Findings

Power Trip

Kevin Lewis

January 11, 2010

Male Susceptibility to Attentional Capture by Power Cues

Malia Mason, Shu Zhang & Rebecca Dyer
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
The present investigation explores the possibility that power has increased salience among males but not females. Evidence indicates that stimuli that are self-relevant or related to chronic goals are more likely to capture attention than neutral information. Across three studies we explore the possibility that the premium males place on power influences how they attend to their environment. Consistent with the common belief that power more readily captures their attention, results indicate that males "dwell" longer on power-related cues (Experiment 1) and are more subject to distraction by task-irrelevant power cues (Experiment 2) than are females. Experiment 3 demonstrates that this increased salience has enduring social consequences by increasing the likelihood that males commit power-relevant material to memory.

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Social Class, Sense of Control, and Social Explanation

Michael Kraus, Paul Piff & Dacher Keltner
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, December 2009, Pages 992-1004

Abstract:
Lower social class is associated with diminished resources and perceived subordinate rank. On the basis of this analysis, the authors predicted that social class would be closely associated with a reduced sense of personal control and that this association would explain why lower class individuals favor contextual over dispositional explanations of social events. Across 4 studies, lower social class individuals, as measured by subjective socioeconomic status (SES), endorsed contextual explanations of economic trends, broad social outcomes, and emotion. Across studies, the sense of control mediated the relation between subjective SES and contextual explanations, and this association was independent of objective SES, ethnicity, political ideology, and self-serving biases. Finally, experimentally inducing a higher sense of control attenuated the tendency for lower subjective SES individuals to make more contextual explanations (Study 4). Implications for future research on social class as well as theoretical distinctions between objective SES and subjective SES are discussed.

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Downright Sexy: Verticality, Implicit Power, and Perceived Physical Attractiveness

Brian Meier & Sarah Dionne
Social Cognition, December 2009, Pages 883-892

Abstract:
Grounded theory proposes that abstract concepts (e.g., power) are represented by perceptions of vertical space (e.g., up is powerful; down is powerless). We used this theory to examine predictions made by evolutionary psychologists who suggest that desirable males are those who have status and resources (i.e., powerful) while desirable females are those who are youthful and faithful (i.e., powerless). Using vertical position as an implicit cue for power, we found that male participants rated pictures of females as more attractive when their images were presented near the bottom of a computer screen, whereas female participants rated pictures of males as more attractive when their images were presented near the top of a computer screen. Our results support the evolutionary theory of attraction and reveal the social-judgment consequences of grounded theories of cognition.

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Social Status and Intertemporal Preferences

Nigel Barradale
University of California Working Paper, November 2009

Abstract:
The field of household finance has established a correlation between savings behavior and education, income, and race. This is partly explained by a high discount rate ultimately leading to low social status. This paper establishes causation in the opposite direction, with a relatively low social status position leading to a relatively high discount rate. The method used is experimental, with 154 subjects interacting in high- or low-status assignments. The subsequent change in intertemporal preference is significantly determined by the status assignment. The effect is strongest among the subjects who initially have higher discount rates and does not depend on the sex of the subject. This result implies low status consumers have higher discount rates and make worse financial choices because of their low social status, a finding that must be addressed in the regulation of consumer financial products.

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The role of height in the sex difference in intelligence

Satoshi Kanazawa & Diane Reyniers
American Journal of Psychology, Winter 2009, Pages 527-536

Abstract:
Recent studies conclude that men on average have higher intelligence than women by 3-5 IQ points. However, the ultimate evolutionary question of why men should have evolved to have higher intelligence than women remains. We suggest that men may have slightly higher intelligence than women through 4 mechanisms: (1) assortative mating of intelligent men and beautiful women, (2) assortative mating of tall men and beautiful women, (3) an extrinsic correlation between height and intelligence produced by Mechanisms 1 and 2, and (4) a higher-thanexpected offspring sex ratio (more sons) among tall (and hence intelligent) parents. Consistent with our suggestion, we show that men may have higher IQs than women because they are taller, and once we control for height women have slightly higher IQs than men. The correlation between height and IQ and the female advantage in intelligence persist even after we control for health as a measure of genetic quality, as well as physical attractiveness, age, race, education, and earnings. Height is also strongly associated with intelligence within each sex.

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Are Individuals Entering Self-Employment Overly-Optimistic? An Empirical Test of Plans and Projections on Nascent Entrepreneur Expectations

Gavin Cassar
Strategic Management Journal, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines the rationality of the expectations of nascent entrepreneurs. Consistent with conjectures regarding entry into self-employment, I find substantial overoptimism in nascent entrepreneurs' expectations in that they overestimate the probability that their nascent activity will result in an operating venture. Further, for those ventures that achieve operation, individuals overestimate the expected future sales and employment. To explain variations in overoptimism, I posit that those individuals who adopt an inside view to forecasting, through the use of plans and financial projections, will exhibit greater ex-ante bias in their expectations. Consistent with the inside view causing overoptimism in expectations, I find that the preparation of projected financial statements results in more overly-optimistic venture sale forecasts.

