There is a common belief that wrinkles in the aging face reflect frequently experienced emotions and hence resemble these affective displays. This implies that the wrinkles and folds in elderly faces interfere with the perception of other emotions currently experienced by the elderly as well as with the inferences perceivers draw from these expressions. Whereas there is ample research on the impact of aging on emotion recognition, almost no research has focused on how emotions expressed by the elderly are perceived by others. The present research addresses this latter question. Young participants rated the emotion expressions and behavioral intentions of old and young faces displaying identical expressions. The findings suggest that emotions shown on older faces have reduced signal clarity and may consequently have less impact on inferences regarding behavioral intentions. Both effects can be expected to have negative consequences for rapport achieved in everyday interactions involving the elderly.
emotion; facial expression; person perception; elderly
We developed a multi-faceted prejudice habit-breaking intervention to produce long-term reductions in implicit race bias. The intervention is based on the premise that implicit bias is like a habit that can be reduced through a combination of awareness of implicit bias, concern about the effects of that bias, and the application of strategies to reduce bias. In a 12-week longitudinal study, people who received the intervention showed dramatic reductions in implicit race bias. People who were concerned about discrimination or who reported using the strategies showed the greatest reductions. The intervention also led to increases in concern about discrimination and personal awareness of bias over the duration of the study. People in the control group showed none of the above effects. Our results raise the hope of reducing persistent and unintentional forms of discrimination that arise from implicit bias.
prejudice; stereotyping; intervention; reduction; implicit bias; self-regulation
Growing evidence indicates that religious belief helps individuals to cope with stress and anxiety. But is this effect specific to supernatural beliefs, or is it a more general function of belief — including belief in science? We developed a measure of belief in science and conducted two experiments in which we manipulated stress and existential anxiety. In Experiment 1, we assessed rowers about to compete (high-stress condition) and rowers at a training session (low-stress condition). As predicted, rowers in the high-stress group reported greater belief in science. In Experiment 2, participants primed with mortality (vs. participants in a control condition) reported greater belief in science. In both experiments, belief in science was negatively correlated with religiosity. Thus, some secular individuals may use science as a form of “faith” that helps them to deal with stressful and anxiety-provoking situations.
•We predicted that stress and existential anxiety would result in greater belief in science.•Athletes about to compete (vs. training) reported greater belief in science.•Mortality salience increased belief in science but not in scientific determinism.•Secular individuals benefit from believing in science.
Belief; Belief in science; Religious belief; Stress; Existential anxiety
The current study presents a methodology to analyze first impressions on the basis of minimal motion information. In order to test the applicability of the approach brief silent video clips of 40 speakers were presented to independent observers (i.e., did not know speakers) who rated them on measures of the Big Five personality traits. The body movements of the speakers were then captured by placing landmarks on the speakers' forehead, one shoulder and the hands. Analysis revealed that observers ascribe extraversion to variations in the speakers' overall activity, emotional stability to the movements' relative velocity, and variation in motion direction to openness. Although ratings of openness and conscientiousness were related to biographical data of the speakers (i.e., measures of career progress), measures of body motion failed to provide similar results. In conclusion, analysis of motion behavior might be done on the basis of a small set of landmarks that seem to capture important parts of relevant nonverbal information.
•Body movements of politicians making a speech were captured.•Short video clips of these speeches were rated on personality.•Motion cues were related to personality traits and measures of career progress.•Simple motion cues and simple cognitive processes may guide impression formation.•Simple motion cues may play an important role in human communication.
Body motion; Motion analysis; Nonverbal communication; Social cognition; Impression formation; Politics
Three studies examined how the use of the present versus the past tense in recalling a past experience influences behavioral intentions. Experiment 1 revealed a stronger influence of past behaviors on drinking intentions when participants self-reported an episode of excessive drinking using the present tense. Correspondingly, there was a stronger influence of attitudes towards excessive drinking when participants self-reported the episode in the past tense. Experiments 2 and 3 liked this effect to changes in construal level (Liberman, Trope, & Stephan, 2007; Trope & Liberman, 2003), with the present tense being similar to a concrete construal level and the past tense being similar to an abstract construal level.
