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Rusch H.,Behavioral Economics and Philosophy of Biology | Rusch H.,TU Munich | Leunissen J.M.,University of Southampton | van Vugt M.,Social and Organizational Psychology
Evolution and Human Behavior | Year: 2015

We report three studies which test a sexual selection hypothesis for male war heroism. Based on evolutionary theories of mate choice we hypothesize that men signal their fitness through displaying heroism in combat. First, we report the results of an archival study on US-American soldiers who fought in World War II. We compare proxies for reproductive success between a control sample of 449 regular veterans and 123 surviving Medal of Honor recipients of WWII. Results suggest that the heroes sired more offspring than the regular veterans. Supporting a causal link between war heroism and mating success, we then report the results of two experimental studies (n's = 92 and 340). We find evidence that female participants specifically regard men more sexually attractive if they are war heroes. This effect is absent for male participants judging female war heroes, suggesting that bravery in war is a gender specific signal. Finally, we discuss possible implications of our results. © 2015.


Manesi Z.,Social and Organizational Psychology | Van Lange P.A.M.,Social and Organizational Psychology | Pollet T.V.,Social and Organizational Psychology
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Research has shown that the mere presence of stimuli that resemble eyes is sufficient to attract attention, elicit aesthetic responses, and can even enhance prosocial behavior. However, it is less clear whether eye-like stimuli could also be used as a tool for nature conservation. Several animal species, including butterflies, develop eye-like markings that are known as eyespots. In the present research, we explored whether the mere display of eyespots on butterfly wings can enhance: (a) liking for a butterfly species, and (b) attitudes and behaviors towards conservation of a butterfly species. Four online experimental studies, involving 613 participants, demonstrated that eyespots significantly increased liking for a butterfly species. Furthermore, eyespots significantly increased positive attitudes towards conservation of a butterfly species (Studies 1, 2 and 4), whereas liking mediated the eyespot effect on conservation attitudes (Study 2). However, we also found some mixed evidence for an association between eyespots and actual conservation behavior (Studies 3 and 4). Overall, these findings suggest that eyespots may increase liking for an animal and sensitize humans to conservation. We discuss possible implications for biodiversity conservation and future research directions. © 2015 Manesi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Grant
Agency: Narcis | Branch: Project | Program: Completed | Phase: Social Sciences | Award Amount: | Year: 2001

Recent developments in social psychology suggest that much goal-directed (social) behavior is initiated and executed in a largely automatic way. That is, goal-representations can be activated automatically, which can result in the initiation and execution of goal-directed behavior, without the actor being aware of this. In this project we systematically investigate how goal-representations can be automatically activated and what conditions are necessary for this activation to result in goal-directed behavior. Based on the definition of goals as desired end-states, we hypothesize that only activation of end-states that are desired - that is, associated with positive affect - will lead to automatic goal-directed behavior. Furthermore, we will investigate the role of habits and implementation intentions in automatic goal-directed behavior. The common conception is that realization of novel goals requires conscious awareness and planning. However, recent research suggests that forming implementation intentions can lead to automatic activation of the goal once the appropriate situation is encountered, in much the same way that habitual goals are automatically activated. In this project we will further investigate this apparent functional equivalence of these two instances of automatic goal-directed behavior.


Grant
Agency: Narcis | Branch: Project | Program: Completed | Phase: Social Sciences | Award Amount: | Year: 2001

None


Grant
Agency: Narcis | Branch: Project | Program: Completed | Phase: Social Sciences | Award Amount: | Year: 2000

None


Grant
Agency: Narcis | Branch: Project | Program: Completed | Phase: Social Sciences | Award Amount: | Year: 2008

RESEARCH QUESTION: Why has the evidence that severity-focused fear appeals are inadequate, not been implemented by health promotion and prevention practitioners and decision makers? We are looking for determinants of these implementation decisions for various groups; not for differences between groups.Our assumption is that the choice for severity-focused fear appeals is not only caused by lack of knowledge, but also caused by the expected positive effects and the ease of this approach on the one hand, and the uncertainty, difficulty, and lack of skills related to alternative -more effective- approaches on the other hand. There is evidence that the most popular intervention methods are the least effective (L). With respect to severity-focused fear appeals, that is certainly the case. Samenvatting Fear appeals, especially making severity of the negative consequences of undesired behavior very salient, are popular in health promotion. However, the scientific evidence does not support of this kind of severity-focused fear appeals. Recent reviews and meta-analyses show severity-focused fear appeals to be the least effective of possible intervention strategies. This evidence has not been diffused in practice; in fact there seem to be strong barriers to implementation of this evidence. In this study we want to identify the barriers for de-implementation of severity-focused fear appeals and determinants for implementing evidence-based intervention strategies. The relevant target populations are health promotion professionals, commercial professionals, administrators, politicians, and researchers. Barriers and determinants are studied through semi-structured interviews and close-ended questionnaires. The results of this project may be applied for the development of interventions to promote evidence-based health campaigns.


