Matthew J. Hornsey's research while affiliated with The University of Waikato and other places

Publications (216)

Article
Although magical beliefs (such as belief in luck and precognition) are presumably universal, the extent to which such beliefs are embraced likely varies across cultures. We assessed the effect of culture on luck and precognition beliefs in two large-scale multinational studies (Study 1: k = 16, N = 17,664; Study 2: k = 25, N = 4,024). Over and abov...
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The Australian bushfires in 2019–2020 triggered massive amounts of charitable giving from the community. We applied agenda‐setting theory to examine if and how disaster news coverage influenced public donations in response to the crisis. A survey of 949 Australians found that people perceived news coverage of the event to be a strong influence on t...
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Conspiracy beliefs are not just generated by “under-the-skull” individual factors, but are shaped also by cultural, economic, and institutional realities. A scan of the literature – complemented by our own secondary data analyses – suggests a reasonable convergence of evidence that conspiracy beliefs are higher in nations that are more corrupt, mor...
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Identifying historical patterns of fluctuation in climate change skepticism guides researchers, policy makers, and science communicators in efforts to catalyze change in the future. We analyzed data from 25 nationally representative polls collected in Australia from 2009 to 2019 (N = 20,655). Although it remains concerningly high, climate skepticis...
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Millions of charities compete for donations, yet no empirical study has examined patterns of shared giving behavior across the nonprofit sector. To understand which types of charities are more likely to share donors, we conducted a social network analysis using behavioral data from 1,504,848 donors to 52 large charities in Australia. Three hypothes...
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There is currently a surge in interest from both private and government sectors in developing technology for mining asteroids and the moon (“space mining”). One of the key benefits highlighted by advocates of space mining is that it minimizes the usual problems associated with mining on earth in terms of pollution, environmental degradation, and en...
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There is a double standard in public responses to scandals: Nonprofits are penalized more harshly than commercial organizations for the same transgression (the “moral disillusionment effect”). However, previous research—focused on commercial organizations—has sometimes shown that a positive reputation can insure organizations against the negative e...
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This review summarizes theory and research on how worldviews shape people’s orientation toward climate change. Two broad worldviews are examined: (1) those relating to views about the role of the State in regulating individuals and businesses (i.e. free-market ideology; individualism) and (2) those relating to views about social structure (i.e. soc...
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There is broad theoretical consensus that one way to promote climate-friendly behavior is to increase people's belief that their actions can make a difference (individual response efficacy). However, attempts to increase individual efficacy beliefs about climate change through explicit instruction have generally failed. In the current paper, two ex...
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The COVID-19 pandemic has extensively changed the state of psychological science from what research questions psychologists can ask to which methodologies psychologists can use to investigate them. In this article, we offer a perspective on how to optimize new research in the pandemic’s wake. Because this pandemic is inherently a social phenomenon—...
Preprint
Magical thinking is considered a human universal and is evidenced across cultures. However, the extent to which magical thinking is embraced likely varies across cultures, whereby some cultures are more ‘magic tolerant’ than others. We assessed the effect of culture on magical thinking, operationalized as beliefs in luck and precognition, in two la...
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We tested whether the impact of an organizational transgression on consumer sentiment differs depending on whether the organization is a nonprofit. Competing hypotheses were tested: (1) that people expect higher ethical standards from a nonprofit than a commercial organization, and so having this expectation violated generates a harsher response (t...
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Objectives: Increasing vaccination hesitancy threatens societies' capacity to contain pandemics and other diseases. One factor that is positively associated with vaccination intentions is a supportive subjective norm (i.e., the perception that close others approve of vaccination). On the downside, there is evidence that negative attitudes toward v...
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Trust is assumed to be important for charitable giving. However, disparate associations have been found, and recent theoretical approaches emphasize motives for giving that do not rely on trust. To resolve this tension, we conducted a systematic review of evidence generated between 1988 and 2020. A meta-analysis of 69 effect sizes from 42 studies s...
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There is growing interest in the role of linguistic cues (accents, dialects, language) in driving children’s social preferences. This meta‐analysis integrated 131 effect sizes involving 2,680 infants and children from 2 days old to 11 years. Overall, children prefer native‐accent, native‐dialect, and native‐language speakers over non‐native counter...
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People who believe they have greater efficacy to address climate change are more likely to engage in pro-environmental behaviour. To confront the climate crisis, it will therefore be essential to understand the processes through which climate change efficacy is promoted. Some interventions in the literature assume that efficacy emerges from analyti...
