Findings

Decisive

Kevin Lewis

December 19, 2013

When Three Charms but Four Alarms: Identifying the Optimal Number of Claims in Persuasion Settings

Suzanne Shu & Kurt Carlson
Journal of Marketing, forthcoming

Abstract:
How many positive claims should firms use to produce the most positive impression of a product or service? This article posits that when consumers know that the message source has a persuasion motive, the optimal number of positive claims is three. Increasing the number of claims improves consumer perceptions until the fourth claim, at which point consumers' persuasion knowledge causes them to view all the claims with skepticism. The studies herein establish and explore this pattern, which the authors refer to as the “charm of three.” An initial experiment indicates that impressions peak at three claims for sources with a persuasion motive but not for sources without a persuasion motive. The second experiment indicates that this effect occurs for attitudes and impressions and that increased skepticism at four or more claims explains the effect. Two final experiments examine the mental process by which the charm of three occurs by investigating how cognitive load and sequential claims influence the effect.

----------------------

Positive Effects of Imagery on Police Officers' Shooting Performance under Threat

Laura Colin et al.
Applied Cognitive Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigated the effects of imagery on police officers' shooting performance under threat. To this end, 66 officers executed a realistic shooting exercise against an opponent that initially did not shoot back with painful coloured-soap cartridges (low-threat condition) followed by a condition in which he did [high-threat (HT) condition]. In between conditions, participants performed an imagery intervention: one group imagined ‘successful shot execution’ and one imagined ‘successful shot execution under threat, including the accompanying emotions’; a control group received no imagery intervention. Although for the control group shot accuracy was significantly lower in the HT condition than under low-threat conditions, both imagery groups were able to maintain their shot accuracy in the HT condition, despite increased levels of anxiety. It is concluded that focusing on successful shot execution is pivotal, whereas adding emotional statements does not seem to have an additional positive effect.

----------------------

The vision heuristic: Judging music ensembles by sight alone

Chia-Jung Tsay
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, forthcoming

Abstract:
Team effectiveness and group performance are often defined by standards set by domain experts. Professional musicians consistently report that sound output is the most important standard for evaluating the quality of group performance in the domain of music. However, across six studies, visual information dominated rapid judgments of group performance. Participants (1062 experts and novices) were able to select the actual winners of live ensemble competitions and distinguish top-ranked orchestras from non-ranked orchestras based on 6-s silent video recordings yet were unable to do so from sound recordings or recordings with both video and sound. These findings suggest that judgments of group performance in the domain of music are driven at least in part by visual cues about group dynamics and leadership.

----------------------

Potential: The valuation of imagined future achievement

Andrew Poehlman & George Newman
Cognition, January 2014, Pages 134–139

Abstract:
The concept of potential is central to a number of decisions, ranging from organizational hiring, to athletic recruiting, to the evaluation of artistic performances. While potential may often be valued for its future payoffs, the present studies investigate whether people value potential even when making decisions about goods and experiences that can only be consumed in the present. Experiment 1 demonstrates that potential makes people more likely to consume inferior performances in the present. Experiment 2 manipulated temporal focus and demonstrates that focusing on the present (vs. the future) attenuates the effect of potential on enjoyment. Experiment 3 demonstrates that merely moving the performance into the past negates the effect of potential. And, Experiment 4 demonstrates that potential increases valuation only when value is tied to abstract, hedonic dimensions, but not when it is tied to concrete, utilitarian dimensions.

----------------------

Receptive to bad reception: Jerky motion can make persuasive messages more effective

Himalaya Patel et al.
Computers in Human Behavior, March 2014, Pages 32–39

Abstract:
When used deliberately in television and film, jerky motion captures attention. However, it can be distracting in the movements of characters in digital video. To what extent does this kind of jerkiness influence message processing? Based on a limited-capacity model of message processing, jerky character motion was predicted to increase compliance to a persuasive message. The present experiment manipulated the jerkiness of an actor’s movements in a computer-delivered video to examine its effect on responses to a hypothetical medical scenario. Jerkiness, whether subtle or obvious, increased self-reported compliance. It also decreased heart rate variability, indicating attentional mediation. Though counterintuitive, these findings indicate that jerky character motion can make computer-mediated messages more persuasive.

