Findings

Groupthink and Self-Interest

Kevin Lewis

October 01, 2009

Do Groups Lie More Than Individuals? Honesty and Deception as a Function of Strategic Self-Interest

Taya Cohen, Brian Gunia, Sun Young Kim-Jun & Keith Murnighan
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
An experiment tested whether groups lie more than individuals. Groups lied more than individuals when deception was guaranteed to maximize economic outcomes, but lied relatively less than individuals when honesty could be used strategically. These results suggest that groups are more strategic than individuals in that they will adopt whatever course of action best serves their economic interest.

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Efficiency Gains from Team-Based CoordinationLarge-Scale Experimental Evidence

Francesco Feri, Bernd Irlenbusch & Matthias Sutter
American Economic Review, forthcoming

Abstract:
The need for efficient coordination is ubiquitous in organizations and industries. The literature on the determinants of efficient coordination has focused on individual decision making so far. In reality, however, teams often have to coordinate with other teams. We present a series of coordination experiments with a total of 1,101 participants. We find that teams of three subjects each coordinate much more efficiently than individuals. This finding adds one important cornerstone to the recent literature on the conditions for successful coordination. We explain the differences between individuals and teams using the experience weighted attraction learning model.

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Hormonal responses differ when playing violent video games against an ingroup and outgroup

Jonathan Oxford, Davidé Ponzi & David Geary
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
For 14 teams of three young men, salivary testosterone and cortisol were assessed twice before and twice after competing in within-group and between-group video games that simulated violent male-male competition. Men who contributed the most to their teams' between-group victory showed testosterone increases immediately after the competition, but only if this competition was played before the within-group tournament. High-scoring men on losing teams did not show this immediate effect, but they did show a delayed increase in testosterone. In contrast, high-ranking men tended to have lower testosterone and higher cortisol during within-group tournaments. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that men's competitive testosterone response varies across ingroup and outgroup competitions and is muted during the former. The testosterone response during the between-group competition also suggests that violent multiplayer video games may be appealing to young men because they simulate male-male coalitional competition.

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Critical events in the life trajectories of domestic extremist white supremacist groups: A case study analysis of four violent organizations

Joshua Freilich, Steven Chermak & David Caspi
Criminology & Public Policy, August 2009, Pages 497-530

Abstract:
This study examines the evolution of four domestic far-right racist organizations: Aryan Nations, National Alliance, Public Enemy Number 1 (PEN1), and Oklahoma Constitutional Militia (OCM). Information about the groups was compiled through open-source documents, including scholarly, government, watch-group, and media accounts. We compared the changes that occurred in these organizations and found that they were influenced by contextual and organizational variables. We focused primarily on the rise of the groups. Three organizations experienced growth and longevity because they (1) had able leadership that set forth a clear ideological message and goals, (2) undertook concrete actions to advance their ideology and goals as well as had the finances necessary for this, (3) took advantage of political opportunities, and (4) were internally cohesive. Conversely, the OCM's leader displayed poor judgment, and the group did not set forth a coherent message, conduct successful actions, or take advantage of opportunities. The OCM neither grew nor amounted to an important extremist organization. We also examined the fall of the organizations. Three groups declined because of organizational instability and/or responses by law enforcement and nonstate actors, such as watch groups. PEN1-despite periodic internal debates about its mission-has avoided organizational instability and continues to grow.

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A Different Kind of Representation: Black and Latino Descriptive Representation and the Role of Ideological Cuing

Robert Preuhs & Rodney Hero
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Most scholarship on minority descriptive representation focuses on whether minority legislators are "more" supportive of minority concerns than white legislators but does not address how descriptive representatives differ in the use of decision-making cues when advocating for minority interests. Drawing on data from four Congresses and comparing two sets of minority group representatives with their white counterparts and each other, the authors show that an important effect of descriptive representation is that racial/ethnic minority representatives are uniquely influenced in their advocacy of minority interests by cues that stand apart from the conventional liberal/conservative political ideological frame.

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The Role of Narratorship and Expertise in Social Remembering

Adam Brown, Alin Coman & William Hirst
Social Psychology, 2009, Pages 119-129

Abstract:
Are individuals more likely to serve as a vehicle for social contagion because they are perceived as experts or because they talk a lot? This study parses the contribution of expertise and narratorship by asking groups of three or four individuals to study variants of a curriculum vitae (CV) and then to recall the CV individually, as a group, and once again individually, with a recognition test following the final recall. The group was falsely led to believe that one member had expertise. Narratorship was also determined. Expertise and Narratorship contributed independently to critical false recollections, with Narratorship contributing more than Expertise. The way a conversation unfolds and the emergence of a narrator can reshape memories.

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Sad-and-Social is Not Smart: The Moderating Effects of Social Anticipation on Mood and Information Processing

Kosha Bramesfeld & Karen Gasper
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examined if anticipating working collectively, rather than individually, moderates the effects of mood on information processing through (a) distraction, (b) loafing, and/or (c) task engagement. When participants anticipated working collectively, rather than individually, those in sad moods became distracted by the social elements of the task, resulting in a reduced information focus. In contrast, those in happy moods became engaged in the collective task, increasing their intended effort, raising their information focus, and improving their performance on the task. Social loafing effects did not occur. Mediation analyses revealed that these effects were due to changes in information focus, not social focus or intended effort.