Preprint
Understanding the factors associated with vaccine skepticism is challenging because of the “small pockets” problem: the number of highly vaccine-skeptical people is low, and small sub-samples such as these can be missed using traditional regression approaches. To overcome this problem, the current study (N=5200) used latent profile analysis to unco...
Article
Understanding the factors associated with vaccine skepticism is challenging because of the “small pockets” problem: the number of highly vaccine-skeptical people is low, and small sub-samples such as these can be missed using traditional regression approaches. To overcome this problem, the current study (N=5200) used latent profile analysis to unco...
Article
We examined whether people who are prone to believe COVID‐19 conspiracy theories are characterised by an especially strong concern for others or an especially strong concern for the self, and whether these orientations are associated with willingness to take a COVID‐19 vaccine. We surveyed 4,245 participants from eight nations; three months later w...
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Objective As many governments have turned to contact tracing mobile applications (CTMAs) yet public adoption of such systems has been relatively low, the main objective of this paper is to profile adopters (and non-adopters) of Australia’s COVIDSafe CTMA. Materials and methods We use latent profile analysis to examine predictors of CTMA download b...
Article
Efforts to change the attitudes of creationists, antivaccination advocates, and climate skeptics by simply providing evidence have had limited success. Motivated reasoning helps make sense of this communication challenge: If people are motivated to hold a scientifically unorthodox belief, they selectively interpret evidence to reinforce their prefe...
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Recent high-profile scandals suggest the potential for a crisis of trust in charities, which could have negative consequences for the nonprofit sector as a whole. Although widespread, this crisis narrative has not yet been subjected to empirical examination. To assess the extent to which public trust has changed over time, we examined trust in nong...
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Girls have much lower mathematics self-efficacy than boys, a likely contributor to the under-representation of women in STEM. To help explain this gender confidence gap, we examined predictors of mathematics self-efficacy in a sample of 1,007 9th graders aged 13–18 years (54.2% girls). Participants completed a standardized math test, after which th...
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Cultured meat offers a potential alternative to factory farming and its associated problems. Despite this, public opinion about cultured meat is mixed. One concern cited by many potential consumers is that cultured meat is "unnatural". Although there has been much interest in this perspective, there has been virtually no research exploring the psyc...
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Donald Trump is the first U.S. President to be on the record as having anti-vaccination attitudes. Given his enormous reach and influence, it is worthwhile examining the extent to which allegiance to Trump is associated with the public's perceptions of vaccine safety and efficacy. In both Study 1 (N = 518) and Study 2 (N = 316), Trump voters were s...
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Rationale and Objective It is well established that people who use complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) are, on the whole, more vaccine hesitant. One possible conclusion that can be drawn from this is that trusting CAM results in people becoming more vaccine hesitant. An alternative possibility is that vaccine hesitancy and use of CAM are...
Preprint
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It is well established that people who use complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) are, on the whole, more vaccine hesitant. One possible conclusion that can be drawn from this is that trusting CAM results in people becoming more vaccine hesitant. An alternative possibility is that vaccine hesitancy and use of CAM are both downstream conseque...
Article
The partisan divide between Republicans and Democrats on climate change is large and shows no signs of narrowing. However, a new analysis shows that Republicans’ climate change attitudes were relatively unstable between 2014–2018, triggering cautious optimism that a tipping point in attitudes might be around the corner.
Article
Across two studies (Ns = 265 and 735), we investigated whether women’s endorsement of hostile (HS) and benevolent sexism (BS) moderate their experience of collective threat and subsequent hostility toward traditional and non-traditional female subtypes. As expected, HS was positively associated with intra-gender hostility towards the non-traditiona...
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Westerners of Asian descent emphasize their engagement with national culture to assert their national identity. The present research investigates whether this strategy effectively enhances observers’ perceptions of Asian Westerners’ national identity. In Study 1 ( N = 160), Australian participants evaluated an Asian or White target, manipulated to...
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Responses to climate change are strongly linked to political identity and therefore any efforts to promote climate change policy need to take political identity into account. In the current research, we developed communication strategies, informed by the social identity approach, that promoted climate change policies to Republicans and Democrats. I...
Chapter
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Nuestros resultados muestran que las variables sociodemográficas clásicas tienen una menor incidencia en las actitudes hacia la vacunación que otras características psicosociales, y especialmente que los valores y actitudes asociadas a la ciencia y la tecnología. El mayor precursor de la reticencia hacia la vacunación es la desconfianza en la medic...
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The majority of women have faked an orgasm at least once in their lives. In the current study, we assessed how women’s worldviews about gender relate to their faking orgasm behavior. A survey of 462 heterosexual women from the UK (Mage=38.38 years) found that those who espoused anti-feminist values—that is, those high in hostile sexism—had faked si...
