Herbert Bless's research while affiliated with Universität Mannheim and other places

Publications (129)

Article
We propose that an organizational culture where playing politics is important for advancement, compared with an organizational culture where showing competencies is important, elicits stronger lack of fit experiences for women than for men. In a pre-study, playing politics was perceived as dominant, typically male work behaviors, whereas showing co...
Article
Many researchers and practitioners consider ethnic segregation in neighborhoods, or schools detrimental to migrants’ acculturation in host societies. Empirically, however, segregation is a “mixed bag” and its effects depend crucially on the investigated acculturation domain (e.g., negative for language skills, positive for well-being). As most prio...
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Outstandingly prosocial individuals may not always be valued and admired, but sometimes depreciated and rejected. While prior research has mainly focused on devaluation of highly competent or successful individuals, comparable research in the domain of prosociality is scarce. The present research suggests two mechanisms why devaluation of extreme p...
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People tend to be overly critical of their own displays of vulnerability, whereas observers evaluate others' showing of vulnerability rather positively (beautiful mess effect). We propose that self-compassion might buffer against such misperceptions of one's own vulnerabilities. When confronted with challenging situations, self-compassionate people...
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Our research examines the relationship between just-world beliefs and helping. Specifically, we pose that the belief in just world increases helping intentions via perceptions of meaning in life. Consistently, across two studies we found that higher levels of just-world beliefs corresponded with stronger helping intentions. In Study 1, individual d...
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Prior research has documented linear detrimental effects of commuting on individuals’ life satisfaction: the longer individuals’ daily commute, the less satisfied they are with their life. An inspection of the available longitudinal evidence suggests that this conclusion is almost exclusively based on a continuous operationalization of commuting ti...
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Experimental research suggests that high power and leadership result in the experience of more positive and less negative emotions. Extending these findings of experimental manipulations, we investigated relations between power and subjective well-being in a representative national survey. Defining power as the capability to administer resources or...
Article
Confessing romantic feelings, asking for help, or taking responsibility for a mistake constitute just a few examples of situations that require showing one's vulnerability. Out of fear, many individuals decide against it. To explore whether these fears are reflected in the evaluation of others, we investigate self-other differences in evaluation of...
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Launching new products is associated with high costs and risks. One popular strategy for reducing associated costs is brand transfer. In a brand transfer, an existing brand is used to launch a new product. Yet, a large number of brand transfers fail, so that brand transfer often does not reduce, but increase associated risks. The present contributi...
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This research aimed at testing whether the association of formality of clothing with mental abstraction found in prior research depends on whether individuals are (made) aware of the formality of their clothing prior to measuring mental abstraction. In two preregistered studies participants estimated the formality of their clothing and performed an...
Book
Social cognition is a key area of social psychology, which focuses on cognitive processes that are involved when individuals make sense of, and navigate in their social world. For instance, individuals need to understand what they perceive, they learn and recall information from memory, they form judgments and decisions, they communicate with other...
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The present research investigates the relation between different domain satisfactions (e.g., health, income, etc.) and overall life satisfaction. Based on theorizing on the differences between positive and negative information, we assumed that specific domain satisfactions particularly are correlated with overall life satisfaction when the specific...
Article
The present study examined the relation between conservatism and life satisfaction. Analyses based on data from a representative German survey (ALLBUS 2010) revealed a positive relation between conservatism and self-reported life satisfaction, thus supporting prior claims of this link. Different accounts have been proposed for this relationship, su...
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Individuals can apply different processing strategies to deal with situations they encounter. One central question in social-cognition research refers to the factors that determine reliance on different processing strategies. Parting from a functional perspective, which holds that processing strategies need to be adjusted to the requirements of the...
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The investigation of context effects in social judgment has revealed numerous variables that influence the emergence of assimilation and contrast effects as consequences of social priming. The present manuscript provides an overview of the core findings of this research. The discussion of the variables determining assimilation versus contrast is em...
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Individuals consider abstract values and principles important aspects of their identities. Nonetheless, they often make judgments and decisions that contradict these values and principles for the sake of pragmatic benefits. Assuming that the process of weighting idealistic and pragmatic concerns is context sensitive, the present research argues tha...
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The main advantage of experimental research lies in the possibility of systematically investigating the causal relation between the variables of interest. The well-known advantages result from (a) the possibility to manipulate the independent variable, (b) random assignment of participants to the experimental conditions, and (c) the experimenter’s...
