Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

  • The grounded nature of psychological perspective-taking.
    Psychological perspective-taking is a powerful social cognition that helps us to understand other people. It creates feelings of closeness and sympathy, motivates us to help others, and is important for positive social relationships. In contrast to the impressive knowledge about its consequences, relatively little is known about how exactly people achieve them. The present paper addresses this question from a grounded cognition perspective, drawing on recent findings on the embodiment of visuospatial perspective-taking. Visuospatial perspective-taking involves a mental transformation of one’s body schema into the physical location of another person. We argue that when people psychologically “put themselves in another person’s shoes,” this simulation of physical proximity happens, too, and is one source of perceived closeness. In five experiments (total N = 1067), participants completed a visuospatial perspective-taking task. During half of the trials, angular disparity between the target person and the participant was high and participants had to adopt the target’s visual perspective (which involves an embodied simulation). During the remaining trials, angular disparity was low and participants could solve the task egocentrically. Taking another’s perspective led participants to adopt the thoughts of the target person more strongly (Experiments 1–3) and increased the perceived similarity of that person to the self (Experiment 4) and participants’ liking of that person (Experiment 5). These effects were independent of task difficulty (Experiment 2), and only present during trials where an embodied transformation happened (i.e., at high angular disparities; Experiment 3). Implications for psychological and visuospatial perspective-taking research and related phenomena are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Two axes of subordination: A new model of racial position.
    Theories of race relations have been shaped by the concept of a racial hierarchy along which Whites are the most advantaged and African Americans the most disadvantaged. However, the recent precipitated growth of Latinos and Asian Americans in the United States underscores the need for a framework that integrates more groups. The current work proposes that racial and ethnic minority groups are disadvantaged along 2 distinct dimensions of perceived inferiority and perceived cultural foreignness, such that the 4 largest groups in the United States are located in 4 discrete quadrants: Whites are perceived and treated as superior and American; African Americans as inferior and relatively American compared with Latinos and Asian Americans; Latinos as inferior and foreign; and Asian Americans as foreign and relatively superior compared to African Americans and Latinos. Support for this Racial Position Model is first obtained from targets’ perspectives. Different groups experience distinct patterns of racial prejudice that are predicted by their 2-dimensional group positions (Studies 1 and 2). From perceivers’ perspectives, these group positions are reflected in the content of racial stereotypes (Study 3), and are well-known and consensually recognized (Study 4). Implications of this new model for studying contemporary race relations (e.g., prejudice, threat, and interminority dynamics) are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Healthier than thou? “Practicing what you preach” backfires by increasing anticipated devaluation.
    [Correction Notice: An Erratum for this article was reported in Vol 112(5) of Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (see record 2017-17124-001). In the article, the beginning phrase of the second paragraph of the Internal Meta-Analysis of Studies 3 Through 5 section is incorrect. It should instead begin as follows: Across the three studies. The Monin et al. (2014) reference in both the References list and in text is included in error. The correct citation should read as follows: Monin, B., & Oppenheimer, D. M. (2014). The limits of direct replications and the virtues of stimulus sampling: Commentary on Klein et al., 2014. Social Psychology, 45, 299–300.] Should experts always practice what they preach? When an expert displays exemplary behavior, individuals who fear negative devaluation sometimes anticipate that this expert will look down on them. As a result, displays of excellence can paradoxically turn off the very people they are trying to inspire. Five studies document this in the medical domain, showing that individuals who are overweight or obese and concerned about their weight avoid physicians who advertise their fitness, for fear that these doctors will judge them negatively. People (erroneously) believe that doctors have healthier habits than other individuals (Study 1), doctors advertise healthy habits (Study 2), and overweight individuals anticipate devaluation from, and thus avoid and feel less comfortable with, doctors who portray themselves as fitness-focused (Study 3). Studies 4 and 5 test strategies for physicians to emphasize their own fitness without turning off weight-sensitive patients. This work demonstrates that it is critical to take into account ego-defensive processes when attempting to lead by example. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
  • “Healthier than thou? ‘Practicing what you preach’ backfires by increasing anticipated devaluation”: Correction to Howe and Monin (2017).
    Reports an error in “Healthier Than Thou? “Practicing What You Preach” Backfires by Increasing Anticipated Devaluation” by Lauren C. Howe and Benoît Monin (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Advanced Online Publication, Feb 27, 2017, np). In the article, the beginning phrase of the second paragraph of the Internal Meta-Analysis of Studies 3 Through 5 section is incorrect. It should instead begin as follows: Across the three studies. The Monin et al. (2014) reference in both the References list and in text is included in error. The correct citation should read as follows: Monin, B., & Oppenheimer, D. M. (2014). The limits of direct replications and the virtues of stimulus sampling: Commentary on Klein et al., 2014. Social Psychology, 45, 299–300. (The following abstract of the original article appeared in record 2017-08697-001.) Should experts always practice what they preach? When an expert displays exemplary behavior, individuals who fear negative devaluation sometimes anticipate that this expert will look down on them. As a result, displays of excellence can paradoxically turn off the very people they are trying to inspire. Five studies document this in the medical domain, showing that individuals who are overweight or obese and concerned about their weight avoid physicians who advertise their fitness, for fear that these doctors will judge them negatively. People (erroneously) believe that doctors have healthier habits than other individuals (Study 1), doctors advertise healthy habits (Study 2), and overweight individuals anticipate devaluation from, and thus avoid and feel less comfortable with, doctors who portray themselves as fitness-focused (Study 3). Studies 4 and 5 test strategies for physicians to emphasize their own fitness without turning off weight-sensitive patients. This work demonstrates that it is critical to take into account ego-defensive processes when attempting to lead by example. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
  • The crowded life is a slow life: Population density and life history strategy.
