We humans organize ourselves in myriad kinds of social groups, from scout troops and sports teams to networks of friends, colleagues, or classmates. But how do these social groups work? How do we decide whom to trust and whom to follow? And how do we deal with people that don't seem to fit the norms of our social groups?
New research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, explores these issues by examining various facets of social perception and behavior.
The Herding Hormone: Oxytocin Stimulates In-Group Conformity
Mirre Stallen, Carsten K. W. De Dreu, Shaul Shalvi, Ale Smidts, and Alan G. Sanfey
People tend to conform to the behaviors of those they associate with, but not much is known about the mechanisms driving this. Psychological scientist Mirre Stallen of the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour at Radboud University and her colleagues investigated whether hormonal mechanisms might play a role. Specifically, they wondered whether the neuropeptide oxytocin – known to facilitate prosocial behavior – might be at work. Male participants were given a dose of the oxytocin or a placebo. They were then told that they would be divided into two groups to complete a task that involved rating the attractiveness of unfamiliar symbols. Before making their decisions, the participants could see the ratings of the other people inside and outside of their group. When the in-group and out-group members' ratings differed, participants given oxytocin conformed more closely to the in-group's scores.
This conformity effect was not seen in the placebo group. Together, these findings suggest that oxytocin can influence subjective preferences and may stimulate individuals to conform to the behavior and beliefs of others in their group. Stallen and colleagues note that the finding that oxytocin stimulates conformity toward in-group members, but not out-group members, will help researchers to develop a more refined theory of the effects of oxytocin on social judgment and behavior.
Corresponding author: Mirre Stallen – Donders Institute for Brain Cognition and Behaviour at Radboud University, the Netherlands – M.Stallen@donders.ru.nl
Treating Prejudice: An Exposure-Therapy Approach to Reducing Negative Reactions Toward Stigmatized Groups
Michèle D. Birtel and Richard J. Crisp
Exposure therapy has been used to treat many types of phobias, but can it also be used to reduce prejudice against stigmatized groups? In three different experiments, psychological scientists Michèle Birtel and Richard Crisp examined whether a form of exposure therapy – activating negative thoughts and feelings before introducing positive countervailing thoughts – might be effective at reducing intergroup anxiety toward stigmatized groups (e.g., adults with schizophrenia, gay men, British Muslims). In each experiment, the researchers assigned participants to one of two groups: One group was asked to imagine two instances of positive contact with a person of the stigmatized group, while the other group was asked to imagine an instance of negative contact and an instance of positive contact with a person of the stigmatized group. Participants' intergroup anxiety and future contact intentions toward individuals in the stigmatized groups were then assessed. Taking the findings of the three experiments together, participants who first imagined a negative encounter and then a positive encounter reported lower intergroup anxiety and higher future-contact intentions than did participants who only imagined positive encounters. Birtel and Crisp conclude that "a small dose of negativity administered just prior to a positively focused intervention can be surprisingly effective in reducing prejudice toward stigmatized groups."
Corresponding author: Michèle Birtel – University of Oxford, UK – firstname.lastname@example.org
The Stranger Effect: The Rejection of Affective Deviants
Lauren Szczurek, Benoît Monin, and James J. Gross
How do react to people who display unexpected emotional responses? Researcher Lauren Szczurek and colleagues at Stanford University asked participants to view a slideshow of positive, neutral, or negative images and a video of a viewer's responses to the images. In some cases, the viewer's responses matched up with the content of the video (e.g., positive emotional expressions in response to positive images), and in others, they were deviant. Interestingly, participants reported more negative judgments toward deviants who showed incongruent responses (e.g., positive emotional expressions to negative images) than toward deviants who showed flat expressions (e.g., no discernible emotional response). Participants reported preferring greater social distance from deviant viewers because they felt they shared fewer moral values with the deviant viewers. According to the researchers, these findings illustrate how subtle departures from what we consider to be "normative" affect can have significant and severe social consequences.
Corresponding author: Lauren Szczurek – Stanford University - email@example.com
Please contact Anna Mikulak at 202-293-9300 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Anna Mikulak | EurekAlert!
Study relating to materials testing Detecting damages in non-magnetic steel through magnetism
23.07.2018 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.
Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...
Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur
What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
25.07.2018 | Event News
16.08.2018 | Life Sciences
16.08.2018 | Earth Sciences
16.08.2018 | Life Sciences