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Individuals consider abstract values and principles important aspects of their identities. Nonetheless, they often make judgments and decisions that contradict these values and principles for the sake of pragmatic benefits. Assuming that the process of weighting idealistic and pragmatic concerns is context sensitive, the present research argues tha...
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Repeated statements are more frequently judged to be true. One position relates this so-called “truth effect” to metacognitive experiences of fluency, suggesting that repeated statements are more frequently judged to be true because they are processed more fluently. Although most prior research focused on why repetition influences truth judgments,...
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Trust has been identified as a key ingredient to the prosperity of close relationships, organizations, and societies. While research mainly focused on the antecedents and consequences of trust, much less is known about how individuals assess whether there are enough reasons to warrant trustful action. Two experiments explored the how and when of th...
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This research addresses flow theory according to which the compatibility of skills and task demands involved in an activity elicits flow experiences that render the activity intrinsically rewarding. Departing from correlational research, we applied experimental paradigms designed to test the impact of a skills-demands-compatibility on the emergence...
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Although people have been shown to rely on feelings to make judgments, the conditions that moderate this reliance have not been systematically reviewed and conceptually integrated. This article addresses this gap by jointly reviewing moderators of the reliance on both subtle affective feelings and cognitive feelings of ease-of-retrieval. The review...
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Procedural justice concerns play a critical role in economic settings, politics, and other domains of human life. Despite the vast evidence corroborating their relevance, considerably less is known about how procedural justice judgments are formed. Whereas earlier theorizing focused on the systematic integration of content information, the present...
Article
The inclusion/exclusion model provides an integrative framework for conceptualizing the emergence of assimilation and contrast effects in evaluative judgment. The model assumes that feature-based evaluative judgments require a mental representation of the object of judgment (target) and of a standard to which the target is compared. Both representa...
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Prior research has shown that activated concepts may influence subsequent interpretation and judgmental processes via priming. Building on this evidence, we suggest that the fluency associated with concept activation may determine whether activated content elicits assimilation or contrast. In two experiments, concept activation in a typical priming...
Article
The inclusion/exclusion model provides an integrative framework for conceptualizing the emergence of assimilation and contrast effects in evaluative judgment. The model assumes that feature-based evaluative judgments require a mental representation of the object of judgment (target) and of a standard to which the target is compared. Both representa...
Article
Prior research suggests that duration bias—the tendency to overestimate the duration of affective states—is due to individuals' inordinate focus on event-related information. We propose that the impact of focusing on event-related (vs. unrelated) content is moderated by the ease with which the information is brought to mind. In the present experime...
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The present research investigates the influence on cooperative behavior of accessibility experiences associated with the retrieval of fairness-relevant information from memory. We argue that the decision whether to cooperate in negotiations depends not only on information about the appropriateness of the negotiation procedure, but also on the exper...
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The present research investigates the impact of negative and positive stereotypic expectancies on cognitive test performance. A theoretical framework that relates expectancy effects to self-regulatory processes as postulated by Regulatory Focus Theory (RFT) is presented. Building on the differential sensitivity hypothesis proposed in this theoretic...
Article
The authors propose that the experience of flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 2000) as reflected in the deep involvement in an activity perceived as intrinsically rewarding represents a regulatory compatibility experience. The research addresses the notion that the compatibility of critical person (e.g., skills) and environmental factors (e.g., demands) invol...
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The relationship between level of depressive symptomatology and reliance on the ease-ofretrieval heuristic was investigated. In two studies, differences in ease-of-retrieval were instigated by means of the paradigm introduced by Schwarz and colleagues (1991). Subsequently, participants were screened for depressive symptoms with the ADS (Allgemeine-...
Article
Both fairness and trust are crucial to our willingness to cooperate with others. Whereas the importance of both fairness and trust for social interactions has been subject to empirical investigation, less is known about the interplay between the two constructs. In the present work, we investigated whether procedural fairness causally determines tru...
Article
The present research investigates the influence on cooperative behavior of accessibility experiences associated with the retrieval of fairness-relevant information from memory. We argue that the decision whether to cooperate in negotiations depends not only on information about the appropriateness of the negotiation procedure, but also on the exper...
Chapter
IntroductionMood and MemoryMood and Evaluative JudgmentsMood and Style of Information ProcessingConclusions and Outlook
Article
Three studies investigated the interplay between processing capacity and reliance on accessibility experiences versus reliance on accessible content. Participants low in processing capacity were more likely to rely on the experience of ease versus difficulty, whereas participants high in processing capacity were more likely to base their judgment o...
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The current study demonstrates the role of conversational processes in order effects in persuasive communications. Conversational rules guide individuals' expectations about the position of the most important arguments within a persuasive message. We argue that these expectations contribute to the influence of arguments on attitude change, that is,...
