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Saturday, January 19, 2013

The wise choice

 

Effects of a Visual Technology on Mock Juror Decision Making

Jaihyun Park & Neal Feigenson
Applied Cognitive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Two studies explored the effects of lawyers' use of PowerPoint on liability judgments in a case involving statistical evidence. Participants (Study 1, N = 192; Study 2A, N = 180; Study 2B, N = 189) watched videotaped opening statements for plaintiffs and defendant. In general, defendant's responsibility was judged to be greater when plaintiffs used PowerPoint slides than when they did not and less when defendant used PowerPoint slides than when it did not. Furthermore, PowerPoint's impact was greatest when its use was unequal. PowerPoint enhanced persuasion partly through central and partly through peripheral processing. In general, each party's use of PowerPoint increased participants' recall of that party's evidence, which in turn increased defendant's judged responsibility (when plaintiffs used PowerPoint) or reduced it (when defendants used PowerPoint), indicative of central processing. PowerPoint also functioned as a peripheral cue, influencing participants' judgments of defendant's responsibility by affecting their perceptions of the respective attorneys.

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Show Me the Honey! Effects of Social Exclusion on Financial Risk-Taking

Rod Duclos, Echo Wen Wan & Yuwei Jiang
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines the effects of social exclusion on a critical aspect of consumer behavior, financial decision-making. Specifically, four lab experiments and one field survey uncover how feeling isolated or ostracized causes consumers to pursue riskier but potentially more profitable financial opportunities. These daring proclivities do not appear driven by impaired affect or self-esteem. Rather, interpersonal rejection exacerbates financial risk-taking by heightening the instrumentality of money (as a substitute for popularity) to obtain benefits in life. Invariably, the quest for wealth that ensues tends to adopt a riskier but potentially more lucrative road. The article concludes by discussing the implications of its findings for behavioral research as well as for societal and individual welfare.

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More Is Not Always Better: Intuitions About Effective Public Policy Can Lead to Unintended Consequences

Ellen Peters et al.
Social Issues and Policy Review, January 2013, Pages 114-148

Abstract:
Public policy decisions often appear based on an assumption that providing more options, more information, and greater decision-making autonomy to consumers will produce better outcomes. We examine reasons why this "more-is-better" approach exists based on the psychological literature. Although better outcomes can result from informed consumer choice, we argue that more options, information, and autonomy can also lead to unintended negative consequences. We use mostly health-related policies and guidelines from the United States and elsewhere as exemplars. We consider various psychological mechanisms that cause these unintended consequences including cognitive overload, affect, and anticipated regret, information salience and availability, and trust in governments as authoritative information providers. We also point toward potential solutions based on psychological research that may reduce the negative unintended consequences of a "more-is-better" approach.

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The Ambivalent Mind Can Be a Wise Mind: Emotional Ambivalence Increases Judgment Accuracy

Laura Rees et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article provides evidence that emotional ambivalence, the simultaneous experience of positive and negative emotions, improves judgment accuracy. Two experiments demonstrate that individuals experiencing emotional ambivalence are more accurate in weather temperature forecasts (Experiment 1) and estimation tasks (Experiment 2) than are those experiencing happiness or sadness. Experiment 3a provides suggestive evidence that emotional ambivalence increases individuals' receptivity to alternative perspectives. Experiment 3b provides evidence for the full model: ambivalence increases estimation accuracy by increasing receptivity to alternative perspectives. The experience of ambivalence may be an important tool for encouraging greater receptivity to and consideration of alternative perspectives, and thus greater accuracy in judgments.

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Increasing Visual Search Accuracy by Being Watched

Yuki Miyazaki
PLoS ONE, January 2013

Abstract:
In daily life, huge costs can arise from just one incorrect performance on a visual search task (e.g., a fatal accident due to a driver overlooking a pedestrian). One potential way to prevent such drastic accidents would be for people to modify their decision criterion (e.g., placing a greater priority on accuracy rather than speed) during a visual search. The aim of the present study was to manipulate the criterion by creating an awareness of being watched by another person. During a visual search task, study participants were watched (or not watched) via video cameras and monitors. The results showed that, when they believed they were being watched by another person, they searched more slowly and accurately, as measured by reaction times and hit/miss rates. These findings also were obtained when participants were videotaped and they believed their recorded behavior would be watched by another person in the future. The study primarily demonstrated the role of being watched by another on the modulation of the decision criterion for responding during visual searches.