    The world population has doubled over the last half century. Yet, research on the psychological effects of human population density, once a popular topic, has decreased over the past few decades. Applying a fresh perspective to an old topic, we draw upon life history theory to examine the effects of population density. Across nations and across the U.S. states (Studies 1 and 2), we find that dense populations exhibit behaviors corresponding to a slower life history strategy, including greater future-orientation, greater investment in education, more long-term mating orientation, later marriage age, lower fertility, and greater parental investment. In Studies 3 and 4, experimentally manipulating perceptions of high density led individuals to become more future-oriented. Finally, in Studies 5 and 6, experimentally manipulating perceptions of high density seemed to lead to life-stage-specific slower strategies, with college students preferring to invest in fewer rather than more relationship partners, and an older MTurk sample preferring to invest in fewer rather than more children. This research sheds new insight on the effects of density and its implications for human cultural variation and society at large. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Development of identity clarity and content in adulthood.
    The current research examines self-concept clarity over 2 assessment points with the aims of establishing patterns of stability and change in self-concept clarity across adulthood, modeling corollary changes in traits and health-related role limitations, and demonstrating the ways in which gender and age moderate these patterns. Within this sample of 461 adults age 19–86 years of age, self-concept clarity had robust rank-order stability and no significant mean-level change during a 3-year assessment window. However, significant interindividual variability was present in the developmental patterns of self-concept clarity over time. These individual differences in development of self-concept clarity corresponded to developmental patterns in Big Five personality traits and health-related role limitations. Results of this 2 wave longitudinal study suggest 3 primary conclusions: (a) self-concept clarity predicts and corresponds to trait maturation over time, (b) decreasing self-concept clarity corresponds to increasing role limitations, and (c) these effects are somewhat contingent on gender and age. Results are discussed in reference to the maturation of identity content and metacognitive identity evaluation over the life span. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Puffed-up but shaky selves: State self-esteem level and variability in narcissists.
    Different theoretical conceptualizations characterize grandiose narcissists by high, yet fragile self-esteem. Empirical evidence, however, has been inconsistent, particularly regarding the relationship between narcissism and self-esteem fragility (i.e., self-esteem variability). Here, we aim at unraveling this inconsistency by disentangling the effects of two theoretically distinct facets of narcissism (i.e., admiration and rivalry) on the two aspects of state self-esteem (i.e., level and variability). We report on data from a laboratory-based and two field-based studies (total N = 596) in realistic social contexts, capturing momentary, daily, and weekly fluctuations of state self-esteem. To estimate unbiased effects of narcissism on the level and variability of self-esteem within one model, we applied mixed-effects location scale models. Results of the three studies and their meta-analytical integration indicated that narcissism is positively linked to self-esteem level and variability. When distinguishing between admiration and rivalry, however, an important dissociation was identified: Admiration was related to high (and rather stable) levels of state self-esteem, whereas rivalry was related to (rather low and) fragile self-esteem. Analyses on underlying processes suggest that effects of rivalry on self-esteem variability are based on stronger decreases in self-esteem from one assessment to the next, particularly after a perceived lack of social inclusion. The revealed differentiated effects of admiration and rivalry explain why the analysis of narcissism as a unitary concept has led to the inconsistent past findings and provide deeper insights into the intrapersonal dynamics of grandiose narcissism governing state self-esteem. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Age, time period, and birth cohort differences in self-esteem: Reexamining a cohort-sequential longitudinal study.
    Orth, Trzesniewski, and Robins (2010) concluded that the nationally representative Americans’ Changing Lives (ACL) cohort-sequential study demonstrated moderate to large age differences in self-esteem, and no birth cohort (generational) differences in the age trajectory. In a reanalysis of these data using 2 different statistical techniques, we find significant increases in self-esteem that could be attributed to birth cohort or time period. First, hierarchical linear modeling analyses with birth cohort as a continuous variable (vs. the multiple group formulation used by Orth et al.) find that birth cohort has a measurable influence on self-esteem through its interaction with age. Participants born in later years (e.g., 1960) were higher in self-esteem and were more likely to increase in self-esteem as they aged than participants born in earlier years (e.g., 1920). However, the estimated age trajectory up to age 60 is similar in Orth et al.’s results and in the results from our analyses including cohort. Second, comparing ACL respondents of the same age in 1986 versus 2002 (a time-lag design) yields significant birth cohort differences in self-esteem, with 2002 participants of the same age higher in self-esteem than those in 1986. Combined with some previous studies finding significant increases in self-esteem and positive self-views over time, these results suggest that cultural change in the form of cohort and time period cannot be ignored as influences in cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

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