Grant
Agency: Narcis | Branch: Project | Program: Completed | Phase: Social Sciences | Award Amount: | Year: 2007

Project description: One of the most intriguing discoveries in research on social cognition is that our actions are directly produced by mental representations of these actions. Perceiving our social environment activates knowledge about associated behaviors, be it conscious or not, and triggers mental processes in the service of engaging in the behavior. Although this pervasive social influence on our behavior is now growingly accepted, there is quite some debate about the way in which priming of behavior representations affects actual overt behavior. Whereas consequences of behavior-representation priming are often understood as mere cognitive effects, it has been suggested that behavior-representation priming also leads to goal-directed activity by triggering the motivation to engage in that behavior. This projects aims to further investigate and disentangle these two mechanisms a cognitive and motivational one that underlie effects of priming behavior representations. It is proposed that priming of such a representation can cause an effect through a purely cognitive mechanism, but also that if the behavior representation is associated with positive affect, and thus possesses a rewarding property, this effect is more likely to be produced by a motivational mechanism. Accordingly, extending on research into the functional qualities that differentiate the emergence of mere behavior from motivational, goal-directed behavior, the project tests three motivational qualities of behavior representations associated with positive affect, that make the representation more likely to regulate mental and behavioral processes in the service of the execution of the corresponding behavior. Apart from a better understanding of the distinction between the two different mechanisms underlying behavior-representation priming effects, the proposed project breaks new grounds in predicting and explaining how information in the social environment, such as social stereotypes of groups, concrete behaviors of others, or relations with other people, affects the direction and quality of our behavior.


Grant
Agency: Narcis | Branch: Project | Program: Completed | Phase: Social Sciences | Award Amount: | Year: 2007

Mimicry has been demonstrated to have beneficial effects for interactions and their interactants, based on considerations of people having equal status. Not much is known about mimicry processes across situations with varying levels of status between people. Therefore, the present proposal will examine A) the likelihood of mimicry towards higher, lower and equal status people and B) the consequences of mimicking people with differing status. This will give us some crucial insights into the ways that people react to status and into the consequences that result from these reactions.


Grant
Agency: Narcis | Branch: Project | Program: Completed | Phase: Social Sciences | Award Amount: | Year: 2008

Theoretical and empirical work on conflict has indicated that individuals tend to perceive conflicts differently. These perceptual asymmetries are expected to result from a process in which differences in conflict-specific, contextual, and individual characteristics cause asymmetries in three cognitive modalities; attention, interpretation, and memory. Utilizing psychophysiological techniques unprecedented in conflict research, we aim to increase our understanding of why, when, and how much conflict individuals perceive. With our findings we are able to address important shortcomings of past work while helping individuals and workgroups to overcome and manage the detrimental effects that asymmetrical perceptions of conflicts have on group-processes, group-effectiveness, and conflict management.


PubMed | Social and Organizational Psychology
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2015

Research has shown that the mere presence of stimuli that resemble eyes is sufficient to attract attention, elicit aesthetic responses, and can even enhance prosocial behavior. However, it is less clear whether eye-like stimuli could also be used as a tool for nature conservation. Several animal species, including butterflies, develop eye-like markings that are known as eyespots. In the present research, we explored whether the mere display of eyespots on butterfly wings can enhance: (a) liking for a butterfly species, and (b) attitudes and behaviors towards conservation of a butterfly species. Four online experimental studies, involving 613 participants, demonstrated that eyespots significantly increased liking for a butterfly species. Furthermore, eyespots significantly increased positive attitudes towards conservation of a butterfly species (Studies 1, 2 and 4), whereas liking mediated the eyespot effect on conservation attitudes (Study 2). However, we also found some mixed evidence for an association between eyespots and actual conservation behavior (Studies 3 and 4). Overall, these findings suggest that eyespots may increase liking for an animal and sensitize humans to conservation. We discuss possible implications for biodiversity conservation and future research directions.

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