Verb tense; construal level; past behavior; attitude; behavioral intentions
Participants in our study worked on an anagram task to win a prize while aversive noise played in the background. They were instructed to deal with the noise either by “opposing” it as an interference or by “coping” with the unpleasant feelings it created. The strength of attention to the opposing or coping response to adversity was measured by poorer recognition of the content of the background noise. For the “opposing” participants, it was predicted that the more they attended to opposing the interference, they stronger they would engage in solving the anagrams to win the prize, which would increase the prize's value. For the “coping” participants, it was predicted that the more they attended to coping with their unpleasant feelings, the weaker they would engage in solving the anagrams to win the prize, which would decrease the prize's value. The results supported both predictions.
motivation; value; engagement; difficulty; adversity; regulatory engagement theory
Previous research has shown that alcohol consumption can increase the expression of race bias by impairing control-related processes. The current study tested whether simple exposure to alcohol-related images can also increase bias, but via a different mechanism. Participants viewed magazine ads for either alcoholic or nonalcoholic beverages prior to completing Payne’s (2001) Weapons Identification Task (WIT). As predicted, participants primed with alcohol ads exhibited greater race bias in the WIT than participants primed with neutral beverages. Process dissociation analyses indicated that these effects were due to automatic (relative to controlled) processes having a larger influence on behavior among alcohol-primed relative to neutral-primed participants. Structural equation modeling further showed that the alcohol-priming effect was mediated by increases in the influence of automatic associations on behavior. These data suggest an additional pathway by which alcohol can potentially harm inter-racial interactions, even when no beverage is consumed.
alcohol; priming; racial bias; automaticity
Many White Americans are concerned about appearing prejudiced. How these concerns affect responses during actual interracial interactions, however, remains understudied. The present work examines stress responses to interracial contact—both in the moment, during interracial interactions (Study 1), and over time as individuals have repeated interracial contact (Study 2). Results of Study 1 revealed that concerns about appearing prejudiced were associated with heightened stress responses during interracial encounters (Study 1). White participants concerned about appearing prejudiced exhibited significant increases in cortisol “stress hormone” levels as well as increases in anxious behavior during interracial but not same-race contact. Participants relatively unconcerned about appearing prejudiced did not exhibit these stress responses. Study 2 examined stress responses to interracial contact over an entire academic year. Results revealed that White participants exhibited shifts in cortisol diurnal rhythms on days after interracial contact. Moreover, participants’ cortisol rhythms across the academic year, from fall to spring, were related to their concerns about appearing prejudiced and their interracial contact experiences. Taken together, these data offer the first evidence that chronic concerns about appearing prejudiced are related to short- and longer-term stress responses to interracial contact. Implications for life in diverse spaces are discussed.
prejudice concerns; intergroup relations; physiological stress
In four studies, we report evidence that admiration affects intergroup behaviors that regulate social hierarchy. We demonstrate that manipulating the legitimacy of status relations affects admiration for the dominant and that this emotion negatively predicts political action tendencies aimed at social change. In addition, we show that greater warmth and competence lead to greater admiration for an outgroup, which in turn positively predicts deferential behavior and intergroup learning. We also demonstrate that, for those with a disposition to feel admiration, increasing admiration for an outgroup decreases willingness to take political action against that outgroup. Finally, we show that when the object of admiration is a subversive “martyr,” admiration positively predicts political action tendencies and behavior aimed at challenging the status quo. These findings provide the first evidence for the important role of admiration in regulating social hierarchy.
► Greater admiration is felt for a group with legitimate status. ► Greater admiration is felt for warm and competent groups. ► Admiration for powerful groups is associated with hierarchy-maintaining behaviors. ► Admiration for “subversive” groups is associated with hierarchy-challenging behaviors. ► Admiration towards an outgroup inhibits hierarchy-maintaining behaviors.