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Three studies investigate the impact of effortful constructive processing on framing effects. The results replicated previous findings: Participants avoided the risky option when the scenario was framed in terms of gains, but preferred this option when the scenario was framed in terms of losses. Importantly, framing effects were most pronounced whe...
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Investigates the influence of mood and brand favorability on the evaluation of brand extensions. It is argued that affective states have an impact on the likelihood that the evaluation of a new product is based on the implications of the brand rather than on the implications of the features of the new product. Specifically, participants reported mo...
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This paper presents empirical evidence corroborating the idea that procedural justice judgments are not only based on the accessible content information about the procedure, but also on accessibility experiences that accompany the accession of content about the procedure. Four experiments support the hypothesis that people judge a selection procedu...
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Two studies examined the impact of chronic and situational self-regulatory mechanisms on cognitive test performance. In both studies, test performance was enhanced when situationally induced regulatory mechanisms matched the chronic self-regulatory focus of the test taker. These results support the regulatory fit hypothesis put forward in regulator...
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The impact of diagnostic information on judgments and in decision making is often reduced when additional, nondiagnostic information is presented. This article argues that the diluting impact of nondiagnostic information results in part from rules of everyday communication,which usually grant relevance to presented information.In an experimental te...
Article
The principle of natural selection, which emphasizes the role of reproductive fitness, is at the heart of every Darwinian evolutionary theory. It is based on the fundamental assumption that three principles guide the evolutionary process: phenotypic variation, differential fitness, and heritability. According to this general model, individual diffe...
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Based on a conversational logic framework (Grice, 1975), we examined the implications of rewarding performance on a reasoning task. We argued that, in the interaction between experimenter and participant, financial incentives signal that a problem requires effort and that its solution is difficult to find. Thus, we hypothesized that reward would le...
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Three studies investigate the impact of the amount of elaboration on framing effects. In all three studies, participants were exposed to decision scenarios similar to the �Asian disease� problem (Tversky & Kahneman, 1981). The results replicated previous findings: Participants avoided the risky option when the scenario was framed in terms of gains,...
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In strategic decision situations, as they are modeled in games, the outcome of decisions depend on all decision-makers involved. In such situations people make different decisions when moving simultaneously compared to moving sequentially without knowledge of earlier moves. This is called the timing-effect, which cannot be explained by classical ga...
Article
The principle of natural selection, which emphasizes the role of reproductive fitness, is at the heart of every Darwinian evolutionary theory. It is based on the fundamental assumption that three principles guide the evolutionary process: phenotypic variation, differential fitness, and heritability. According to this general model, individual diffe...
Article
Two experiments examined the influence of affect on the acceptance of cultural diversity. In Experiment 1, the salience of affective reactions towards Turkish immigrants was manipulated by asking German participants to think about their negative feelings towards Turks in general or towards a subgroup of Turks. It was found that the salience of nega...
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Four studies investigate the relationship between individuals' mood and their reliance on the ease retrieval heuristic. Happy participants were consistently more likely to rely on the ease of retrieval heuristic, whereas sad participants were more likely to rely on the activated content. Additional analyses indicate that this pattern is not due to...
Article
This paper investigates order effects in one-sided and two-sided communications. While most theorizing attributes both primacy and recency effects to cognitive processes (e.g., attention decrement), we propose that, in addition, communicative aspects play a central role in the emergence of order effects. We postulate that individuals—drawing on con...
Article
This chapter reviews determinants of the size of assimilation and contrast effects in social judgment.
Article
Zusammenfassung: Basierend auf dem Inklusions-Exklusionsmodell (Schwarz & Bless, 1992) wurde in einem Experiment der Einfluss einer beruflich erfolgreichen - und damit stereotyp-inkonsistenten Frau - auf die stereotype Beurteilung von Frauen im Allgemeinen untersucht. Das Beispiel einer stereotyp-inkonsistenten Frau reduzierte nur dann die stereoty...
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The present research relates recent research on the ease of retrieval heuristic to the impact of negative stereotypic expectations on test performance. It is argued that when individuals recall information that supports negative stereotypic expectations, this activation may impair test performance relative to conditions where no stereotypic expecta...
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In two experimental studies we investigated how false memory reports provided by anonymous group members affect individuals' recognition. Participants were presented with a series of salient and non-salient objects and recognition memory was subsequently assessed for presented and non-presented stimuli. In this recognition test, participants were c...