Article
Public apologies struggle to communicate genuineness. Previous studies have shown that, in response to public apologies, perceptions of remorse and levels of forgiveness are often low, while skepticism about motive is high. Furthermore, attempts to reduce mistrust of public apologies by manipulating the verbal component of the message have had limi...
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For over 50 years, scientists have sounded alarms that the burning of fossil fuels is causing changes to the Earth's climate, and that failure to take action on climate change will have devastating consequences. Despite this urgency, CO2 emissions (and global temperatures) continue to climb. Progress on mitigating climate change is slowed by the st...
Article
Moral elevation is a self-transcendent positive emotion arising from appraisals of moral excellence, which induces feelings of connectedness to other humans. However, no previous published research has investigated whether the effects of moral elevation extend to facilitate feelings of connection with the natural world. In two studies (Ns = 96 and...
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Pain overlap theory has generated decades of controversy and still receives considerable research attention. A major advance has been the revelation that social and physical pain activate similar neural regions, providing suggestive evidence of a “piggybacked” alarm system that coevolved to detect social exclusion. Recent developments, however, hav...
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A four-wave survey on a national probabilistic sample (N = 17,399) tested novel predictions about how positive and negative contact with racial out-groups predicts warmth and anger toward those groups. Three competing hypotheses were tested: (a) that negative contact will outweigh positive contact when predicting both emotions (“bad is stronger tha...
Article
Background: Group therapy is a popular and effective format for psychological intervention, and both anecdotal and empirical data consistently point to group dynamics as a primary driver of its benefits. However, to date there has been no systematic investigation of what facilitates an engaged, cohesive group environment. We argue that this is soc...
Preprint
Cultured meat is an emerging food technology that has the potential to resolve many of the social, environmental and ethical issues surrounding traditional factory farming practices. Recently, research has begun to explore consumer attitudes to the product, revealing a number of barriers and demographic predictors. However, our understanding of the...
Article
Cultured meat is an emerging food technology that has the potential to resolve many of the social, environmental and ethical issues surrounding traditional factory farming practices. Recently, research has begun to explore consumer attitudes to the product, revealing a number of barriers and demographic predictors. However, our understanding of the...
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Full-text available
In the political arena, grassroots movements often emerge that express remorse or push for a collective apology in response to ingroup wrongdoing. Often this comes independently of (or as a counterforce to) official responses by the political leadership. Research has not yet clarified the effect of such public expressions of remorse on intergroup f...
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As a general theory of extreme self-sacrifice, Whitehouse's article misses one relevant dimension: people's willingness to fight and die in support of entities not bound by biological markers or ancestral kinship (allyship). We discuss research on moral expansiveness, which highlights individuals’ capacity to self-sacrifice for targets that lie out...
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We investigate women’s and men’s willingness to engage in action on behalf of women, and we identify two distinct categories of behavior: action that aims to challenge gender inequality (feminist action) and action that aims to protect women from violence (protective action). Three online studies were conducted. For each study, a U.S. community sam...
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Moral expansiveness refers to the range of entities (human and non-human) deemed worthy of moral concern and treatment. Previous research has established that the Moral Expansiveness Scale (MES) is a powerful predictor of altruistic moral decision-making and captures a unique dimension of moral cognition. However, the length of the full MES may be...
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Studies showing that scepticism about anthropogenic climate change is shaped, in part, by conspiratorial and conservative ideologies are based on data primarily collected in the United States. Thus, it may be that the ideological nature of climate change beliefs reflects something distinctive about the United States rather than being an internation...
Article
Tryon (2018) states that our proposed attitude roots are “effectively and functionally unconscious” (p. 685) and proposes connectionist neural network models as a mechanism for explaining these unconscious processes. In our response, we disagree with the presumption that our attitude roots necessarily operate at an unconscious level. Although some...
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In a seminal theory piece, Weisz and colleagues argued that control over one’s environment was less attainable and desirable in Japan than in America. Subsequently, many scholars have extrapolated from this argument to claim broad-based cultural differences in control: that Western/individualist cultures perceive and desire more personal control ov...
Article
The maximization principle—that people aspire to the highest possible level of something good if all practical constraints are removed—is a common yet untested assumption about human nature. We predict that in holistic cultures—where contradiction, change, and context are emphasized—ideal states of being for the self will be more moderate than in o...
