Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Religion, Repulsion, and Reaction Formation: Transforming Repellent Attractions and Repulsions

Religion, Repulsion, and Reaction Formation: Transforming Repellent Attractions and Repulsions. Dov Cohen, Emily Kim and Nathan Hudson. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28604017

Abstract: Protestants were more likely than non-Protestants to demonstrate phenomena consistent with the use of reaction formation. Lab experiments showed that when manipulations were designed to produce taboo attractions (to unconventional sexual practices), Protestants instead showed greater repulsion. When implicitly conditioned to produce taboo repulsions (to African Americans), Protestants instead showed greater attraction. Supportive evidence from other studies came from clinicians’ judgments, defense mechanism inventories, and a survey of respondent attitudes. Other work showed that Protestants who diminished and displaced threatening affect were more likely to sublimate this affect into creative activities; the present work showed that Protestants who do not or cannot diminish or displace such threatening affect instead reverse it. Traditional individual difference variables showed little ability to predict reaction formation, suggesting that the observed processes go beyond what we normally study when we talk about self-control.

Unintended Effects of Providing Risk Information About Drinking and Driving

The Unintended Effects of Providing Risk Information About Drinking and Driving. Mark Johnson and Catalina Kopetz. Health Psychology, Jul 20 2017. doi: 10.1037/hea0000526

OBJECTIVE: Alcohol-impaired driving remains a serious public health concern despite the fact that drinking and driving risks are widely disseminated and well understood by the public. This research examines the motivational conditions under which providing risk information can exacerbate rather than decrease potential drinking drivers' willingness to drive while impaired.

METHOD: In a hypothetical drinking and driving scenario, 3 studies investigated participants' self-reported likelihood of drinking and driving as a function of (a) accessibility of information regarding risk associated with drinking and driving, (b) motivation to drive, and (c) need for cognitive closure (NFC).

RESULTS: Across the 3 studies, participants self-reported a higher likelihood of driving when exposed to high-risk information (vs. low-risk information) if they were high in NFC. Risk information did decrease self-reported likelihood of driving among low-NFC participants (Studies 1-3). Furthermore, this effect was exacerbated when the relevant motivation (to get home conveniently) was high (Study 3).

CONCLUSIONS: These findings have important implications for impaired-driving prevention efforts. They suggest that at least under some circumstances, risk information can have unintended negative effects on drinking and driving decisions. The results are consistent with the motivated cognition literature, which suggests that people process and use information in a manner that supports their most accessible and important motivation despite potentially negative consequences.

Understatement of the year: People's ability to judge the veracity of their intuitions may be limited

Can People Judge the Veracity of Their Intuitions? Stefan Leach and Mario Weick. Social Psychological and Personality Science, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1948550617706732

Abstract: People differ in the belief that their intuitions produce good decision outcomes. In the present research, we sought to test the validity of these beliefs by comparing individuals' self-reports with measures of actual intuition performance in a standard implicit learning task, exposing participants to seemingly random letter strings (Studies 1a-b) and social media profile pictures (Study 2) that conformed to an underlying rule or grammar. ***A meta-analysis synthesising the present data (n = 400) and secondary data by Pretz, Totz, and Kaufman (2010) found that people's enduring beliefs in their intuitions were not reflective of actual performance in the implicit learning task. Meanwhile, task-specific confidence in intuition bore no sizable relation with implicit learning performance***, but the observed data favoured neither the Null hypothesis nor the Alternative hypothesis. Together, the present findings suggest that people's ability to judge the veracity of their intuitions may be limited.

Dress and sex -- A majority of girls demonstrated appearance rigidity at least once

Dress and sex: a review of empirical research involving human participants and published in refereed journals. Sharron J. Lennon et al. Fashion and Textiles, December 2017, 4:14, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s40691-017-0101-5

Abstract: Our research purpose was to assess research addressing relationships between dress and sex. Our review was focused on a 25 years span (i.e., 1990–2015) and on empirical research utilizing human participants published in refereed journals. Three main areas of research emerged: (1) dress used as cue to sexual information, (2) dress and sexual violence, and (3) dress, sex, and objectification. Our analyses revealed parents do invest their young children with sex-typed dress however sometimes children demand to wear such dress. Some women intentionally use dress to communicate sexual information but inferences about women who wear sexy dress can be misinterpreted and are sometimes negative. Observers link wearing sexy dress to violence including sexual coercion, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and unwelcome groping, touching, and grabbing. Certain items of sexy dress that reveal the body have been linked to self-objectification. The fit of the items may also contribute to the body revealing nature of clothing styles that elicit self-objectification. The use of sexual images of women and children has increased over time and viewing such images is also linked to self- and other-objectification. Suggestions are provided for future research.