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Overconfidence and Social Signalling

Stephen Burks et al.
Review of Economic Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
Evidence from both psychology and economics indicates that individuals give statements that appear to overestimate their ability compared to that of others. We test three theories that predict such relative overconfidence. The first theory argues that overconfidence can be generated by Bayesian updating from a common prior and truthful statements if individuals do not know their true type. The second theory suggests that self-image concerns asymmetrically affect the choice to receive new information about one's abilities, and this asymmetry can produce overconfidence. The third theory is that overconfidence is induced by the desire to send positive signals to others about one's own skill; this suggests either a bias in judgement, strategic lying, or both. We formulate this theory precisely. Using a large data set of relative ability judgements about two cognitive tests, we reject the restrictions imposed by the Bayesian model and also reject a key prediction of the self-image models that individuals with optimistic beliefs will be less likely to search for further information about their skill because this information might shatter their self-image. We provide evidence that personality traits strongly affect relative ability judgements in a pattern that is consistent with the third theory of social signalling. Our results together suggest that overconfidence in statements is more likely to be induced by social concerns than by either of the other two factors.

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Influence of motivated reasoning on saving and spending decisions

Himanshu Mishra et al.
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, forthcoming

Abstract:
The decision to save enhances well-being in the long-term but it conflicts with the desire to spend money to gain immediate gratification. In this research, we examine the influence of having single versus multiple accounts on individuals' savings and spending decisions. We find that individuals save more with a single account than with multiple liquid accounts. Utilizing work on motivated reasoning and fuzzy-trace theory, we suggest that multiple accounts engender fuzzy gist representations, making it easier for people to generate justifications to support their desired spending decisions. However, a single account reduces the latitude for distortion and hinders generation of justifications to support desirable spending decisions. Across four studies that provide participants with the opportunity to earn, spend, and save money, we demonstrate the proposed effect and test the underlying process.

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Morningness-eveningness orientation and attitude change: Evidence for greater systematic processing and attitude change at optimal time-of-day

Pearl Martin & Robin Martin
Personality and Individual Differences, April 2013, Pages 551-556

Abstract:
This study examines the relationship between morningness-eveningness orientation and time-of day on attitude change, and tests the hypothesis that people will be more persuaded when tested at their optimal time-of-day (i.e., morning for M-types and evening for E-types) than non-optimal time-of-day (i.e., evening for M-Types and morning for E-types). Two hundred and twenty participants read a message that contained either strong vs. weak quality counter-attitudinal arguments (anti-voluntary euthanasia) in the morning (9.00 a.m.) or in the evening (7.00 p.m.). When tested at their respective optimal time-of-day (for both M- and E-types) there was a reliable difference in attitude change between the strong vs. weak messages (indicating message processing had occurred) while there was no difference between strong vs. weak messages when tested at their non-optimal time-of-day. In addition, the amount of message-congruent thinking mediated the attitude change. The results show that M- and E-types pay greater attention to and elaborate on a persuasive message at their optimal time-of-day, and this leads to increased attitude change, compared to those tested at their non-optimal time-of-day.

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Do Choices Affect Preferences? Some Doubts and New Evidence

Steinar Holden
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
When testing for the existence of choice-induced changes in preferences, one is faced with the combined problem that the preferences are measured imperfectly and that the choice reflects the true preferences. The upshot is that the choice yields information about any measurement errors, implying that the choice may predict a change in measured preferences. Previous studies have neglected this effect, interpreting a change in measured preferences as a change in true preferences. This paper argues that the problems with previous studies can be mitigated by eliciting more information about the preferences of the participants prior to the choices. The paper reports results from a novel experiment, where the evidence does not support the existence of a choice-induced change in preferences.

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Stress and strategic decision-making in the beauty contest game

Johannes Leder, Jan Alexander Häusser & Andreas Mojzisch
Psychoneuroendocrinology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Often, economic decisions do not only depend on one's own preferences, but also on the choices of others and therefore require strategizing (i.e., thinking about what others might think). In experimental economics, this has been modeled by the beauty contest game. Another typical feature of economic decisions is that they are often carried out under stress. Therefore, in the present study, we aimed to examine the influence of stress on decision-making in the beauty contest game. Participants were randomly assigned to either the Trier Social Stress Test for Groups (TSST-G) or a placebo version of the TSST-G (control condition). Then, participants played four rounds of a standard beauty contest game. As a biomarker of stress, salivary cortisol was measured. As predicted, participants under stress chose higher numbers in the beauty contest game than non-stressed participants, indicating less strategizing. This effect was mediated by the stress-induced increase in cortisol.

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The Seductive Allure of "Seductive Allure"

Martha Farah & Cayce Hook
Perspectives on Psychological Science, January 2013, Pages 88-90

Abstract:
The idea of fMRI's "seductive allure" is supported by two widely cited studies. Upon closer analysis of these studies, and in light of more recent research, we find little empirical support for the claim that brain images are inordinately influential.

