Expectations Influence How Emotions Shape Behavior
Maya Tamir & Yochanan Bigman
Emotions shape behavior, but there is some debate over the manner in which they do so. The authors propose that how emotions shape behavior depends, in part, on how people expect emotions to shape behavior. In Study 1, angry (vs. calm) participants made more money in a negotiation when they expected anger to be beneficial. In Study 2, angry (vs. calm) participants killed more enemies in a computer game when they expected anger (but not calmness) to promote performance. In Study 3, excited (vs. calm) participants were more creative when they expected excitement to promote performance, whereas calm (vs. excited) participants were more creative when they expected calmness to promote performance. These findings demonstrate that, at least sometimes, what emotions do depends on what we expect them to do.
First Evidence for "The Backup Plan Paradox"
Christopher Napolitano & Alexandra Freund
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming
This research is a first test of the backup plan paradox. We hypothesized that investing in a backup plan may facilitate the conditions that it was developed to address: Plan A's insufficiency. Five studies provide initial, primarily correlative support for the undermining effect of investing in a backup plan. Study 1 (n= 160) demonstrated that the more participants perceived they had invested in developing a backup plan (preparing a "crib sheet"), the more likely they were to use it, although greater investments were unrelated to backup plan utility. Studies 2-4 used a simulated negotiation task. Study 2 (n = 247) demonstrated that when goal-relevant resources are limited, investing in developing backup plans and perceiving them as highly instrumental can decrease goal performance through the indirect effect of increased means replacing. Study 3 (n = 248) replicated this effect when goal-relevant resources were plentiful. Study 4 (n = 204) used an experimental variant of the simulated negotiation task and demonstrated that simply having a backup plan is not detrimental, but perceiving backup plans to be highly instrumental decreased goal performance, again through the indirect effect of increased means replacing. Study 5 (n = 160) replicated findings from Studies 1-4 using a lab-based motor task (throwing a ball). Together, these results provide first evidence that backup plans can introduce costs that may jeopardize goal performance.
When My Object Becomes Me: The Mere Ownership of an Object Elevates Domain-Specific Self-Efficacy
Victoria Wai-lan Yeung et al.
Applied Psychology, forthcoming
Past research on the mere ownership effect has shown that when people own an object, they perceive the owned objects more favorably than the comparable non-owned objects. The present research extends this idea, showing that when people own an object functional to the self, they perceive an increase in their self-efficacy. Three studies were conducted to demonstrate this new form of the mere ownership effect. In Study 1, participants reported an increase in their knowledge level by the mere ownership of reading materials (a reading package in Study 1a, and lecture notes in Study 1b). In Study 2, participants reported an increase in their resilience to sleepiness by merely owning a piece of chocolate that purportedly had a sleepiness-combating function. In Study 3, participants who merely owned a flower essence that is claimed to boost creativity reported having higher creativity efficacy. The findings provided insights on how associations with objects alter one's self-perception.
Only one small sin: How self-construal affects self-control
Janina Steinmetz & Thomas Mussweiler
British Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming
Past research has shown that self-construal can influence self-control by reducing interdependent people's impulsivity in the presence of peers. We broaden these findings by examining the hypothesis that an interdependent (vs. independent) self-construal fosters self-control even in the absence of peers and for non-impulsive decisions. We further explore whether this effect could be mediated by the more interrelated (vs. isolated) processing style of interdependent (vs. independent) people. Such an interrelated (vs. isolated) processing style of temptations makes the impact of a single temptation more salient and can thereby increase self-control. Study 1 demonstrated that more interdependent participants show more self-control behaviour by refraining from chocolate consumption to secure a monetary benefit. Studies 2a and 2b highlighted a link between self-construal and trait self-control via the processing of temptations. Study 3 suggested that an interrelated (vs. isolated) perspective on temptations could mediate the effect of (primed) self-construal on self-control. Taken together, self-construal shapes self-control across various decision contexts.
Social-Recognition versus Financial Incentives? Exploring the Effects of Creativity-Contingent External Rewards on Creative Performance
Ravi Mehta, Darren Dahl & Rui (Juliet) Zhu
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming
The present work examines the role of creativity-contingent monetary versus social-recognition rewards on creative performance and provides new insights into the underlying motivational processes through which these rewards affect consumer creativity. A series of five studies demonstrate that within the context of creativity contingency, monetary rewards induce a performance focus, while social-recognition rewards induce a normative focus. Such performance (normative) focus in turn enhances (attenuates) approach motivation to be original and hence leads to higher (lower) originality in a creative task. Thus, this work not only advances the current understanding of how and why two types of widely used creativity-contingent external rewards may have contrasting effects on creative performance, but it also offers important practical insights to managers who utilize reward systems in cultivating consumer creativity in their innovation platforms.
Numerical Nudging: Using an Accelerating Score to Enhance Performance
Luxi Shen & Christopher Hsee
Psychological Science, forthcoming
People often encounter inherently meaningless numbers, such as scores in health apps or video games, that increase as they take actions. This research explored how the pattern of change in such numbers influences performance. We found that the key factor is acceleration - namely, whether the number increases at an increasing velocity. Six experiments in both the lab and the field showed that people performed better on an ongoing task if they were presented with a number that increased at an increasing velocity than if they were not presented with such a number or if they were presented with a number that increased at a decreasing or constant velocity. This acceleration effect occurred regardless of the absolute magnitude or the absolute velocity of the number, and even when the number was not tied to any specific rewards. This research shows the potential of numerical nudging - using inherently meaningless numbers to strategically alter behaviors - and is especially relevant in the present age of digital devices.