"Appearance rigidity involves insisting on wearing dress items that are closely tied to one sex or avoiding dress items linked to the opposite sex. Few boys demonstrated appearance rigidity, but a majority of girls demonstrated appearance rigidity at least once. Rigidity was linked to children who indicated it was important to them to be a girl or boy (measured using items adapted from adult identity measures). Repeating the study with 4 year old children from ethnically diverse backgrounds, incidents of appearance rigidity were even higher as over half of both the girls and boys demonstrated it."

Connecting the Dots: Illusory Pattern Perception Predicts Belief in Conspiracies and the Supernatural

van Prooijen, J.-W., Douglas, K., and De Inocencio, C. (2017) Connecting the Dots: Illusory Pattern Perception Predicts Belief in Conspiracies and the Supernatural. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., doi: 10.1002/ejsp.2331

Abstract: A common assumption is that belief in conspiracy theories and supernatural phenomena are grounded in illusory pattern perception. In the present research we systematically tested this assumption. Study 1 revealed that such irrational beliefs are related to perceiving patterns in randomly generated coin toss outcomes. In Study 2, pattern search instructions exerted an indirect effect on irrational beliefs through pattern perception. Study 3 revealed that perceiving patterns in chaotic but not in structured paintings predicted irrational beliefs. In Study 4, we found that agreement with texts supporting paranormal phenomena or conspiracy theories predicted pattern perception. In Study 5, we manipulated belief in a specific conspiracy theory. This manipulation influenced the extent to which people perceive patterns in world events, which in turn predicted unrelated irrational beliefs. We conclude that illusory pattern perception is a central cognitive mechanism accounting for conspiracy theories and supernatural beliefs.

Children acknowledge more negative self-conceptions when motivated to be truthful

Thomaes, S., Brummelman, E. and Sedikides, C. (2017), Why Most Children Think Well of Themselves. Child Dev. doi:10.1111/cdev.12937

Abstract: This research aimed to examine whether and why children hold favorable self-conceptions (total N = 882 Dutch children, ages 8–12). Surveys (Studies 1–2) showed that children report strongly favorable self-conceptions. For example, when describing themselves on an open-ended measure, children mainly provided positive self-conceptions—about four times more than neutral self-conceptions, and about 11 times more than negative self-conceptions. Experiments (Studies 3–4) demonstrated that children report favorable self-conceptions, in part, to live up to social norms idealizing such self-conceptions, and to avoid seeing or presenting themselves negatively. These findings advance understanding of the developing self-concept and its valence: In middle and late childhood, children's self-conceptions are robustly favorable and influenced by both external (social norms) and internal (self-motives) forces.

"When encouraged to respond truthfully, children kept their self-protection motive in check, and acknowledged some of their liabilities or uncertainties" & "at least in childhood, such blindness [to their own faults] may be more motivated than real—children acknowledge more negative self-conceptions when motivated to be truthful."

Children Expect More Giving From Resource-Rich Than Resource-Poor Individuals

Ahl, R. E. and Dunham, Y. (2017), “Wealth Makes Many Friends”: Children Expect More Giving From Resource-Rich Than Resource-Poor Individuals. Child Dev. doi:10.1111/cdev.12922

Abstract: Young children show social preferences for resource-rich individuals, although few studies have explored the causes underlying such preferences. We evaluate the viability of one candidate cause: ***Children believe that resource wealth relates to behavior, such that they expect the resource rich to be more likely to materially benefit others (including themselves) than the resource poor***. In Studies 1 and 2 (ages 4–10), American children from predominantly middle-income families (n = 94) and Indian children from lower income families (n = 30) predicted that the resource rich would be likelier to share with others than the resource poor. In Study 3, American children (n = 66) made similar predictions in an incentivized decision-making task. The possibility that children's expectations regarding giving contribute to prowealth preferences is discussed.