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Perceived social isolation and cognition

John Cacioppo & Louise Hawkley
Trends in Cognitive Sciences, October 2009, Pages 447-454

Abstract:
Social species, from Drosophila melanogaster to Homo sapiens, fare poorly when isolated. Homo sapiens, an irrepressibly meaning-making species, are, in normal circumstances, dramatically affected by perceived social isolation. Research indicates that perceived social isolation (i.e. loneliness) is a risk factor for, and may contribute to, poorer overall cognitive performance, faster cognitive decline, poorer executive functioning, increased negativity and depressive cognition, heightened sensitivity to social threats, a confirmatory bias in social cognition that is self-protective and paradoxically self-defeating, heightened anthropomorphism and contagion that threatens social cohesion. These differences in attention and cognition impact on emotions, decisions, behaviors and interpersonal interactions that can contribute to the association between loneliness and cognitive decline and between loneliness and morbidity more generally.

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Peer pressure, incentives, and gender: An experimental analysis of motivation in the workplace

Charles Bellemare, Patrick Lepage & Bruce Shearer
Labour Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We present results from a real-effort experiment, simulating actual work-place conditions, comparing the productivity of workers under fixed wages and piece rates. Workers, who were paid to enter data, were exposed to different degrees of peer pressure under both payment systems. The peer pressure was generated in the form of private information about the productivity of their peers. We have two main results. First, we find no level of peer pressure for which the productivity of either male or female workers is significantly higher than productivity without peer pressure. Second, we find that very low and very high levels of peer pressure can significantly decrease productivity (particularly for men paid fixed wages). These results are consistent with models of conformism and self-motivation.

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Compensation and Peer Effects in Competing Sales Teams

Tat Chan, Jia Li & Lamar Pierce
Washington University Working Paper, June 2009

Abstract:
Recent work empirically demonstrates peer effects in single-firm work settings under one compensation structure, but these studies leave important questions unanswered. We use a three-year dataset of Chinese cosmetic sales transactions to examine how compensation and firm boundaries influence worker productivity spillovers and competition strategies. We demonstrate three important new sets of findings. First, while high-ability workers under team-based compensation system significantly improve the sales productivity of their peers, under individual-based compensation they have a strong negative effect on peers while gaining little in the process. Second, we find that peer effects exist across firm boundaries, with workers at team-based compensation counters more capable in competing against peers. Third, when faced with high-ability peers, workers under individual-based compensation respond by strategically discounting prices offered to customers and focusing on retaining high-value customers who may be more brand loyal. The asymmetric model demonstrates that while heterogeneity in worker productivity enhances total team performance at team-based compensation firms, it impacts individual-based compensation firms negatively. This paper provides a unique contribution to the personnel economics literature by being the first to simultaneously estimate peer productivity spillovers both within and across firms under multiple compensation systems. It also is the first identifying how workers respond to peer effects with discretionary strategies, and provides important implications for managerial decisions on staffing, compensation, and pricing discretion. Finally, the paper implements improved methodology that generates more efficient estimators than those in previous productivity spillover studies.

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Looking Down and Ramping Up: The Impact of Status Differences on Effort in Intergroup Contexts

Nathan Pettit & Robert Lount
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines how the status of an out-group impacts effort in intergroup settings. The results provide evidence that people work harder when their individual performance is compared to a lower, as opposed to higher, status out-group member. Moreover, comparisons to a lower status out-group were found to elicit motivation gains as these participants worked harder than participants in the control (Studies 1-3) or in-group comparison conditions (Studies 2-3). In Study 4, evidence for the role of threat as an underlying mechanism was provided as gains in effort for those compared with a lower status out-group member were eliminated when participants self- or group-affirmed prior to comparison. Finally, Study 5 shows that both social identity threat and self-categorization threat underlie increases in effort for participants compared to a lower status out-group member. We detail a theoretical basis for our claim that performance comparisons with lower status out-group members are especially threatening, and discuss the implications for this research in terms of social identity and self-categorization theories as they relate to effort in intergroup contexts.

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‘I Am the Best': Effects of Influence Tactics and Power Bases on Powerholders' Self-Evaluation and Target Evaluation

Ulrich Klocke
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, September 2009, Pages 619-637

Abstract:
Influencing others by using harsh tactics is more likely to violate justice norms than influencing by using soft tactics. Therefore, powerholders are supposed to enhance the self and devalue the targets more to justify harsh influence tactics. These social re-evaluations should also be more likely after influencing with tactics that are incongruent with the powerholders' power base (e.g. harsh tactics based on expert power or soft tactics based on position power). In two experiments with 61 interacting groups, one person in each group was presented as having expert versus position power and instructed to influence by using harsh versus by soft tactics. As expected, powerholders who influenced by harsh versus soft tactics enhanced self-evaluation (experiment 1) and reduced target evaluation (experiment 2), and powerholders who influenced by incongruent tactics enhanced self-evaluation (both experiments).

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Capturing the Impact of Membership Turnover in Small Groups via Latent Class Growth Analysis: Modeling the Rise of the New York Knicks of the 1960s and 1970s

Antonio Morgan-Lopez, Laurie Cluff & William Fals-Stewart
Group Dynamics, June 2009, Pages 120-132

Abstract:
In several areas of research, most notably in industrial/organizational psychology and in addictions treatment research, there have been calls for advances in modeling the impact of turnover in membership within dynamic small N groups. The present study examines the utility of latent class growth analysis (LGCA; in combination with other approaches) in modeling turnover in group membership within a dynamic work group from popular culture: the National Basketball Association's (NBA) New York Knickerbockers (Knicks) of the 1960s and 1970s. Changes over time in the proportions of 5 longitudinal player efficiency classes accounted for variability in regular season wins, number of NBA All-Star Game appearances and the proportion of (eventual) basketball Hall-of-Fame members across a 20-year span. Using LCGA, there was a clear match between the empirical model and the "historical reality" with respect to identifying the players that were responsible for the success of the Knicks, particularly in the early 1970s. This study provides a practical example of how LCGA may be used to capture the impact of turnover in group membership on group-level outcomes across multiple areas in which groups with dynamic membership are studied.


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