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Although our planet feels indescribably large, in the context of the universe it is infinitesimally small. For some, the feeling of smallness associated with being reminded of the vastness of the universe might represent a psychological threat. For others, it could be a self-transcendent experience, helping them rise above self-focused concerns and...
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Objective: Strengthening of antivaccination movements in recent decades has coincided with unprecedented increases in the incidence of some communicable diseases. Many intervention programs work from a deficit model of science communication, presuming that vaccination skeptics lack the ability to access or understand evidence. However, interventio...
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Theorists have long noted that people’s moral circles have expanded over the course of history, with modern people extending moral concern to entities—both human and nonhuman—that our ancestors would never have considered including within their moral boundaries. In recent decades, researchers have sought a comprehensive understanding of the psychol...
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We investigate the extent to which minority group members are surrounded by outgroup members in their immediate environment as a predictor of social dominance orientation. Using a large representative sample of New Zealanders, we found that minority group members in outgroup dense environments reported lower levels of social dominance orientation (...
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Lifetime rates of clinical depression and anxiety in the West tend to be approximately 4 to 10 times greater than rates in Asia. In this review, we explore one possible reason for this cross-cultural difference, that Asian cultures think differently about emotion than do Western cultures and that these different systems of thought help explain why...
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Positive contact with advantaged group members can improve disadvantaged group members’ attitudes towards them, yet it may also lower perceptions of group discrimination and consequent collective action. Little is known, however, about how negative contact with the advantaged predicts collective action among members of disadvantaged groups. With sa...
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This article examines the proposition that conservatives will be less willing than liberals to apologize and less likely to forgive after receiving an apology. In Study 1, we found evidence for both relationships in a nine-nation survey. In Study 2, participants wrote an open-ended response to a victim of a hypothetical transgression they had commi...
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We examine how women high in social dominance orientation reconcile supporting a social system that seemingly disadvantages them. We propose that women high in social dominance orientation are more likely to adopt a benevolently sexist worldview. This paper contains data from two survey studies. Study 1 used data from the New Zealand Attitudes and...
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We examined whether past positive and negative interracial contact predict people's views of interracial police violence. White (N = 207) and Black (N = 116) Americans reported on their past intergroup experiences before viewing information about one of two true events involving the death of a Black man at the hands of a White police officer. For W...
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There is a worryingly large chasm between scientific consensus and popular opinion. Roughly one third of Americans are skeptical that humans are primarily responsible for climate change; rates of some infectious diseases are climbing in the face of antiimmunization beliefs; and significant numbers of the population worldwide are antievolution creat...
Article
The sincerity of an apology is often critical for it to be viewed positively by victims. For collective apologies, we argue that sincerity takes on a particular meaning: It is a function of the apology’s perceived representativeness for the offender group’s will or sentiment. Consistent with this notion, when an apologetic (vs. nonapologetic) messa...
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Political apologies by one group to another often occur a significant period of time after the original transgression. What effect does such a delay have on perceptions of sincerity and forgiveness? A delayed apology could reflect the offender group's reluctance to apologize, or, alternatively, it could represent time and consideration spent on dev...
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Positive contact predicts reduced prejudice, but negative contact may increase prejudice at a stronger rate. The current project builds on this work in four ways: establishing an understanding of contact that is grounded in subjective experience, examining the affective mediators involved in the negative contact–prejudice relationship, extending re...
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After an intergroup transgression, victims often advocate for a collective apology that the transgressor group is reluctant to provide. We argue that this is partly caused by a discrepancy in the extent to which victim and perpetrator group members appraise transgressions through an intergroup lens. In three experiments, participants read about ind...
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Over centuries women have fought hard to obtain increasing gender equality, but despite these successes absolute equality remains an elusive goal. Theoretically, women’s numerical strength makes them well-placed to take effective collective action, and millions of women engage in feminist collective action every day. In this article, however, we ar...
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Previous research on subclinical orgasmic difficulties among women has focused on intrapsychic and interpersonal variables, but little attention has been paid to the more distal ideological factors that might indirectly constrain sexual pleasure. We hypothesized that women’s endorsement of a benevolently sexist worldview would be negatively associa...
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Day-to-day interactions often involve individuals interacting with groups, but little is known about the criteria that people use to decide which groups to approach or trust and which to avoid or distrust. Seven studies provide evidence for a “small = trustworthy” heuristic, such that people perceive numerically smaller groups as more benevolent in...
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For the first time this millennium, growth in carbon emissions has slowed. Indeed, the year 2014 was the first time in 40 years that the planet saw zero growth in emissions. We examine whether this message of progress can be effective in motivating people to engage in mitigation efforts. This question dovetails with commentary suggesting that gloom...