The nature of well-being is one of the most enduring and elusive subjects of human inquiry. Well-Being draws upon the latest scientific research to transform our understanding of this ancient question. With contributions from leading authorities in psychology, social psychology, and neuroscience, this volume presents the definitive account of current scientific efforts to understand human pleasure and pain, contentment and despair. The distinguished contributors to this volume combine a rigorous analysis of human sensations, emotions, and moods with a broad assessment (...) of the many factors, from heredity to nationality, that bear on our well-being. Using the tools of experimental science, the contributors confront the puzzles of human likes and dislikes. Why do we grow accustomed and desensitized to changes in our lives, both good and bad? Does our happiness reflect the circumstances of our lives or is it determined by our temperament and personality? Why do humans acquire tastes for sensations that are initially painful or unpleasant? By examining the roots of our everyday likes and dislikes, the book also sheds light on some of the more extreme examples of attraction and aversion, such as addiction and depression. Among its wide ranging inquiries, Well-Being examines systematic differences in moods and behaviors between genders, explaining why women suffer higher rates of depression and anxiety than men, but are also more inclined to express positive emotions. The book also makes international comparisons, finding that some countries' populations report higher levels of happiness than others. The contributors deploy an array of methods, from the surveys and questionnaires of social science to psychological and physiological experiments, to develop a comprehensive new approach to the study of well-being. They show how the sensory pleasures of the body can tells us something about the higher pleasures of the mind and even how the effectiveness of our immune system can depend upon the health of our social relationships. (shrink)
Statements of the form ''Osorno is in Chile'' were presented in colors that made them easy or difficult to read against a white background and participants judged the truth of the statement. Moderately visible statements were judged as true at chance level, whereas highly visible statements were judged as true significantly above chance level. We conclude that perceptual fluency affects judgments of truth.
Psychologists are increasingly interested in embodiment based on the assumption that thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are grounded in bodily interaction with the environment. We examine how embodiment is used in social psychology, and we explore the ways in which embodied approaches enrich traditional theories. Although research in this area is burgeoning, much of it has been more descriptive than explanatory. We provide a critical discussion of the trajectory of embodiment research in social psychology. We contend that future researchers should engage (...) in a phenomenon-based approach, highlight the theoretical boundary conditions and mediators involved, explore novel action-relevant outcome measures, and address the role of individual differences broadly defined. Such research will likely provide a more explanatory account of the role of embodiment in general terms as well as how it expands the knowledge base in social psychology. (shrink)
Experimental work has revealed causal links between physical cleansing and various psychological variables. Empirically, how robust are they? Theoretically, how do they operate? Major prevailing accounts focus on morality or disgust, capturing a subset of cleansing effects, but cannot easily handle cleansing effects in non-moral, non-disgusting contexts. Building on grounded views on cognitive processes and known properties of mental procedures, we proposegrounded proceduresof separation as a proximate mechanism underlying cleansing effects. This account differs from prevailing accounts in terms of explanatory (...) kind, interpretive parsimony, and predictive scope. Its unique and falsifiable predictions have received empirical support: Cleansing attenuates or eliminates otherwise observed influences of prior events (1) across domains and (2) across valences. (3) Cleansing manipulations produce stronger effects the more strongly they engage sensorimotor capacities. (4) Reversing the causal arrow, motivation for cleansing is triggered more readily by negative than positive entities. (5) Conceptually similar effects extend to other physical actions of separation. On the flipside, grounded procedures ofconnectionare also observed. Together, separation and connection organize prior findings relevant to multiple perspectives (e.g., conceptual metaphor, sympathetic magic) and open up new questions. Their predictions are more generalizable than the specific mappings in conceptual metaphors, but more fine-grained than the broad assumptions of grounded cognition. This intermediate level of analysis sheds light on the interplay between mental and physical processes. (shrink)
High figure-ground contrast usually results in more positive evaluations of visual stimuli. This may either reflect that high figure-ground contrast per se is a desirable attribute or that this attribute facilitates fluent processing. In the latter case, the influence of high figure-ground contrast should be most pronounced under short exposure times, that is, under conditions where the facilitative influence on perceptual fluency is most pronounced. Supporting this hypothesis, ratings of the prettiness of visual stimuli increased with figure-ground contrast under short (...) exposure times (.3, 1, and 3 seconds, respectively). This positive influence of figure-ground contrast was eliminated under an exposure time of 10 seconds. We conclude that stimuli with high figure-ground contrast are more appealing because they are easier to process, not because high figure-ground contrast per se is a desirable attribute. We discuss this finding in the context of William James? notion that the fringe of consciousness includes vague contextual feelings at the periphery of the focus of attention and suggest that perceptual fluency is one of these feelings. (shrink)
This research examined how and why group membership diminishes the attribution of mind to individuals. We found that mind attribution was inversely related to the size of the group to which an individual belonged . Mind attribution was affected by group membership rather than the total number of entities perceived at once . Moreover, mind attribution to an individual varied with the perception that the individual was a group member. Participants attributed more mind to an individual that appeared distinct or (...) distant from other group members than to an individual that was perceived to be similar or proximal to a cohesive group . This effect occurred for both human and nonhuman targets, and was driven by the perception of the target as an entitative group member rather than by the knowledge that the target was an entitative group member. (shrink)
Conviction Narrative Theory holds that reasoners adopt “a narrative that feels ‘right’ to explain the available data” and use “that narrative to imagine plausible futures” (target article, Abstract). Drawing on feelings-as-information theory, this commentary reviews the role of metacognitive experiences of ease or difficulty and highlights that fluently processed narratives are more likely to “feel right.”.
Our commentators explore the operation of grounded procedures across all levels of analysis in the behavioral sciences, from mental to social, developmental, and evolutionary/functional. Building on them, we offer two integrative principles for systematic effects of grounded procedures to occur. We discuss theoretical topics at each level of analysis, address methodological recommendations, and highlight further extensions of grounded procedures.
Experimental procedures routinely violate the cooperative principle of conversational conduct by presenting irrelevant information in a way that implies its relevance to the task at hand. This contributes to an overestimation of the prevalence of judgment errors relative to natural contexts. When research participants are aware that the usual norms of conversational conduct do not apply, the emerging errors are attenuated or eliminated.
In everyday language, concepts appear alongside related concepts. Societal biases often emerge in these collocations; e.g., female names collocate with art- related concepts, and African American names collocate with negative concepts. It is unknown whether such collocations merely reflect societal biases or contribute to them. Concepts that are themselves neutral in valence but nevertheless collocate with valenced concepts provide a unique opportunity to address this question. For example, when asked, most people evaluate the concept “cause” as neutral, but “cause” is (...) frequently followed by negative concepts. We use such semantically prosodic concepts to test the influence of collocation on the emergence of implicit bias: do neutral concepts that frequently collocate with valenced concepts have corresponding implicit bias? In evaluative priming tasks, participants evaluated positive/negative nouns or pictures after seeing verb primes that were strongly valenced, neutral in valence but collocated with valenced concepts in corpora, or neutral in valence and not collocated with valenced concepts in corpora. Throughout, neutral primes with positive collocates facilitated the evaluation of positive targets much like strongly valenced primes, whereas neutral primes without valenced collocates did not. That neutral concepts with valenced collocates parallel the influence of valenced concepts suggests that their collocations in natural language may be sufficient for fostering implicit bias. Societal implications of the causal embedding hypothesis are discussed. (shrink)