Collective action; Admiration; Intergroup emotion; Legitimacy; Warmth; Competence
A signature feature of self-regulation is that once a goal is satiated, it becomes deactivated, thereby allowing people to engage in new pursuits. The present experiments provide evidence for vicarious goal satiation, a novel phenomenon in which individuals experience “post-completion goal satiation” as a result of unwittingly taking on another person's goal pursuit and witnessing its completion. In Experiments 1 and 2, the observation of a goal being completed (vs. not completed) led to less striving by the observer on the same task. Given that an actor's strength of commitment affects goal contagion, we hypothesized that such commitment would be an important boundary condition for vicarious goal satiation. The results of Experiment 2 showed that observing stronger (vs. weaker) goal commitment lowered accessibility of goal-related words, but only when the goal being observed was completed. Implications of vicarious goal satiation for goal pursuit in everyday environments are discussed.
Nonconscious goal pursuit; Goal contagion; Self-regulation; Self-other representations
When anger or happiness flashes on a face in the crowd, do we misperceive that emotion as belonging to someone else? Two studies found that misperception of apparent emotional expressions – “illusory conjunctions” – depended on the gender of the target: male faces tended to “grab” anger from neighboring faces, and female faces tended to grab happiness. Importantly, the evidence did not suggest that this effect was due to the general tendency to misperceive male or female faces as angry or happy, but instead indicated a more subtle interaction of expectations and early visual processes. This suggests a novel aspect of affordance-management in human perception, whereby cues to threat, when they appear, are attributed to those with the greatest capability of doing harm, whereas cues to friendship are attributed to those with the greatest likelihood of providing affiliation opportunities.
affordance management; face perception; anger; happiness; emotional expressions; threat; gender differences
The failure to consider the future consequences of one’s behavior is a major risk factor for aggression. Aggressive people tend to act first, and think later. Some people focus on the —here and now rather than on the future, a tendency measured by the Consideration of Future Consequences (CFC) scale (Strathman, Gleicher, Boninger, & Edwards, 1994). Alcohol intoxication is a neuro-biological variable that produces similar effects. Participants in the present experiment completed the CFC scale and then consumed either an alcohol or a placebo beverage. Next, they competed against a same-sex ostensible partner on an interpersonally adversarial competitive task in which the winner could administer electric shocks to the loser (the aggression measure). As expected, aggression was highest in intoxicated persons with low CFC scores. Being unconcerned about the future consequences of one’s actions, in conjunction with acute alcohol intoxication, combine in a pernicious manner to increase aggression.
Consideration of Future Consequences; alcohol; aggression
Despite a decline in explicit prejudice, adults and children from majority groups (e.g., White Americans) often express bias implicitly, as assessed by the Implicit Association Test. In contrast, minority-group (e.g., Black American) adults on average show no bias on the IAT. In the present research, representing the first empirical investigation of whether Black children’s IAT responses parallel those of Black adults, we examined implicit bias in 7–11-year-old White and Black American children. Replicating previous findings with adults, whereas White children showed a robust ingroup bias, Black children showed no bias. Additionally, we investigated the role of valuing status in the development of implicit bias. For Black children, explicit preference for high status predicted implicit outgroup bias: Black children who explicitly expressed high preference for rich (vs. poor) people showed an implicit preference for Whites comparable in magnitude to White children’s ingroup bias. Implications for research on intergroup bias are discussed.
Intergroup bias; Implicit Association Test; Development; Social status
This paper examines the emergence of behavioral synchrony among strangers in the context of self-disclosure, and their path in predicting interaction quality. Specifically, we hypothesize that behavioral synchrony mediates the direct effect of self-disclosure on the development of embodied rapport. Same-sex stranger pairs (n=94) were randomly assigned to a videorecorded self-disclosure or control condition, and afterward each member rated their social interaction. Following the procedure used by Bernieri, Reznick, & Rosenthal (1988), two trained judges independently watched each video record and rated each pair interaction on behavioral synchrony. Bootstrapping analyses provide support for the hypothesized mediating effect of behavioral synchrony, which emerged as independent of the effects of self-other overlap and positive affect. The authors discuss implications of behavioral synchrony for relationship formation processes and the inevitable entwinement of behavior and judgments in light of embodied cognition.