----------------------

Should I think carefully or sleep on it?: Investigating the moderating role of attribute learning

Jonathan Hasford
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, March 2014, Pages 51–55

Abstract:
An emerging debate in the judgment and decision making literature has focused on whether unconscious thought can improve complex decision making beyond conscious thought. However, a previously overlooked factor in this debate is the role of attribute learning prior to deliberation. The effect of information specificity in prior learning is examined here. When attribute information is less specific (i.e. presented in valence), unconscious thought improves decision making beyond conscious thought. However, when attribute information is more specific (i.e. presented in absolute values), conscious thought with attribute information improves choice similarly to unconscious thought. These findings help bridge previous inconsistencies by suggesting that initial attribute learning exerts an important influence on the effectiveness of conscious and unconscious thought in complex decision making.

----------------------

Overconfidence as a social bias: Experimental evidence

Till Proeger & Lukas Meub
Economics Letters, February 2014, Pages 203–207

Abstract:
The overconfidence bias is discussed extensively in economic studies, yet fails to hold experimentally once monetary incentives and feedback are implemented. We consider overconfidence as a social bias. For a simple real effort task, we show that, individually, economic conditions effectively prevent overconfidence. By contrast, the introduction of a very basic, purely observational social setting fosters overconfident self-assessments. Additionally, observing others’ actions effectively eliminates underconfidence compared to the individual setting.

----------------------

Do I Amuse You? Asymmetric Predictors for Humor Appreciation and Humor Production

Joseph Moran et al.
Journal of Research in Personality, forthcoming

Abstract:
A “sense of humor” can be fractionated into appreciation (enjoying jokes), production fluency (making jokes), and production success (making funny jokes). There is scant research on how appreciation and production relate, and their relation to individual differences. Participants (N=159) rated the humor of captioned cartoons and created captions for different cartoons. People who wrote funnier captions were less amused by the professionally-captioned cartoons. Production fluency, in contrast, was not related to appreciation. Personality predicted humor appreciation, but not production success. Demographics predicted production success, but not appreciation. Appreciation and production success appear to rely on separable mechanisms and motivations. Our results were also inconsistent with the idea that humor creators are motivated by dominance and humor appreciators by affiliation.

----------------------

Death of a salesman: Webpage-based manipulations of mortality salience

William Chopik & Robin Edelstein
Computers in Human Behavior, February 2014, Pages 94–99

Abstract:
Most people are accustomed to ignoring the advertisements that they encounter while surfing the Internet, despite the profound effects such advertisements can have on behavior. We showed that webpage advertisements can remind people of their mortality (Study 1) and lead them to invest in culturally valued behavior (Studies 2–4). Specifically, individuals in the “mortality salience” condition reported greater worldview defense (Study 2) and spent more money on luxury items (Studies 3 and 4) than those in the control condition, consistent with proposals set forth by terror management theory. In Study 4, death-related thoughts mediated the relationship between mortality salience and willingness to spend money on luxury items. Findings are discussed in the context of online consumer behavior.

----------------------

Can Negative Mood Improve Language Understanding? Affective Influences on the Ability to Detect Ambiguous Communication

Diana Matovic, Alex Koch & Joseph Forgas
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Can negative mood improve language understanding? Two experiments explored mood effects on people’s ability to correctly identify sentences that lack clear meaning in the absence of further contextual information (ambiguous anaphora). Based on recent affect – cognition theories, we predicted and found that negative affect, induced by film clips, improved people’s ability to detect linguistic ambiguity. An analysis of response latencies (Studies 1 & 2) and recall (Study 2) confirmed that negative mood produced longer and more attentive processing, and a mediational analysis suggested that processing latencies mediated mood effects on detecting linguistic ambiguity. These results are consistent with negative affect selectively promoting a more concrete, vigilant and externally focused accommodative information processing style, involving more detailed attention to the communicative content of a message. The theoretical relevance of these results for recent affect-cognition theories is considered, and the practical implications of the findings for everyday verbal communication and interpersonal behavior are discussed.

