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Sunday, February 24, 2013

A for effort

 

Expressed Humility in Organizations: Implications for Performance, Teams, and Leadership

Bradley Owens, Michael Johnson & Terence Mitchell
Organization Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
We draw on eight different lab and field samples to delineate the effects of expressed humility on several important organizational outcomes, including performance, satisfaction, learning goal orientation, engagement, and turnover. We first review several literatures to define the construct of expressed humility, discuss its implications in social interactions, and distinguish expressed humility from related constructs. Using five different samples, Study 1 develops and validates an observer-report measure of expressed humility. Study 2 examines the strength of expressed humility predictions of individual performance and contextual performance (i.e., quality of team member contribution) relative to conscientiousness, global self-efficacy, and general mental ability. This study also reveals that with regard to individual performance, expressed humility may compensate for lower general mental ability. Study 3 reports insights from a large field sample that examines the relationship between leader-expressed humility and employee retention as mediated by job satisfaction and employee engagement as mediated by team learning orientation. We conclude with recommendations for future research.

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Turning a Blind Eye to Temptation: How Cognitive Load Can Facilitate Self-Regulation

Lotte Van Dillen, Esther Papies & Wilhelm Hofmann
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present research shows in 4 studies that cognitive load can reduce the impact of temptations on cognition and behavior and, thus, challenges the proposition that distraction always hampers self-regulation. Participants performed different speeded categorization tasks with pictures of attractive and neutral food items (Studies 1-3) and attractive and unattractive female faces (Study 4), while we assessed their reaction times as an indicator of selective attention (Studies 1, 3, and 4) or as an indicator of hedonic thoughts about food (Study 2). Cognitive load was manipulated by a concurrent digit span task. Results show that participants displayed greater attention to tempting stimuli (Studies 1, 3, and 4) and activated hedonic thoughts in response to palatable food (Study 2), but high cognitive load completely eliminated these effects. Moreover, cognitive load during the exposure to attractive food reduced food cravings (Study 1) and increased healthy food choices (Study 3). Finally, individual differences in sensitivity to food temptations (Study 3) and interest in alternative relationship partners (Study 4) predicted selective attention to attractive stimuli, but again, only when cognitive load was low. Our findings suggest that recognizing the tempting value of attractive stimuli in our living environment requires cognitive resources. This has the important implication that, contrary to traditional views, performing a concurrent demanding task may actually diminish the captivating power of temptation and thus facilitate self-regulation.

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Power and Reduced Temporal Discounting

Priyanka Joshi & Nathanael Fast
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Decision makers generally feel disconnected from their future selves, an experience that leads them to prefer smaller immediate gains to larger future gains. This pervasive tendency is known as temporal discounting, and researchers across disciplines are interested in understanding how to overcome it. Following recent advances in the power literature, we suggest that the experience of power enhances one's connection with the future self, which in turn results in reduced temporal discounting. In Study 1, we found that participants assigned to high-power roles were less likely than participants assigned to low-power roles to display temporal discounting. In Studies 2 and 3, priming power reduced temporal discounting in monetary and nonmonetary tasks, and, further, connection with the future self mediated the relation between power and reduced discounting. In Study 4, experiencing a general sense of power in the workplace predicted actual lifetime savings. These results have important implications for future research.

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Effects of Implementation Intentions on Anxiety, Perceived Proximity, and Motor Performance

Chadly Stern et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Anxiety leads to exaggerated perceptions of distance, which may impair performance on a physical task. In two studies, we tested one strategy to reduce anxiety and induce perceived proximity to increase performance. We predicted implementation intentions that reduce anxiety would increase perceived visual proximity to goal-relevant targets, which would indirectly improve performance. In two studies, we induced performance anxiety on a physical task. Participants who formed implementation intentions to reduce anxiety perceived goal-relevant targets (e.g., golf hole, dartboard) as physically closer and performed better than both participants without a strategy (Study 1) and participants with only a goal to regulate anxiety (Study 2). Furthermore, perceived proximity improved performance indirectly by increasing subjective task ease (Study 2). Results suggest that implementation intentions can reduce anxiety and lead to perceived proximity of goal-relevant targets, which helps perceivers make progress on goals.