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To provide an informative answer to a question, communicators need to determine its intended meaning which often requires extensive inferences based on contextual information. The current studies test if a given piece of contextual information is more influential when it is unique to the question asked rather than shared by several questions. Two e...
Article
Previous research has demonstrated that people are not accurate in predicting affective states that result from decisions or events. Recent studies (e.g., Gilbert, Pinel, Wilson, Blumberg & Wheatley, 1998) suggest that individuals overestimate the duration of affective responses. We assume that individuals arrive at different forecasts as a functio...
Chapter
Das vorliegende Kapitel beschäftigt sich mit der Verarbeitung sozialer Informationen und gibt einen Überblick über eine Reihe von Ansätzen in der Sozialpsychologie, die Begriffe und Methoden aus der kognitiven Psychologie eingeführt haben. Die kognitiven Prozesse, die an der Wahrnehmung, der Enkodierung, dem Denken, dem Schlussfolgern, dem Erinnern...
Article
In the target article, Forgas (this issue) presents his affect infusion model (AIM), which attempts to ac-count for a wide spectrum of phenomena in the inter-play of affect and cognition. Specifically, it is proposed that the model explains how affect influences both what information is processed (i.e., content) and how this information is processe...
Article
Zusammenfassung: Bisher fanden sich bei der Untersuchung von Vorurteilen gegenuber ethnischen Minoritaten haufig nur geringe Korrelationen zwischen impliziten Einstellungsmasen und expliziten sozialen Urteilen. Im vorliegenden Artikel wird argumentiert, das das Ausbleiben von Zusammenhangen unter anderem dadurch begrundet ist, das automatisch aktiv...
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Previous studies have reported weak correlations between automatic associations toward ethnic minorities and social judgments. The present report argues that automatic associations are more strongly related to social judgments when the amount of processing is low rather than high. The study reported here examined whether automatic associations and...
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We report two studies investigating the impact of how a stereotype-inconsistent exemplar is categorized. In both studies, participants were presented with a description about a specific target and worked on different categorization tasks. Categorization tasks eliciting an inclusion of the target into the group category resulted in less stereotypic...
Article
Four studies, set in the political and marketing domain, investigated how an extreme exemplar influences the evaluation of more moderate exemplars. In Studies 1 to 3, an extremely positive exemplar (star) elicited contrast in the evaluation of more moderate exemplars. However, the contrast effect was eliminated when the shared category membership o...
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Presents a review of 4 experiments to examine whether information provided directly and indirectly by others would systematically influence individuals' memory performance, focusing on the application of social comparison to memory. Exp 1 examined the moderating role of item salience on recollection. Exp 2 assessed suboptimal encoding conditions as...
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This article investigates how the activation of a specific exemplar influences the direction and the size of context effects on evaluative judgments about other specific exemplars or about a superordinate category. The activation of an untrustworthy politician decreased judgments of trustworthiness of politicians in general but increased judgments...
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The impact of ad -hoc-categories on the emergence of context effects in consumer evaluations was investigated. All participants were exposed to the same four products but were induced to assign the products to different ad hoc categories, depending on experimental conditions. The categorisation tasks resulted in markedly different evaluations of th...
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We investigated how the perceived typicality of context information for a target category moderates whether that information produces assimilation or contrast in the target evaluation. To manipulate context information, we increased the accessibility of either positive or negative exemplars. These exemplars were pretested to seem moderately typical...
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Research on brand extensions has mainly focused on the similarity between the extension and the core brand as a determinant of assimilation of the extension to the core brand. The studies reported here (a) investigate how the evaluation of an extension can be influenced by means other than actual product similarity and (b) emphasize the role of con...
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Two experiments demonstrate that thinking about a given politician may result in assimilation as well as contrast effects in evolutions of the politician's party. In two experiments, assimilation effects were observed when an experimental categorization task elicited the inclusion of a highly respected politician in the representation formed of his...
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Participants were exposed to the "asian disease" problem (Tversky & Kahneman, 1981). When the problem was subtly framed as a medical decision problem previous findings replicated: Participants avoided the risky option when the problem was framed positively, but preferred the risky option when the problem was framed negatively. This reversal of pref...
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We investigated how individuals in different mood states are influenced by category membership information, by individuating information, and by the relation of the two in an impression formation task. Subjects in different mood states received positive or negative individuating information and positive or negative category information about a targ...
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Experienced ease of thought generation was found to affect the impact of thought valence on attitude judgments. Participants generated either three or seven arguments that were either in favor or opposed to a specific issue. After generating three arguments, which was experienced as easy, participants' reported attitudes reflected the implications...