----------------------

“Piensa” twice: On the foreign language effect in decision making

Albert Costa et al.
Cognition, February 2014, Pages 236–254

Abstract:
In this article, we assess to what extent decision making is affected by the language in which a given problem is presented (native vs. foreign). In particular, we aim to ask whether the impact of various heuristic biases in decision making is diminished when the problems are presented in a foreign language. To this end, we report four main studies in which more than 700 participants were tested on different types of individual decision making problems. In the first study, we replicated Keysar et al.’s (2012) recent observation regarding the foreign language effect on framing effects related to loss aversion. In the second section, we assessed whether the foreign language effect is present in other types of framing problems that involve psychological accounting biases rather than gain/loss dichotomies. In the third section, we studied the foreign language effect in several key aspects of the theory of decision making under risk and uncertainty. In the fourth study, we assessed the presence of a foreign language effect in the cognitive reflection test, a test that includes logical problems that do not carry emotional connotations. The absence of such an effect in this test suggests that foreign language leads to a reduction of heuristic biases in decision making across a range of decision making situations and provide also some evidence about the boundaries of the phenomenon. We explore several potential factors that may underlie the foreign language effect in decision making.

----------------------

No Time to Waste: Restricting Life-Span Temporal Horizons Decreases the Sunk-Cost Fallacy

JoNell Strough et al.
Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, January 2014, Pages 78–94

Abstract:
In three studies, we examined the influence of restricted and expansive temporal horizons on the sunk-cost fallacy. The sunk-cost fallacy occurs when prior investments instead of future returns influence decisions about future investments. When making decisions about future investments, rational decision makers base decisions on future consequences, not already-invested costs that are “sunk” and cannot be recovered. In Study 1, we restricted young adult college students' temporal horizons by instructing them to imagine that they did not have much longer to live; this manipulation decreased the sunk-cost fallacy. In Study 2, we replicated Study 1 and also found that the consequences of manipulating temporal horizons were most pronounced for prior investments of time and that prior investments of time and money had different implications for the sunk-cost fallacy, depending on the social or nonsocial decision domain. In Study 3, we manipulated temporal horizons by instructing students to imagine their time as a college student was coming to an end. Results were mostly similar to Study 2 but also suggested that focusing on one's mortality may have unique consequences. Implications of the three studies for understanding age differences in sunk-cost decisions, interventions to improve sunk-cost decisions, and the situations in which interventions might be most needed are discussed.

----------------------

Overindividuation in Gift Giving: Shopping for Multiple Recipients Leads Givers to Choose Unique but Less Preferred Gifts

Mary Steffel & Robyn Le Boeuf
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examines how the social context in which gifts are selected influences gift choices. Six experiments show that, when givers select gifts for multiple recipients, they tend to pass up gifts that would be better liked by one or more recipients in favor of giving different gifts to each recipient, even when recipients will not compare gifts. This overindividuation does not seem to arise because givers perceive recipients’ preferences differently when they consider them together versus separately: although givers’ gift selections differ between a one-recipient and multiple-recipient context, their perceptions of which gifts would be better liked do not. Rather, overindividuation seems to arise because givers try to be thoughtful by treating each recipient as unique. Consistent with this, givers are more likely to overindividuate when they are encouraged to be thoughtful. Focusing givers on recipients’ preferences reduces overindividuation and can help givers select better-liked gifts.

----------------------

Hierarchical Control and Driving

Nathan Medeiros-Ward, Joel Cooper & David Strayer
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
We manipulated primary task predictability and secondary task workload in the context of driving an automobile. As the driving task became less predictable (by adding wind gusts), more attention was required to maintain lane position. When drivers concurrently engaged in a secondary cognitive task in the windy driving condition, attention was diverted from driving and the ability to maintain lane position was degraded. By contrast, when the driving task was predictable (no wind), lane maintenance actually improved when a secondary cognitive task diverted attention from driving. These data provide evidence for a hierarchical control network that coordinates an interaction between automatic, encapsulated routines and limited capacity attention.