Synchrony; Self-disclosure; Rapport; Embodiment; Relationship formation
In three studies we examined whether the anticipation of group-based guilt, shame and anger predicts the desire to undertake collective action against a proposed ingroup transgression. In Studies 1 (N = 179) and 2 (N = 186), the relation between appraising a proposed ingroup transgression as illegitimate and collective action was mediated (or partially mediated) by anticipated group-based shame and anger. In Study 3 (N = 128) participants with high self-investment group identification were less willing to engage in collective action against the prospective ingroup transgression when aversive anticipated group-based emotions were made salient. This effect was mediated by anticipated group-based shame. We discuss the implications of these results with regard to collective action and the morality of intergroup behavior.
► We tested whether anticipated group-based emotions predict collective action. ► Anticipating shame and anger increased protesting against immoral ingroup actions. ► Anticipating group-based guilt did not uniquely predict collective action. ► Anticipated group-based guilt predicted reparations.
Anticipated emotion; Collective action; Group-based guilt; Group-based shame; Group-based anger
The accessibility of stored knowledge has been found to decline over time after activation without further stimulation. A special case is goal pursuit; goal-related knowledge remains accessible until goal completion, and then its accessibility declines rapidly. We hypothesized that after goal completion the decline in accessibility of goal-related knowledge would be especially rapid for strong promotion-focused individuals because their motivation to eagerly advance beyond the status quo would make accessibility of this knowledge an irrelevant detriment. We hypothesized an opposite effect for strongly prevention-predominant individuals because their motivation to vigilantly maintain a satisfactory state would make accessibility of this knowledge continually relevant. The results of two studies supported both these predicted moderators of accessibility change. Indeed, we found that for strongly prevention-predominant participants, knowledge accessibility actually increased over time after goal completion. We discuss how even basic cognitive mechanisms, like changes in accessibility, can be affected by general motivational concerns.
knowledge accessibility; accessibility decay; forgetting; procedural motive; motivational orientation; regulatory focus; goal completion
Two studies show that different culturally based concepts of interpersonal power have distinct implications for information processing. People with a vertical individualist (VI) cultural orientation view power in personalized terms (power is for gaining status over and recognition by others), whereas people with a horizontal collectivist (HC) cultural orientation view power in socialized terms (power is for benefitting and helping others). The distinct goals associated with these power concepts are served by different mindsets, such as stereotyping others versus learning the individuating needs of others. Therefore, for high-VI individuals, making personalized power salient increases stereotyping in processing product information. That is, they recognize better information that is congruent with their prior product expectations, relative to their recognition of incongruent information. In contrast, for high-HC people, making socialized power salient increases individuating processes, characterized by better memory for incongruent information.
Power; Cultural Values; Mindsets; Information-Processing
Past research suggests that focusing on what has not yet been accomplished (goal focus) signals a lack of progress towards one’s high commitment goals and inspires greater motivation than does focusing on what has already been accomplished (accomplishment focus). The present investigation extends this research to a longitudinal, important domain by exploring the consequences of focusing on one’s goals versus accomplishments when pursuing a weight loss goal. Participants were tracked over the course of a 12-week weight loss program that utilized weekly group discussions and a companion website to direct participants’ focus toward their end weight loss goal or toward what they had already achieved. Goal-focused participants reported higher levels of commitment to their goal and, ultimately, lost more weight than did accomplishment-focused and no focus control participants. Accomplishment-focused participants did not differ from controls on any measure.
Three studies examined the implicit evaluative associations activated by racially-ambiguous Black-White faces. In the context of both Black and White faces, Study 1 revealed a graded pattern of bias against racially-ambiguous faces that was weaker than the bias to Black faces but stronger than that to White faces. Study 2 showed that significant bias was present when racially-ambiguous faces appeared in the context of only White faces, but not in the context of only Black faces. Study 3 demonstrated that context produces perceptual contrast effects on racial-prototypicality judgments. Racially-ambiguous faces were perceived as more prototypically Black in a White-only than mixed-race context, and less prototypically Black in a Black-only context. Conversely, they were seen as more prototypically White in a Black-only than mixed context, and less prototypically White in a White-only context. The studies suggest that both race-related featural properties within a face (i.e., racial ambiguity) and external contextual factors affect automatic evaluative associations.