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Obliquity

John Kay
Capitalism and Society, Winter 2013

Abstract:
Why is it that the wealthiest people are not the most materialistic; that the most successful businesses are not the most profit-oriented; and that the happiest people do not directly pursue happiness? Using a diverse range of examples, from the Messenger spacecraft to French architecture, this essay explains why complex goals are best achieved when they are pursued indirectly; this is the concept of obliquity.

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Parent Praise to 1- to 3-Year-Olds Predicts Children's Motivational Frameworks 5 Years Later

Elizabeth Gunderson et al.
Child Development, forthcoming

Abstract:
In laboratory studies, praising children's effort encourages them to adopt incremental motivational frameworks - they believe ability is malleable, attribute success to hard work, enjoy challenges, and generate strategies for improvement. In contrast, praising children's inherent abilities encourages them to adopt fixed-ability frameworks. Does the praise parents spontaneously give children at home show the same effects? Although parents' early praise of inherent characteristics was not associated with children's later fixed-ability frameworks, parents' praise of children's effort at 14-38 months (N = 53) did predict incremental frameworks at 7-8 years, suggesting that causal mechanisms identified in experimental work may be operating in home environments.

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Mothers' Daily Person and Process Praise: Implications for Children's Theory of Intelligence and Motivation

Eva Pomerantz & Sara Kempner
Developmental Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examined if mothers' day-to-day praise of children's success in school plays a role in children's theory of intelligence and motivation. Participants were 120 children (mean age = 10.23 years) and their mothers who took part in a 2-wave study spanning 6 months. During the first wave, mothers completed a 10-day daily interview in which they reported on their use of person (e.g., "You are smart") and process (e.g., "You tried hard") praise. Children's entity theory of intelligence and preference for challenge in school were assessed with surveys at both waves. Mothers' person, but not process, praise was predictive of children's theory of intelligence and motivation: The more person praise mothers used, the more children subsequently held an entity theory of intelligence and avoided challenge over and above their earlier functioning on these dimensions.

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On Feeding Those Hungry for Praise: Person Praise Backfires in Children With Low Self-Esteem

Eddie Brummelman et al.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Child-rearing experts have long believed that praise is an effective means to help children with low self-esteem feel better about themselves. But should one praise these children for who they are, or for how they behave? Study 1 (N = 357) showed that adults are inclined to give children with low self-esteem more person praise (i.e., praise for personal qualities) but less process praise (i.e., praise for behavior) than they give children with high self-esteem. This inclination may backfire, however. Study 2 (N = 313; Mage = 10.4 years) showed that person praise, but not process praise, predisposes children, especially those with low self-esteem, to feel ashamed following failure. Consistent with attribution theory, person praise seems to make children attribute failure to the self. Together, these findings suggest that adults, by giving person praise, may foster in children with low self-esteem the very emotional vulnerability they are trying to prevent.

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A 10-day developmental voyage: Converging evidence from three studies showing that self-esteem may be elevated and maintained without negative outcomes

S. Kafka et al.
Social Psychology of Education, December 2012, Pages 571-601

Abstract:
Empirical evidence shows that educational experiences in the context of the outdoors lead to elevated self-esteem. Although elevated self-esteem is widely assumed to promote beneficial outcomes, recent evidence suggests that elevated self-esteem may also facilitate a variety of negative outcomes (i.e., increased prejudice, aggression, drug and alcohol abuse). The current research was conducted in order to examine whether one type of outdoor educational experience - a 10-day developmental voyage - could elevate adolescents' self-esteem without also elevating negative outcomes. The data from three separate studies are reported. Study one revealed that adolescents who undertook the voyage manifested elevated self-esteem and decreased gender prejudice (i.e., less negative ratings of opposite sex outgroup members). Study two replicated these findings and further demonstrated that these effects were maintained 4-5 months following the voyage. In study three, in addition to self-esteem, risky attitudes (i.e., towards drug and alcohol use), physical aggression, verbal aggression, racial and gender bias were also examined. Adolescents again showed elevated self-esteem that was maintained 4-5 months following the voyage. There were no changes in risky attitudes, aggression, or racial and gender bias. Taken together these results indicate that taking part in a 10-day developmental voyage can lead to an elevation in self-esteem, that is maintained over time and which does not facilitate a variety of negative outcomes.