----------------------

Enhanced activation of the left hemisphere promotes normative decision making

Ryan Corser & John Jasper
Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous studies have reported that enhanced activation of the left cerebral hemisphere reduces risky-choice, attribute, and goal-framing effects relative to enhanced activation of the right cerebral hemisphere. The present study sought to extend these findings and show that enhanced activation of the left hemisphere also reduces violations of other normative principles, besides the invariance principle. Participants completed ratio bias (Experiment 1, N = 296) and base rate neglect problems (Experiment 2, N = 145) under normal (control) viewing or with the right or left hemisphere primarily activated by imposing a unidirectional gaze. In Experiment 1 we found that enhanced left hemispheric activation reduced the ratio bias relative to normal viewing and a group experiencing enhanced right hemispheric activation. In Experiment 2 enhanced left hemispheric activation resulted in using base rates more than normal viewing, but not significantly more than enhanced right hemispheric activation. Results suggest that hemispheric asymmetries can affect higher-order cognitive processes, such as decision-making biases. Possible theoretical accounts are discussed as well as implications for dual-process theories.

----------------------

Construing creativity: The how and why of recognizing creative ideas

Jennifer Mueller, Cheryl Wakslak & Vish Krishnan
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, March 2014, Pages 81–87

Abstract:
While prior theory proposes that domain knowledge is the main factor that determines creativity assessments, we provide theory and evidence to suggest that situational factors can also alter what people view as creative. Specifically, we test the notion that one’s current construal-level can shift what people perceive as creative. We employ three studies manipulating construal in two ways (i.e., with spatial distance and construal level mindset priming) to show that people with low-level and high-level construal orientations differ in creativity assessments of the same idea. We further show that low- and high-level construals do not alter perceptions of ideas low in creativity, and that uncertainty sometimes mediates the relationship between construal level priming and creativity assessments of an examined idea. These findings shed light on why people desire but often reject creativity, and suggest practical solutions to help organizations (e.g., journals, government agencies, venture capitalists) spot creative ideas.

----------------------

Debiasing the Mind Through Meditation: Mindfulness and the Sunk-Cost Bias

Andrew Hafenbrack, Zoe Kinias & Sigal Barsade
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the research reported here, we investigated the debiasing effect of mindfulness meditation on the sunk-cost bias. We conducted four studies (one correlational and three experimental); the results suggest that increased mindfulness reduces the tendency to allow unrecoverable prior costs to influence current decisions. Study 1 served as an initial correlational demonstration of the positive relationship between trait mindfulness and resistance to the sunk-cost bias. Studies 2a and 2b were laboratory experiments examining the effect of a mindfulness-meditation induction on increased resistance to the sunk-cost bias. In Study 3, we examined the mediating mechanisms of temporal focus and negative affect, and we found that the sunk-cost bias was attenuated by drawing one’s temporal focus away from the future and past and by reducing state negative affect, both of which were accomplished through mindfulness meditation.

----------------------

Does Emotion Help or Hinder Reasoning? The Moderating Role of Relevance

Isabelle Blanchette, Sarah Gavigan & Kathryn Johnston
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
Some prior research has shown that emotion impairs logicality in deductive reasoning tasks, while other research suggests improved performance with emotional contents. We suggest that relevance, whether the affective state is associated with the semantic contents of the reasoning task, may be crucial in explaining these apparently inconsistent findings. This hypothesis is based on a framework distinguishing between integral emotions, where affective responses are evoked by the semantic contents of the target task, and incidental emotions, where affective responses are not related to the task. In 4 experiments we examined the effect of emotion on conditional reasoning when affective responses were relevant and irrelevant. We used images presented simultaneously with the reasoning stimuli (Experiments 1, 2, and 3) or videos presented prior to the reasoning stimuli (Experiment 4) that were either emotional or neutral and semantically related or not to the conditional statements. Results showed that emotion decreased the proportion of normatively correct responses only in the irrelevant condition. In the relevant condition, emotion did not produce reliable deleterious effects. We used reaction time and skin conductance measures to investigate the physiological and cognitive correlates of these effects. Results are discussed in terms of the distinction between incidental and integral emotions.

