Psychology

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First Colloquium Speaker

September 6, 2013

September 6, 12:00-1:30 Sierra Hall 322

 

The Psychology Department invites students and faculty to attend our first colloquium speaker, Professor Steve Stroessner. from Columbia University - Barnard College. Professor Stroessner specializes in social cognition and the affective, cognitive, and motivational factors implicated in stereotyping and prejudice. He will be giving a talk titled, "Confronting Threat When Safety Concerns are Paramount."

 

Abstract of presentation:


Motivations are generally concerned with maintaining safety (prevention) or ensuring advancement (promotion) (Regulatory focus theory; Higgins, 1997).  Four experiments examine whether information implying imminent threat would interact with regulatory focus to affect endorsement of stereotypes and stereotype-based policies. Because threatening information is more relevant to the safety goals of prevention-focused individuals than the advancement goals of promotion-focused individuals, endorsement of threat-relevant stereotypes was expected to increase under high threat but only for people operating under a under prevention focus. Support for this prediction was obtained in three distinct and socially important domains. Across the studies, prevention-focused individuals made judgments and endorsed policies consistent with stereotypes when threat was perceived to be high rather than low. When the stereotypicality of the target was manipulated, only prevention-focused individuals were more likely to endorse scrutinizing a target stereotypically associate with danger under high threat conditions. Across the experiments, promotion-focused individuals tended to exhibit less stereotyping under high threat, suggesting that they were engaged in systematic processing under low regulatory fit. These results demonstrate that safety concerns produce vigilance toward threats in the social environment, but that responses to threat vary with its perceived imminence. Threat-relevant stereotypes are utilized when safety concerns are paramount.