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Exploring the Interplay of Trait Self-Control and Ego Depletion: Empirical Evidence for Ironic Effects

Roland Imhoff, Alexander Schmidt & Friederike Gerstenberg
European Journal of Personality, forthcoming

Abstract:
Trait self-control (TSC) has been conceptualized as a general and abstract ability to exert self-regulation across multiple domains that has mostly beneficial effects. However, its relationship to situational depletion of self-regulatory resources has received little attention. We systematically explore the interplay of trait and situational self-control in two studies (total N = 264). In contrast with a positive view of TSC, the results show greater ego depletion effects for high (vs. low) self-control abilities across such diverse domains as candy consumption (Study 1), risk-taking behaviour (Study 2) and achievement motivation (Study 2). It is proposed that these ironic effects are attributable to high-TSC individuals' less frequent active inhibition of impulses in everyday life and their resulting lack of experience in resisting acute temptations. A third study (N> = 358) corroborated this general reasoning by showing that TSC is indeed associated with less frequent impulse inhibition in daily routines. Our data point to a downside of dispositional self-control in ego depletion paradigms. Other explanations and potential future avenues for resolving inconsistent findings across the literature are discussed.

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Consolidation Power of Extrinsic Rewards: Reward Cues Enhance Long-Term Memory for Irrelevant Past Events

Kou Murayama & Shinji Kitagami
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Recent research suggests that extrinsic rewards promote memory consolidation through dopaminergic modulation processes. However, no conclusive behavioral evidence exists given that the influence of extrinsic reward on attention and motivation during encoding and consolidation processes are inherently confounded. The present study provides behavioral evidence that extrinsic rewards (i.e., monetary incentives) enhance human memory consolidation independently of attention and motivation. Participants saw neutral pictures, followed by a reward or control cue in an unrelated context. Our results (and a direct replication study) demonstrated that the reward cue predicted a retrograde enhancement of memory for the preceding neutral pictures. This retrograde effect was observed only after a delay, not immediately upon testing. An additional experiment showed that emotional arousal or unconscious resource mobilization cannot explain the retrograde enhancement effect. These results provide support for the notion that the dopaminergic memory consolidation effect can result from extrinsic reward.

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State Dependent Valuation: The Effect of Deprivation on Risk Preferences

Dino Levy, Amalie Thavikulwat & Paul Glimcher
PLoS ONE, January 2013

Abstract:
The internal state of an organism affects its choices. Previous studies in various non-human animals have demonstrated a complex, and in some cases non-monotonic, interaction between internal state and risk preferences. Our aim was to examine the systematic effects of deprivation on human decision-making across various reward types. Using both a non-parametric approach and a classical economic analysis, we asked whether the risk attitudes of human subjects towards money, food and water rewards would change as a function of their internal metabolic state. Our findings replicate some previous work suggesting that, on average, humans become more risk tolerant in their monetary decisions, as they get hungry. However, our specific approach allowed us to make two novel observations about the complex interaction between internal state and risk preferences. First, we found that the change in risk attitude induced by food deprivation is a general phenomenon, affecting attitudes towards both monetary and consumable rewards. But much more importantly, our data indicate that rather than each subject becoming more risk tolerant as previously hypothesized based on averaging across subjects, we found that as a population of human subjects becomes food deprived the heterogeneity of their risk attitudes collapses towards a fixed point. Thus subjects who show high-risk aversion while satiated shift towards moderate risk aversion when deprived but subjects who are risk tolerant become more risk averse. These findings demonstrate a more complicated interaction between internal state and risk preferences and raise some interesting implications for both day-to-day decisions and financial market structures.