----------------------

The Top-Ten Effect: Consumers' Subjective Categorization of Ranked Lists

Mathew Isaac & Robert Schindler
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming

"Six studies show that consumers mentally subdivide ranked lists into a smaller set of categories and exaggerate differences between consecutive items adjacent to category boundaries. Further, despite prior work suggesting that people might subjectively produce place-value categories (e.g., single digits, the 20s), this research shows that consumers interpret ranked lists by generating round-number categories ending in zero or five (e.g., top 10, top 25)."

----------------------

What makes you click? The effect of question headlines on readership in computer-mediated communication

Linda Lai & Audun Farbrot
Social Influence, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper reports the results of two field experiments that investigate the effect of using question headlines to enhance readership in computer-mediated communication. The results from both experiments suggest that question headlines are significantly more effective than declarative headlines in generating readership. The results from the second experiment also indicate that question headlines with self-referencing cues are particularly effective and generate higher readership than question headlines without self-referencing cues and rhetorical question headlines. However, results also suggest that the effect of question headlines varies across message topics. Limitations and future research opportunities are discussed.

----------------------

Do You Want the Good News or the Bad News First? The Nature and Consequences of News Order Preferences

Angela Legg & Kate Sweeny
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract:
Information often comes as a mix of good and bad news, prompting the question, “Do you want the good news or the bad news first?” In such cases, news-givers and news-recipients differ in their concerns and considerations, thus creating an obstacle to ideal communication. In three studies, we examined order preferences of news-givers and news-recipients and the consequences of these preferences. Study 1 confirmed that news-givers and news-recipients differ in their news order preferences. Study 2 tested two solutions to close the preference gap between news-givers and recipients and found that both perspective-taking and priming emotion-protection goals shift news-givers’ delivery patterns to the preferred order of news-recipients. Study 3 provided evidence that news order has consequences for recipients, such that opening with bad news (as recipients prefer) reduces worry, but this emotional benefit undermines motivation to change behavior.

----------------------

Beyond Rationality: The Role of Anger and Information in Deliberation

Nuri Kim
Communication Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
The effects of anger and information were experimentally tested in a small group deliberation setting. The participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions varying in the level of induced anger and amount of information they received. After reading about a controversial local issue, they engaged in a group discussion about the topic. Content analysis revealed each individual’s level of participation. More informed participants expressed more opinions during deliberation than less informed participants. Participants made to feel angry were also more active than those in the control condition, but to a lesser degree than the more informed participants. Structural equation modeling suggested that the effect of anger on postdeliberation argument repertoire and knowledge was more direct, whereas the effect of information was mediated by active participation during deliberation.

----------------------

Egocentric framing — One way people may fail in a switch dilemma: Evidence from excessive lane switching

David Navon, Todd Kaplan & Ronen Kasten
Acta Psychologica, November 2013, Pages 604–616

Abstract:
To study switching behavior, an experiment mimicking the state of a driver on the road was conducted. In each trial participants were given a chance to switch lanes. Despite the fact that lane switching had no sound rational basis, participants often switched lanes when the speed of driving in their lane on the previous trial was relatively slow. That tendency was discerned even when switching behavior had been sparsely reinforced, and was especially marked in almost a third of the participants, who manifested it consistently. The findings illustrate a type of behavior occurring in various contexts (e.g., stocks held in a portfolio, conduct pertinent for residual life expectancy, supermarket queues). We argue that this behavior may be due to a fallacy reminiscent of that arising in the well-known “envelopes problem”, in which each of two players holds a sum of money of which she knows nothing about except that it is either half or twice the amount held by the other player. Players may be paradoxically tempted to exchange assets, since an exchange fallaciously appears to always yield an expected value greater than whatever is regarded as the player's present assets. We argue that the fallacy is due to egocentrically framing the problem as if the “amount I have” is definite, albeit unspecified, and shows that framing the paradox acentrically instead eliminates the incentive to exchange assets. A possible psychological source for the human disposition to frame problems in a way that inflates expected gain is discussed. Finally, a heuristic meant to avert the source of the fallacy is proposed.