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Entrepreneurs Under Uncertainty: An Economic Experiment in China

Hakan Holm, Sonja Opper & Victor Nee
Management Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study reports findings from the first large-scale experiment investigating whether entrepreneurs differ from other people in their willingness to expose themselves to various forms of uncertainty. A stratified random sample of 700 chief executive officers from the Yangzi delta region in China is compared to 200 control group members. Our findings suggest that in economic decisions, entrepreneurs are more willing to accept strategic uncertainty related to multilateral competition and trust. However, entrepreneurs do not differ from ordinary people when it comes to nonstrategic forms of uncertainty, such as risk and ambiguity.

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The Effectiveness of Models and Prompts on Waste Diversion: A Field Experiment on Composting by Cafeteria Patrons

Reuven Sussman et al.
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study investigated whether or not visual prompts and human models influence compost-supportive behavior by individuals in a cafeteria setting. Waste disposal behavior of cafeteria patrons was observed (N = 1,060) after the introduction of (1) pro-composting signs, and (2) models who demonstrated appropriate composting behavior. Ideal composting significantly increased relative to the baseline with the introduction of the signs (from 12.5% to 20.5%). A further increase (to 42%) was observed when two (but not one) individuals modeled the behavior, and this increase was sustained even after the models were removed. Informational and normative influences may explain the increase in composting. This study further supports the use of prompts and models as a strategy for encouraging pro-environmental behaviors.

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Natural Language Metaphors Covertly Influence Reasoning

Paul Thibodeau & Lera Boroditsky
PLoS ONE, January 2013

Abstract:
Metaphors pervade discussions of social issues like climate change, the economy, and crime. We ask how natural language metaphors shape the way people reason about such social issues. In previous work, we showed that describing crime metaphorically as a beast or a virus, led people to generate different solutions to a city's crime problem. In the current series of studies, instead of asking people to generate a solution on their own, we provided them with a selection of possible solutions and asked them to choose the best ones. We found that metaphors influenced people's reasoning even when they had a set of options available to compare and select among. These findings suggest that metaphors can influence not just what solution comes to mind first, but also which solution people think is best, even when given the opportunity to explicitly compare alternatives. Further, we tested whether participants were aware of the metaphor. We found that very few participants thought the metaphor played an important part in their decision. Further, participants who had no explicit memory of the metaphor were just as much affected by the metaphor as participants who were able to remember the metaphorical frame. These findings suggest that metaphors can act covertly in reasoning. Finally, we examined the role of political affiliation on reasoning about crime. The results confirm our previous findings that Republicans are more likely to generate enforcement and punishment solutions for dealing with crime, and are less swayed by metaphor than are Democrats or Independents.

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Neural Reactivation Links Unconscious Thought to Decision Making Performance

David Creswell, James Bursley & Ajay Satpute
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
Brief periods of unconscious thought have been shown to improve decision-making compared to making an immediate decision. We reveal a neural mechanism for unconscious thought in decision making using BOLD contrast fMRI. Participants (N=33) encoded information on a set of consumer products (e.g., 48 attributes describing 4 different cars), and we manipulated whether participants (1) consciously thought about this information (conscious thought), (2) completed a difficult 2-back working memory task (unconscious thought), or (3) made immediate decisions about the consumer products (immediate decision) in a within-subjects blocked design. In order to differentiate unconscious thought neural activity from 2-back working memory neural activity, participants completed an independent 2-back task and this neural activity was subtracted from neural activity occurring during the unconscious thought 2-back task. Consistent with a neural reactivation account, we found that the same regions activated during the encoding of complex decision information (right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and left intermediate visual cortex) continued to be activated during a subsequent two-minute unconscious thought period. Moreover, neural reactivation in these regions was predictive of subsequent behavioral decision making performance after the unconscious thought period. These results provide initial evidence for post-encoding unconscious neural reactivation in facilitating decision making.

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Empowering Online Advertisements by Empowering Viewers with the Right to Choose: The Relative Effectiveness of Skippable Video Advertisements on YouTube

Max Pashkevich et al.
Journal of Advertising Research, Fall 2012, Pages 451-457

Abstract:
In 2010, YouTube introduced TrueView in-stream advertising - online video advertisements that allowed the user to skip directly to the desired video content after five seconds of viewing. Google sought to compare these "skippable" in-stream advertisements to the conventional (non-skippable) in-stream video advertising formats, using a new advertising effectiveness metric based on the propensity to search for terms related to advertising content. Google's findings indicated that skippable video advertisements may be as effective on a per-impression basis as traditional video advertisements. In addition, data from randomized experiments showed a strong implied viewer preference for the skippable advertisements. Taken together, these results suggest that formats like TrueView in-stream advertisements can improve the viewing experience for users without sacrificing advertising value for advertisers or content owners.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM