Yes and no

Kevin Lewis

July 02, 2019

Correction of evident falsehood requires explicit negation
Rebecca Weil, Yaacov Schul & Ruth Mayo
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

The danger of receiving false information is omnipresent, and people might be highly vigilant against being influenced by falsehoods. Yet, as research on misinformation reveals, people are often biased by false information, even when they know the valid alternative. The question is: why? The current research explores the relative encoding strength of 2 opposing alternatives involved in the correction of falsehood: the false concept and the valid concept. These encoding strengths may be critical for what people remember and how they act upon receiving false information. We compared 2 triggers for the correction of falsehood — a sentence consisting of clearly false information (e.g., honey is made by butterflies) and a sentence consisting of an explicit negation of this information (e.g., honey is not made by butterflies). The general pattern of results from 5 experiments demonstrates that the valid concept (e.g., bees) exhibits a weaker presence in memory than the false concept (e.g., butterflies) following the comprehension of evidently false information as compared to its explicit negation. Thus, the current research provides an answer to the riddle of the persistence of false information: False information is less likely to be mentally corrected if it is not explicitly negated. Even when people detect that a sentence is false, they tend to focus on the false concept rather than on the valid concept. These findings shed new light on extant research and offer fresh insights about the processing of false information and related phenomena such as the reliance on misinformation.

Financial vulnerability and the reproduction of disadvantage in economic exchanges
Tianyu He, Rellie Derfler-Rozin & Marko Pitesa
Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Integrative value generation through negotiated business deals is a fundamental way in which organizations and economic systems attain economic benefits. It is also an important way in which individuals can improve their financial situation. We propose that individuals most in need of improving their financial standing, those in a financially vulnerable situation, are least likely to reap the benefits of integrative value generation. We theorize that financial vulnerability induces a more zero-sum construal of success, or a view that success for one person must come at another person’s success. A more zero-sum construal of success, in turn, hampers negotiators’ ability to realize integrative potential in negotiations. In a large archival dataset (N = 191,648), we found evidence that various proxies of financial vulnerability are associated with a more zero-sum construal of success. In two subsequent face-to-face negotiation studies, we found that financial vulnerability, whether measured or induced experimentally, undermined integrative value generation. The final two-part study found evidence of the hypothesized psychological process. Taken together, our studies uncover a fundamental pathway through which the disadvantage of financially vulnerable people is reproduced through economic exchanges.

To explain or not: How process explanations impact assessments of predictors
Daniel Villanova, Elise Chandon Ince & Rajesh Bagchi
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, forthcoming

When presenting their predictions, predictors may also provide varying levels of information regarding how they arrived at their predictions. However, it is unclear what role these explanations play in the resulting evaluations of the predictors. In 3 experiments, the authors demonstrate that when a predictor provides a brief explanation, individuals evaluate the predictor less positively than when a predictor simply provides no explanation or provides a detailed explanation for their prediction. This happens because a brief explanation lacks details, from which individuals infer the predictor did not do an in-depth analysis, and judge the predictor accordingly. Without an explanation (with detailed explanation), individuals assume (infer) predictors arrive at their predictions via sufficient in-depth analysis. The authors conclude with a discussion of implications for theory and predictors as well as future directions for research.

The redundancy in cumulative information and how it biases impressions
Hans Alves & André Mata
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

The present work identifies a so-far overlooked bias in sequential impression formation. When the latent qualities of competitors are inferred from a cumulative sequence of observations (e.g., the sum of points collected by sports teams), impressions should be based solely on the most recent observation because all previous observations are redundant. Based on the well-documented human inability to adequately discount redundant information, we predicted the existence of a cumulative redundancy bias. Accordingly, perceivers’ impressions are systematically biased by the unfolding of a performance sequence when observations are cumulative. This bias favors leading competitors and persists even when the end result of the performance sequence is known. We demonstrated this cumulative redundancy bias in 8 experiments in which participants had to sequentially form impressions about the qualities of two competitors from different performance domains (i.e., computer algorithms, stocks, and soccer teams). We consistently found that perceivers’ impressions were biased by cumulative redundancy. Specifically, impressions about the winner and the loser of a sequence were more divergent when the winner took an early lead compared with a late lead. When the sequence ended in a draw, participants formed more favorable impressions about the competitor who was ahead during most observations. We tested and ruled out several alternative explanations related to primacy effects, counterfactual thinking, and heuristic beliefs. We discuss the wide-ranging implications of our findings for impression formation and performance evaluation.

Testosterone reduces the threat premium in competitive resource division
Shawn Geniole et al.
Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, May 2019

Like other animals, humans are sensitive to facial cues of threat. Recent evidence suggests that we use this information to dynamically calibrate competitive decision-making over resources, ceding more to high-threat individuals (who appear more willing/able to retaliate) and keeping more from low-threat individuals. Little is known, however, about the biological factors that support such threat assessment and decision-making systems. In a pre-registered, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over testosterone administration study (n = 118 men), we show for the first time that testosterone reduces the effects of threat on decision-making: participants ceded more resources to high-threat (versus low-threat) individuals (replicating the ‘threat premium’), but this effect was blunted by testosterone, which selectively reduced the amount of resources ceded to those highest in threat. Thus, our findings suggest that testosterone influences competitive decision-making by recalibrating the integration of threat into the decision-making process.

The rules of exchange: The role of an exchange surplus in producing the endowment effect
Laurence Ashworth et al.
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, May 2019, Pages 11-24

The endowment effect is one of the most robust and well-studied phenomena in the behavioral decision literature. The dominant explanation for this effect is that loss aversion and/or the psychological value of ownership changes the subjective valuation of an item. The current research presents evidence for an alternative account of endowment that requires no shift in subjective value. We argue that (a) individuals will only agree to exchange (i.e., buy and sell) if they perceive some minimum net gain, an exchange surplus, and (b) existing work cannot disentangle the possible effects of an exchange surplus from genuine shifts in subjective value because ownership and exchange are confounded in standard demonstrations of the endowment effect. Four experiments test this idea by separating the effects of exchange from ownership in various ways. Results indicate that exchange has a substantial effect on prices, that this effect appears to be independent of subjective valuation, and that it can explain valuation differences ordinarily ascribed to ownership. We discuss why individuals might demand an exchange surplus and the implications of this for monetary valuation.

Toss and turn or toss and stop? A coin flip reduces the need for information in decision-making
Maria Douneva, Mariela Jaffé & Rainer Greifeneder
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, July 2019, Pages 132-141

When deciding between two options, settling can be difficult if one option is superior on one dimension but inferior on another. To arrive at a conclusion, people may gather further information, thereby running the risk of prolonging or blocking the decision-making process or even making suboptimal decisions. Here, we suggest that random decision aids may prove fruitful by reducing the need for further information. Five experiments (total N = 997) examined how information need is influenced after making a preliminary decision between two options and then receiving a suggestion from a random decision aid (a coin flip). Across studies, coin participants are less likely to request additional information (Study 1 and two follow-up studies, combined p = .021) and indicate a lower need for additional information (Study 2, p = .023, and Study 3, p = .001) compared to a control condition without a coin flip. Interestingly, participants do not necessarily adhere to the coin but stick to their preliminary decision as much as or even more than the control group, suggesting that the decision aid does not determine the decision outcome. This is true for hypothetical decisions between changing versus maintaining the status quo without an objectively correct solution (Studies 1, 1b, and 1c), for a decision between two options with an objectively correct solution (Study 2), and for a real monetary decision without an objectively correct solution (Study 3). Random decision aids may thus help to avoid decision blocks or the collection of too much information.

And the winner is . . . ? Forecasting the outcome of others’ competitive efforts
Daniella Kupor, Melanie Brucks & Szu-Chi Huang
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

People frequently forecast the outcomes of competitive events. Some forecasts are about oneself (e.g., forecasting how one will perform in an athletic competition, school or job application, or professional contest), while many other forecasts are about others (e.g., predicting the outcome of another individual’s athletic competition, school or job application, or professional contest). In this research, we examine people’s forecasts about others’ competitive outcomes, illuminate a systematic bias in these forecasts, and document the source of this bias as well as its downstream consequences. Eight experiments with a total of 3,219 participants in a variety of competitive contexts demonstrate that when observers forecast the outcome that another individual will experience, observers systematically overestimate the probability that this individual will win. This misprediction stems from a previously undocumented lay belief — the belief that other people generally achieve their intentions — that skews observers’ hypothesis testing. We find that this lay belief biases observers’ forecasts even in contexts in which the other person’s intent is unlikely to generate the person’s intended outcome, and even when observers are directly incentivized to formulate an accurate forecast.

Cueing Morality: The Effect of High-Pitched Music on Healthy Choice
Ping Dong, Xun (Irene) Huang & Aparna Labroo
Journal of Marketing, forthcoming

Managers often use music as a marketing tool. For example, in advertising, they use music to intensify emotions; in service settings, slow music to boost relaxation, and classical music for sophistication. Here, the authors posit a novel effect — higher-pitched music can boost healthier choices. Recognizing that many perceptual characteristics of higher pitch are conceptually associated with and therefore may also cue morality, they theorize that listening to higher- (vs. lower-) pitched music can cue morality. Furthermore, thoughts about morality can prompt moral self-perceptions and, in turn, “good” behaviors, and consumers consider healthy choices “good” behaviors. Thus, listening to higher-pitched music may increase healthier choices. Employing field, laboratory, and online studies, the authors find that listening to higher-pitched music increases consumers’ likelihood to choose healthy options (Studies 1, 3, and 5), order lower-calorie foods (Studies 2 and 6), and engage in health-boosting activities (Study 4). This effect arises because high pitch raises salience of morality thoughts (Studies 4 and 5) and attenuates when consumers do not perceive healthy choice as virtuous (Study 6). The article concludes with a discussion of theoretical and managerial implications.

The quality of online knowledge sharing signals general intelligence
Christian Yoder & Scott Reid
Personality and Individual Differences, October 2019, Pages 90-94

Some people share knowledge online, often without tangible compensation. Who does this, when, and why? According to costly signaling theory people use behavioral displays to provide observers with useful information about traits or states in exchange for fitness benefits. We tested whether individuals higher in general intelligence, g, provided better quality contributions to an information pool under high than low identifiability, and whether observers could infer signaler g from contribution quality. Using a putative online wiki (N = 98) we found that as individuals' scores on Ravens Progressive Matrices (RPM) increased, participants were judged to have written better quality articles, but only when identifiable and not when anonymous. Further, the effect of RPM scores on inferred intelligence was mediated by article quality, but only when signalers were identifiable. Consistent with costly signaling theory, signalers are extrinsically motivated and observers act as “naive psychometricians.” We discuss the implications for understanding online information pools and altruism.

Multiple equivalent simultaneous offers (MESOs) reduce the negotiator dilemma: How a choice of first offers increases economic and relational outcomes
Geoffrey Leonardelli et al.
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, May 2019, Pages 64-83

The tension that negotiators face between claiming and creating value is particularly apparent when exchanging offers. We tested whether presenting a choice among first offers (Multiple Equivalent Simultaneous Offers; MESOs) reduces this negotiator dilemma and increases economic and relational outcomes. Six experiments comparing MESOs to a single package-offer revealed three effects. First, MESOs produced stronger anchors and better outcomes for the offerer because recipients perceived MESOs as a more sincere attempt at reaching an agreement (agreement sincerity). Second, MESOs yielded greater joint outcomes because they were probabilistically more likely to include an economically attractive starting point for recipients (initial recipient-value). Third, MESOs allowed the offerer to secure a cooperative reputation and created a more cooperative negotiation climate. Negotiators who offered MESOs were able to claim and create more economic and relational value. MESOs reduced the negotiator dilemma for offerers by also reducing it for recipients.


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