----------------------

The Effect of Intuitive Advice Justification on Advice Taking

Stefanie Tzioti, Berend Wierenga & Stijn van Osselaer
Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, January 2014, Pages 66–77

Abstract:
How do you respond when receiving advice from somebody with the argumentation “my gut tells me so” or “this is what my intuition says”? Most likely, you would find this justification insufficient and disregard the advice. Are there also situations where people do appreciate such intuitive advice and change their opinion accordingly? A growing number of authors write about the power of intuition in solving problems, showing that intuitively made decisions can be of higher quality than decisions based on analytical reasoning. We want to know if decision makers, when receiving advice based on an intuitive cognitive process, also recognize the value of such advice. Is advice justified by intuition necessarily followed to a lesser extent than an advice justified by analysis? Furthermore, what are the important factors influencing the effect of intuitive justification on advice taking? Participants across three studies show that utilization of intuitive advice varies depending on advisor seniority and type of task for which the advice is given. Summarizing, the results suggest that decision makers a priori doubt the value of intuitive advice and only assess it as accurate if other cues in the advice setting corroborate this. Intuitively justified advice is utilized more if it comes from a senior advisor. In decision tasks with experiential products, intuitively justified advice can even have more impact than analytically justified advice.

----------------------

When Fatigue Turns Deadly: The Association Between Fatigue and Racial Bias in the Decision to Shoot

Debbie Ma et al.
Basic and Applied Social Psychology, November/December 2013, Pages 515-524

Abstract:
Racial bias in the decision to shoot can be minimized if individuals have ample cognitive resources to regulate automatic reactions. However, when individuals are fatigued, cognitive control may be compromised, which can lead to greater racial bias in shoot/don't-shoot decisions. The current studies provide evidence for this hypothesis experimentally using undergraduate participants (Study 1) and in a correlational design testing police recruits (Study 2). These results shed light on the processes underlying the decision to shoot and, given the high prevalence of fatigue among police officers, may have important practical implications.

----------------------

Dissociable Effects of Dopamine and Serotonin on Reversal Learning

Hanneke den Ouden et al.
Neuron, 20 November 2013, Pages 1090-1100

Abstract:
Serotonin and dopamine are speculated to subserve motivationally opponent functions, but this hypothesis has not been directly tested. We studied the role of these neurotransmitters in probabilistic reversal learning in nearly 700 individuals as a function of two polymorphisms in the genes encoding the serotonin and dopamine transporters (SERT: 5HTTLPR plus rs25531; DAT1 3′UTR VNTR). A double dissociation was observed. The SERT polymorphism altered behavioral adaptation after losses, with increased lose-shift associated with L′ homozygosity, while leaving unaffected perseveration after reversal. In contrast, the DAT1 genotype affected the influence of prior choices on perseveration, while leaving lose-shifting unaltered. A model of reinforcement learning captured the dose-dependent effect of DAT1 genotype, such that an increasing number of 9R-alleles resulted in a stronger reliance on previous experience and therefore reluctance to update learned associations. These data provide direct evidence for doubly dissociable effects of serotonin and dopamine systems.

----------------------

Framing Influences Willingness to Pay but Not Willingness to Accept

Yang Yang, Joachim Vosgerau & George Loewenstein
Journal of Marketing Research, December 2013, Pages 725-738

Abstract:
The authors show, with real and hypothetical payoffs, that consumers are willing to pay substantially less for a risky prospect when it is called a “lottery ticket,” “raffle,” “coin flip,” or “gamble” than when it is labeled a “gift certificate” or “voucher.” Willingness to accept, in contrast, is not affected by these frames. This differential framing effect is the result of an aversion to bad deals, which causes buyers to focus on different aspects than sellers. Buyers' willingness to pay is influenced by the extent to which a risky prospect's frame is associated with risk (Experiment 1) as well as the prospect's lowest (but not highest) possible outcome (Experiment 2). Sellers’ willingness to accept, in contrast, is influenced by a prospect's lowest and highest possible outcomes but not by the risk associated with its frame (Experiments 2 and 3). The framing effect on willingness to pay is independent of the objective level of uncertainty (Experiment 4) and can lead to the uncertainty effect. The findings have important implications for research on risk preferences and marketing practice.


Sign-in to your National Affairs subscriber account.


Already a subscriber? Activate your account.


subscribe

Unlimited access to intelligent essays on the nation’s affairs.

SUBSCRIBE
Subscribe to National Affairs.