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Reversing Downward Performance Spirals

Tim Rees et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, May 2013, Pages 400-403

Abstract:
Research has typically portrayed downward performance spirals as inevitable following initial failure experiences. On the basis of social identity theorizing, we provide a prescription for reversing these spirals. In two experiments, we manipulated the source of failure feedback between successive trials on a task. Participants in each experiment initially performed the task better in the presence of an ingroup versus an outgroup member. Subsequently, performance worsened only after discouraging feedback from an ingroup member, and improved only after encouraging feedback from an ingroup member. Experiment 2 showed that motivation mediated these effects: Those who became motivated to prove the outgroup wrong and the ingroup right were most likely to recover from earlier poor performance. Therefore, downward performance spirals are not inevitable; they can be reversed by harnessing the uniquely potent combination of ingroup influence and intergroup competition.

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Testing an Adaptationist Theory of Trait Covariation: Relative Bargaining Power as a Common Calibrator of an Interpersonal Syndrome

Aaron Lukaszewski
European Journal of Personality, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article provides the first test of an adaptationist ‘common calibration' theory to explain the origins of trait covariation, which holds that (i) personality traits are often facultatively calibrated in response to cues that ancestrally predicted the reproductive payoffs of different trait levels and (ii) distinct traits that are calibrated on the basis of common input cues will exhibit consistent patterns of covariation. This theory is applied to explain the covariation within a ‘personality syndrome' encompassing various interpersonal trait dimensions (e.g. extraversion, emotionality and attachment styles). Specifically, it is hypothesized that these traits are inter-correlated because each is calibrated in response to relative bargaining power (RBP) - a joint function of one's ability to benefit others and harm others. Path analyses from a correlational study compellingly supported this theoretical model: Objective and self-perceived measures of RBP-enhancing phenotypic features (physical attractiveness and physical strength) influenced an internal regulatory variable indexing RBP (i.e. self-perceived RBP), which in turn had robust effects on each of the focal personality traits. Moreover, in support of the theory's core postulate, controlling for self-perceived RBP greatly reduced the covariation within the interpersonal syndrome. These novel findings illustrate the promise of an evolutionary psychological approach to elucidating trait covariation.

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Enhancing a Brief Writing Intervention to Combat Stereotype Threat Among Middle-School Students

Natasha Bowen, Kate Wegmann & Kristina Webber
Journal of Educational Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Experimental research has demonstrated both the deleterious effects of negative stereotypes about ability on academic performance and the relative ease with which stereotypes can be countered in educational settings. The extent to which stereotypes contribute to the achievement gap between American students from dominant social and economic groups and students from other groups is not precisely known, but the potential of brief, inexpensive interventions targeting stereotype threat to reduce the gap is worthy of further examination. Although researchers studying brief social psychological interventions sometimes mention the importance of the context in which interventions occur, they have not included manipulations of the environment in their interventions. In the current experimental study, a test of the effects of a brief self-affirming writing assignment was conducted in a new sample of middle-school students (n = 132), and an environmental enhancement to the writing exercise was tested (n = 274). Consistent with previous findings, the self-affirming intervention reduced the average decline in Social Studies grades over the school year compared with a neutral condition (effect size, ES, .57). The combination of the affirming writing assignment with an environmental enhancement had superior effects to the writing assignment alone (ES .53).

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Effect of Syllable Articulation on Precision and Power Grip Performance

Lari Vainio et al.
PLoS ONE, January 2013

Abstract:
The present study was motivated by a theory, which proposes that speech includes articulatory gestures that are connected to particular hand actions. We hypothesized that certain articulatory gestures would be more associated with the precision grip than with the power grip, and vice versa. In the study, the participants pronounced a syllable and performed simultaneously a precision or power grip that was theorized to be either congruent or incongruent with the syllable. Relatively fast precision grip responses were associated with articulatory gestures in which the tip of the tongue contacted the alveolar ridge ([te]) or the aperture of the vocal tract remained small ([hi]), as well as gestures that required lip protrusion ([pu]). In contrast, relatively fast power grip responses were associated with gestures that were produced by moving the back of the tongue against the velum ([ke]) or in which the aperture of the vocal tract remained large ([hα]). In addition to demonstrating that certain articulatory gestures are systematically connected to different grip types, the study may shed some light on discussion concerning sound symbolism and evolution of speech. 

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM