they may not belong-in academic settings. In this chapter, we revi...
Article
Full-text available
Recent randomized experiments have found that seemingly “small” social-psychological interventions in education—that is, brief exercises that target students’ thoughts, feelings, and beliefs in and about school—can lead to large gains in student achievement and sharply reduce achievement gaps even months and years later. These interventions do not...

Citations

... As a consequence, research on dynamic norms has received increasingly more attention over the past years. Studies almost unequivocally suggest that dynamic norms are highly effective in evoking desired behavior-from maintaining a safe physical distance during the Covid-19 pandemic (Neumer et al., 2022), to counteracting the ubiquitous Gender Pay Gap (Schuster et al., 2022), to promoting vegetarian meal choices via scalable interventions in restaurants and web-based menus (Sparkman et al., 2020). However, the influence of the norm source-that is, who communicates a dynamic norm-has so far received only scant attention (Vega-Zamora et al., 2019). ...
... Conversations about race may be highlighting group differences, or race-based harm such as inequality or discrimination. For example, Sanchez et al. (2022) found that while there are benefits to race-related conversations, Black participants were especially concerned about the risks in these conversations with White partners. It may be that having conversations about race daily may make racial minorities (who were a large proportion of our sample) anticipate more experiences with discrimination, which could lead to more unfavorable attitudes toward outgroup members. ...
... Liberman (2004) illustrates provides direct evidence for this phenomenon: study participants playing a prisoners dilemma game presented to them with the name "The Wall Street Game" (implying a norm of competition) were unlikely to cooperate, but those participants playing the same game presented as "The Community Game" (implying a norm of cooperation) were likely 8 to cooperate (Liberman, 2004). Similarly, messaging that suggests working together normscooperation with others toward a shared goal -can promote cooperative action (Howe et al., 2021;. Underestimating others' cooperative tendencies may decrease individuals' own cooperative behavior. ...
... For example, after Black students took an ethnic studies course that highlighted a national history of racism and discrimination, they had greater academic success and well-being (Bonilla et al., 2021;Brannon & Lin, 2021;Dee & Penner, 2017). In a set of studies with European refugees, primarily from middle eastern countries who were stigmatized, participants read messages endorsed by universities that clarified how their refugee status had helped prior students build useful skills and allowed them to be successful in their university (Bauer et al., 2021). This message and a reflection exercise increased refugees' engagement in online courses over a year (Bauer et al., 2021). ...
... Most of the theoretical models on conflict management and reconciliation processes either focus on the perspective of the victim or the perpetrator. They emphasize the separate needs of both parties involved (Shnabel & Nadler, 2008) or only measure the judgments or study the actions of either victims (e.g., Fehr et al., 2010;Schumann & Walton, 2022;Wade et al., 2014) or perpetrators (Ohbuchi et al., 1989;Schumann, 2018). Instead, in the current article we propose an integrative framework in which perpetrators and victims of interpersonal harm become tethered to each other. ...
... The narratives that accompany institutional policies can communicate ideas about what values matter and the characteristics of certain social groups (Feinberg & Willer, 2019;Shnabel, Dovidio, & Levin, 2016;Tankard & Paluck, 2017;Thomas, Otis, Abraham, Markus, & Walton, 2020;Walton & Brady, 2020). For instance, the name of the main cash welfare program in the US, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) implies that assistance should be temporary, because people may become dependent, and highlights recipients' neediness (Cooley, Brown-Iannuzzi, & Boudreau, 2019;Stuber & Kronebusch, 2004;Stuber & Schlesinger, 2006;Sykes, Križ, Edin, & Halpern-Meekin, 2015). ...
... The switch from meat to plant-based diet is not so widespread so far, even if it is an increasing trend. In this case, we can therefore focus on another type of social norm, namely a trending minority norm or dynamic descriptive norm [37][38][39]. Such a norm implies that increasingly more people are beginning to engage in a given behavior. ...
... The narratives that accompany institutional policies can communicate ideas about what values matter and the characteristics of certain social groups (Feinberg & Willer, 2019;Shnabel, Dovidio, & Levin, 2016;Tankard & Paluck, 2017;Thomas, Otis, Abraham, Markus, & Walton, 2020;Walton & Brady, 2020). For instance, the name of the main cash welfare program in the US, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) implies that assistance should be temporary, because people may become dependent, and highlights recipients' neediness (Cooley, Brown-Iannuzzi, & Boudreau, 2019;Stuber & Kronebusch, 2004;Stuber & Schlesinger, 2006;Sykes, Križ, Edin, & Halpern-Meekin, 2015). ...
... The switch from meat to plant-based diet is not so widespread so far, even if it is an increasing trend. In this case, we can therefore focus on another type of social norm, namely a trending minority norm or dynamic descriptive norm [37][38][39]. Such a norm implies that increasingly more people are beginning to engage in a given behavior. ...
... In this intervention study, the self-determination theory (Deci, Deci, & Ryan, 1985; and its mini-theory (i.e., basic psychological needs theory; Ryan & Deci, 2017;Vansteenkiste et al., 2010;Vansteenkiste et al., 2020) was integrated with wise interventions (Walton & Wilson, 2018;Walton & Yeager, 2020) to develop a brief intervention administered within an online learning task. The aim of the intervention is to foster intrinsic motivation for students' online tasks. ...