Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

  • Rejecting a bad option feels like choosing a good one. 20170724
    Across 4,151 participants, the authors demonstrate a novel framing effect, attribute matching, whereby matching a salient attribute of a decision frame with that of a decision’s options facilitates decision-making. This attribute matching is shown to increase decision confidence and, ultimately, consensus estimates by increasing feelings of metacognitive ease. In Study 1, participants choosing the more attractive of two faces or rejecting the less attractive face reported greater confidence in and perceived consensus around their decision. Using positive and negative words, Study 2 showed that the attribute’s extremity moderates the size of the effect. Study 3 found decision ease mediates these changes in confidence and consensus estimates. Consistent with a misattribution account, when participants were warned about this external source of ease in Study 4, the effect disappeared. Study 5 extended attribute matching beyond valence to objective judgments. The authors conclude by discussing related psychological constructs as well as downstream consequences. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Anti-profit beliefs: How people neglect the societal benefits of profit. 20170720
    Profit-seeking firms are stereotypically depicted as immoral and harmful to society. At the same time, profit-driven enterprise has contributed immensely to human prosperity. Though scholars agree that profit can incentivize societally beneficial behaviors, people may neglect this possibility. In 7 studies, we show that people see business profit as necessarily in conflict with social good, a view we call anti-profit beliefs. Studies 1 and 2 demonstrate that U.S. participants hold anti-profit views of real U.S. firms and industries. Study 3 shows that hypothetical organizations are seen as doing more harm when they are labeled “for-profit” rather than “non-profit,” while Study 4 shows that increasing harm to society is viewed as a strategy for increasing a hypothetical firm’s long-run profitability. Studies 5–7 demonstrate that carefully prompting subjects to consider the long run incentives of profit can attenuate anti-profit beliefs, while prompting short run thinking does nothing relative to a control. Together, these results suggest that the default view of profits is zero-sum. While people readily grasp how profit can incentivize firms to engage in practices that harm others, they neglect how it can incentivize firms to engage in practices that benefit others. Accordingly, people’s stereotypes of profit-seeking firms are excessively negative. Even in one of the most market-oriented societies in history, people doubt the contributions of profit-seeking industry to societal progress. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
  • “Falsifiability is not optional”: Correction to LeBel et al. (2017). 20171009
    Reports an error in “Falsifiability is not optional” by Etienne P. LeBel, Derek Berger, Lorne Campbell and Timothy J. Loving (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2017[Aug], Vol 113[2], 254-261). In the reply, there were two errors in the References list. The publishing year for the 14th and 21st articles was cited incorrectly as 2016. The in-text acronym associated with these citations should read instead as FER2017 and LCL2017. The correct References list citations should read as follows, respectively: Finkel, E. J., Eastwick, P. W., & Reis, H. T. (2017). Replicability and other features of a high-quality science: Toward a balanced and empirical approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 113, 244–253. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pspi0000075 LeBel, E. P., Campbell, L., & Loving, T. J. (2017). Benefits of open and high-powered research outweigh costs. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 113, 230–243. http://dx.doi.org/10 .1037/pspi0000049. The online version of this article has been corrected. (The following abstract of the original article appeared in record 2017-30567-003.) Finkel, Eastwick, and Reis (2016; FER2016) argued the post-2011 methodological reform movement has focused narrowly on replicability, neglecting other essential goals of research. We agree multiple scientific goals are essential, but argue, however, a more fine-grained language, conceptualization, and approach to replication is needed to accomplish these goals. Replication is the general empirical mechanism for testing and falsifying theory. Sufficiently methodologically similar replications, also known as direct replications, test the basic existence of phenomena and ensure cumulative progress is possible a priori. In contrast, increasingly methodologically dissimilar replications, also known as conceptual replications, test the relevance of auxiliary hypotheses (e.g., manipulation and measurement issues, contextual factors) required to productively investigate validity and generalizability. Without prioritizing replicability, a field is not empirically falsifiable. We also disagree with FER2016’s position that “bigger samples are generally better, but . . . that very large samples could have the downside of commandeering resources that would have been better invested in other studies” (abstract). We identify problematic assumptions involved in FER2016’s modifications of our original research-economic model, and present an improved model that quantifies when (and whether) it is reasonable to worry that increasing statistical power will engender potential trade-offs. Sufficiently powering studies (i.e., >80%) maximizes both research efficiency and confidence in the literature (research quality). Given that we are in agreement with FER2016 on all key open science points, we are eager to start seeing the accelerated rate of cumulative knowledge development of social psychological phenomena such a sufficiently transparent, powered, and falsifiable approach will generate. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
  • In defense of commitment: The curative power of violated expectations. 20170427
    A new model of commitment defense in romantic relationships is proposed. It assumes that relationships afford a central resource for affirming meaning and purpose in the world. Consequently, violating expectations about the world outside the relationship can precipitate commitment defense inside the relationship. A meta-analysis of 5 experiments, 2 follow-up correlational studies, and a longitudinal study of the transition to first parenthood supported the model. Experimentally violating conventional expectations about the world (e.g., “hard work pays off”) motivated less satisfied people to defensively affirm their commitment. Similarly, when becoming a parent naturalistically violated culturally conditioned gendered expectations about the division of household labor, less satisfied new mothers and fathers defensively affirmed their commitment from pre-to-post baby. The findings suggest that violating expected associations in the world outside the relationship motivates vulnerable people to set relationship their relationship right, thereby affirming expected associations in the relationship in the face of an unexpected world. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Hypocritical flip-flop, or courageous evolution? When leaders change their moral minds. 20170608