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The Effects of Chronic Achievement Motivation and Achievement Primes on the Activation of Achievement and Fun Goals

William Hart & Dolores Albarracín
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, December 2009, Pages 1129-1141

Abstract:
This research examined the hypothesis that situational achievement cues can elicit achievement or fun goals depending on chronic differences in achievement motivation. In 4 studies, chronic differences in achievement motivation were measured, and achievement-denoting words were used to influence behavior. The effects of these variables were assessed on self-report inventories, task performance, task resumption following an interruption, and the pursuit of means relevant to achieving or having fun. Findings indicated that achievement priming (vs. control priming) activated a goal to achieve and inhibited a goal to have fun in individuals with chronically high-achievement motivation but activated a goal to have fun and inhibited a goal to achieve in individuals with chronically low-achievement motivation.

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Holding Your Place: Reactions to the Prospect of Status Gains and Losses

Nathan Pettit, Kevyn Yong & Sandra Spataro
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines individuals' reactions to the prospect of gaining or losing status in groups. The results of three experiments provide evidence that individuals attach greater value to status when recalling the risk of status loss than when recalling the potential for status gain (Experiment 1), are willing to pay more to avoid a status loss than to achieve a status gain (Experiment 1), and put forth greater effort when striving to prevent status loss than when striving to gain status (Experiment 2). Finally, individuals who risk losing status allocate more resources toward personal status concerns (and away from group interests and potential monetary gain) than do individuals who have a chance of gaining status (Experiment 3). We discuss the implications of this research both in terms of individuals' psychological experience of their status, as well as status attainment and maintenance concerns in groups.

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Collective Narcissism and Its Social Consequences

Agnieszka Golec de Zavala, Aleksandra Cichocka, Roy Eidelson & Nuwan Jayawickreme
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, December 2009, Pages 1074-1096

Abstract:
This article introduces the concept of collective narcissism-an emotional investment in an unrealistic belief about the in group's greatness-aiming to explain how feelings about an ingroup shape a tendency to aggress against outgroups. The results of 5 studies indicate that collective, but not individual, narcissism predicts intergroup aggressiveness. Collective narcissism is related to high private and low public collective self-esteem and low implicit group esteem. It predicts perceived threat from outgroups, unwillingness to forgive outgroups, preference for military aggression over and above social dominance orientation, right-wing authoritarianism, and blind patriotism. The relationship between collective narcissism and aggressiveness is mediated by perceived threat from outgroups and perceived insult to the ingroup. In sum, the results indicate that collective narcissism is a form of high but ambivalent group esteem related to sensitivity to threats to the ingroup's image and retaliatory aggression.

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Psychopaths know right from wrong but don't care

Maaike Cima, Franca Tonnaer & Marc Hauser
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Adult psychopaths have deficits in emotional processing and inhibitory control, engage in morally inappropriate behavior, and generally fail to distinguish moral from conventional violations. These observations, together with a dominant tradition in the discipline which sees emotional processes as causally necessary for moral judgment, have led to the conclusion that psychopaths lack an understanding of moral rights and wrongs. We test an alternative explanation: psychopaths have normal understanding of right and wrong, but abnormal regulation of morally appropriate behavior. We presented psychopaths with moral dilemmas, contrasting their judgments with age- and sex-matched (i) healthy subjects and (ii) non-psychopathic, delinquents. Subjects in each group judged cases of personal harms (i.e. requiring physical contact) as less permissible than impersonal harms, even though both types of harms led to utilitarian gains. Importantly, however, psychopaths' pattern of judgments on different dilemmas was the same as those of the other subjects. These results force a rejection of the strong hypothesis that emotional processes are causally necessary for judgments of moral dilemmas, suggesting instead that psychopaths understand the distinction between right and wrong, but do not care about such knowledge, or the consequences that ensue from their morally inappropriate behavior.

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How Chronic Self-Views Influence (and Mislead) Self-Assessments of Task Performance: Self-Views Shape Bottom-Up Experiences With the Task

Clayton Critcher & David Dunning
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, December 2009, Pages 931-945

Abstract:
Self-assessments of task performance can draw on both top-down sources of information (preconceived notions about one's ability at the task) and bottom-up cues (one's concrete experience with the task itself). Past research has suggested that top-down self-views can mislead performance evaluations but has yet to specify the exact psychological mechanisms that produce this influence. Across 4 experiments, the authors tested the hypothesis that self-views influence performance evaluations by first shaping perceptions of bottom-up experiences with the task, which in turn inform performance evaluations. Consistent with this hypothesis, a relevant top-down belief influenced performance estimates only when learned of before, but not after, completing a task (Study 1), and measures of bottom-up experience were found to mediate the link between top-down beliefs about one's abilities and performance evaluations (Studies 2-4). Furthermore, perception of an objectively definable bottom-up cue (i.e., time it takes to solve a problem) was better predicted by a relevant self-view than the actual passage of time.


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