It seems obvious that what you see influences what you feel, but what if the opposite were also true? What if how you feel can shape your visual experience? In this experiment, we demonstrate that the affective state of a perceiver influences the contents of visual awareness. Participants received positive, negative, and neutral affect inductions and then completed a series of binocular rivalry trials in which a face (smiling, scowling or neutral) was presented to one eye and a house to the other. The percepts “competed” for dominance in visual consciousness. We found, as predicted, that all faces (smiling, scowling, and neutral) were dominant for longer when perceivers experienced unpleasant affect compared to when they were in a neutral state (a social vigilance effect), although scowling faces increased their dominance when perceivers felt unpleasant (a relative negative congruence effect). Relatively speaking, smiling faces increased their dominance more when perceivers were experiencing pleasant affect (a positive congruence effect). These findings illustrate that the affective state of a perceiver serves as a context that influences the contents of consciousness.
Affect; Perception; Binocular Rivalry
This research examines how processing fluency influences people's perceptions of whether a trend will continue into the future. Specifically, three studies hypothesized that people who read descriptions of increasing or decreasing trends in easy-to-read font would be more likely to predict that the trend would continue into the future, compared to people exposed to difficult-to-read font. Studies 1 and 2 establish this effect for an increasing trend, whereas Study 3 replicates the findings with a decreasing trend. Taken together, these results suggest processing fluency as a factor that affects assessment of future potential.
The visual perception of geographical slant is influenced by physiological resources, such as physical fitness, age, and being physically refreshed. In two studies we tested whether a psychosocial resource, social support, can also affect the visual perception of slants. Participants accompanied by a friend estimated a hill to be less steep when compared to participants who were alone (Study 1). Similarly, participants who thought of a supportive friend during an imagery task saw a hill as less steep than participants who either thought of a neutral person or a disliked person (Study 2). In both studies, the effects of social relationships on visual perception appear to be mediated by relationship quality (i.e., relationship duration, interpersonal closeness, warmth). Artifacts such as mood, social desirability, and social facilitation did not account for these effects. This research demonstrates that an interpersonal phenomenon, social support, can influence visual perception.
Social support; psychosocial resources; closeness; relationship; slant perception; vision; space perception
Research shows that participants shoot armed Blacks more frequently and quickly than armed Whites, but make don’t-shoot responses more frequently and quickly for unarmed Whites than unarmed Blacks. We argue that this bias reflects the perception of threat – specifically, threat associated with Black males. Other danger cues (not just race) may create a similar predisposition to shoot, and if these cues promote shooting when the target is White, they should attenuate racial bias. We embedded targets in threatening andsafe backgrounds. Racial bias was evident in safe contexts but disappeared when context signaled danger, and this reduction was largely due to an increased tendency to shoot White targets.
racial bias; context; threat perception
Individuals display high levels of trust and express feelings of safety when interacting with social ingroup members. Here, we investigated whether cues related to ingroup membership would change perceptions of the safety of alcohol. Participants were exposed to images of beer in either a standard can or a can featuring the colors of their university (i.e., ‘fan cans’). We hypothesized that exposure to fan cans would change perceptions of the risks of beer drinking. Results showed that participants exposed to fan cans rated beer consumption as less dangerous (Experiment 1), were more likely to automatically activate safety-related mental content after unconscious perception of beer cues (Experiment 2), and viewed their ingroup’s party practices as less dangerous (Experiment 3). These results provide evidence that ingroup-associated colors can serve as a safety cue for alcohol, which may in theory perpetuate alcohol-related risk-taking, already a cause for concern on college and university campuses.
alcohol; automaticity; group processes; ingroup; priming
This study examined the extent to which perceptions of partner suffering mediate the association between attachment insecurity (anxiety and avoidance) and personal distress among spouses of older adults with osteoarthritis. Fifty-three spouses watched two videos of targets (their partner and an opposite sex stranger) perform a pain-eliciting household task, and spouses were asked to rate their own distress and perceptions of the targets’ pain. Spouses also completed self-report measures of trait attachment. Results revealed that attachment anxiety was associated with greater personal distress in reaction to the partner’s suffering, and heightened perceptions of partner pain mediated this association. Avoidant attachment was associated with less distress in reaction to the partner’s suffering, but not with less perceived pain. The results of this study identify an important mechanism linking attachment insecurity and heightened distress responses when observing the suffering of a significant other.
attachment; caregiving; emotion; older adults; osteoarthritis