    How do audiences react to leaders who change their opinion after taking moral stances? We propose that people believe moral stances are stronger commitments, compared with pragmatic stances; we therefore explore whether and when audiences believe those commitments can be broken. We find that audiences believe moral commitments should not be broken, and thus that they deride as hypocritical leaders who claim a moral commitment and later change their views. Moreover, they view them as less effective and less worthy of support. Although participants found a moral mind changer especially hypocritical when they disagreed with the new view, the effect persisted even among participants who fully endorsed the new view. We draw these conclusions from analyses and meta-analyses of 15 studies (total N = 5,552), using recent statistical advances to verify the robustness of our findings. In several of our studies, we also test for various possible moderators of these effects; overall we find only 1 promising finding: some evidence that 2 specific justifications for moral mind changes—citing a personally transformative experience, or blaming external circumstances rather than acknowledging opinion change—help moral leaders appear more courageous, but no less hypocritical. Together, our findings demonstrate a lay belief that moral views should be stable over time; they also suggest a downside for leaders in using moral framings. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
  • “You’re one of us”: Black Americans’ use of hypodescent and its association with egalitarianism. 20170622
    Research on multiracial categorization has focused on majority group social perceivers (i.e., White Americans), demonstrating that they (a) typically categorize Black–White multiracials according to a rule of hypodescent, associating them more with their lower status parent group than their higher status parent group, and (b) do so at least in part to preserve the hierarchical status quo. The current work examines whether members of an ethnic minority group, Black Americans, also associate Black–White multiracials more with their minority versus majority parent group and if so, why. The first 2 studies (1A and 1B) directly compared Black and White Americans, and found that although both Blacks and Whites categorized Black–White multiracials as more Black than White, Whites’ use of hypodescent was associated with intergroup antiegalitarianism, whereas Blacks’ use of hypodescent was associated with intergroup egalitarianism. Studies 2–3 reveal that egalitarian Blacks use hypodescent in part because they perceive that Black–White biracials face discrimination and consequently feel a sense of linked fate with them. This research establishes that the use of hypodescent extends to minority as well as majority perceivers but also shows that the beliefs associated with the use of hypodescent differ as a function of perceiver social status. In doing so, we broaden the social scientific understanding of hypodescent, showing how it can be an inclusionary rather than exclusionary phenomenon. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
  • “Replicability and other features of a high-quality science: Toward a balanced and empirical approach”: Correction to Finkel et al. (2017). 20171009
    Reports an error in “Replicability and other features of a high-quality science: Toward a balanced and empirical approach” by Eli J. Finkel, Paul W. Eastwick and Harry T. Reis (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2017[Aug], Vol 113[2], 244-253). In the commentary, there was an error in the References list. The publishing year for the 18th article was cited incorrectly as 2016. The in-text acronym associated with this citation should read instead as LCL2017. The correct References list citation should read as follows: LeBel, E. P., Campbell, L., & Loving, T. J. (2017). Benefits of open and high-powered research outweigh costs. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 113, 230–243. http://dx.doi.org/10 .1037/pspi0000049. The online version of this article has been corrected. (The following abstract of the original article appeared in record 2017-30567-002.) Finkel, Eastwick, and Reis (2015; FER2015) argued that psychological science is better served by responding to apprehensions about replicability rates with contextualized solutions than with one-size-fits-all solutions. Here, we extend FER2015’s analysis to suggest that much of the discussion of best research practices since 2011 has focused on a single feature of high-quality science—replicability—with insufficient sensitivity to the implications of recommended practices for other features, like discovery, internal validity, external validity, construct validity, consequentiality, and cumulativeness. Thus, although recommendations for bolstering replicability have been innovative, compelling, and abundant, it is difficult to evaluate their impact on our science as a whole, especially because many research practices that are beneficial for some features of scientific quality are harmful for others. For example, FER2015 argued that bigger samples are generally better, but also noted that very large samples (“those larger than required for effect sizes to stabilize”; p. 291) could have the downside of commandeering resources that would have been better invested in other studies. In their critique of FER2015, LeBel, Campbell, and Loving (2016) concluded, based on simulated data, that ever-larger samples are better for the efficiency of scientific discovery (i.e., that there are no tradeoffs). As demonstrated here, however, this conclusion holds only when the replicator’s resources are considered in isolation. If we widen the assumptions to include the original researcher’s resources as well, which is necessary if the goal is to consider resource investment for the field as a whole, the conclusion changes radically—and strongly supports a tradeoff-based analysis. In general, as psychologists seek to strengthen our science, we must complement our much-needed work on increasing replicability with careful attention to the other features of a high-quality science. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Understanding the cognitive and motivational underpinnings of sexual passion from a dualistic model. 20161212
    Sexual passion has always been conceptualized as a one-dimensional phenomenon that emerges from interactions with partners. Drawing from the literature on passionate activities, sexual passion was defined in terms of its intrapersonal motivational and cognitive components and examined from a dualistic perspective. More specifically, in 5 studies, we investigated how 2 types of sexual passion, harmonious and obsessive, can lead to clearly distinct subjective, relational, and cognitive outcomes. Study 1 validated a scale measuring harmonious and obsessive sexual passion, and showed that each type of sexual passion leads to common, but also distinct, subjective consequences during sexual activity engagement for both singles and romantically engaged individuals. Studies 2 and 3 differentiated the constructs of harmonious and obsessive sexual passion from competing constructs existing in the literature and provided evidence for its predictive validity regarding various relational outcomes, including relationship sustainability over time. Finally, Studies 4 and 5 investigated the cognitive consequences of each type of sexual passion by showing how they reflect distinct levels of integration of sexual and relational representations, and how they can lead to biased processing of sexual information (Study 4) and conflict with ongoing sex-unrelated goals (Studies 5a and 5b). Overall, the present series of studies provides a new look at sexual passion from a motivational and cognitive intrapersonal perspective that is not restricted to interpersonal ramifications with partners. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

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