A social dilemma is a situation of interdependence between people in which there is conflict between doing what is best for oneself, and doing what is best for the group: Trying to produce the best personal outcome (selfishness) hurts the group effort, and contributing to the group effort (cooperation) leads to a less-than-optimal personal outcome. The best personal outcome is realized by acting for oneself when everyone else acts for the group. Because of this, if each group member does what is best for him or herself, the group will fail, and each person will end up with a poor outcome. Solution of a social dilemma thus requires that at least some people forgo selfish interest in favor of the collective. Research into social dilemmas is primarily oriented around identifying the influences on a person’s willingness to cooperate and designing interventions that will encourage more frequent cooperation. There are many real examples of social dilemmas: clean air, charities, public broadcasting, and groundwater, to name a few.
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Trust and Social Dilemmas
Craig D. Parks
Twin Methodology in Psychological Studies
Darya Gaysina and Ellen J. Thompson
Psychological traits, including temperament, cognitive functions, and emotions, vary between people. The key aim of twin studies is to investigate the role of genetic factors (nature), environmental factors (nurture), and their interplay, in individual differences of various traits. In the last few decades, the classical twin design (i.e., univariate twin studies and multivariate twin studies), as well as other types of twin studies (e.g., children of twins studies) have been widely used in investigations of psychological traits. Importantly, large-scale twin studies have been established in different countries around the globe, and they have facilitated nature and nurture investigations across different geographical, social and cultural settings. However, when interpreting findings of twin studies, specific methodological assumptions and limitations need to be considered. For example, the equal environments assumption (EEA) suggests that similarities for both monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs reared in the same family are roughly the same, but this may not always be the case. Among the most important findings of twin studies of psychological traits is the establishment of relative contributions of genetic and environmental influences on health and behavior. Substantial contributions of genetic factors have been demonstrated for many psychological traits, but none of the studies psychological traits is 100% heritable. Also, twin studies have demonstrated that genetic effects can be modified by sex, age, as well as by environmental influences. Moreover, our genetic makeup can shape our environment. Taken together, studies using the twin design have made the significant contribution to our understanding of etiology of individual differences of many psychological traits.
Use of Wearable Activity Trackers for Physical Activity Promotion
Nicola D. Ridgers and Samuel K. Lai
Commercially available wearable activity trackers are small, non-invasive electronic devices that are worn on the body for the purposes of monitoring a range of outcomes including steps, energy expenditure, and sleep. These devices utilize sensors to track movement, and these recorded data are provided to the user via a visual display on the device itself and/or by syncing the device with an accompanying app or web-based program. Combined together, these devices and accompanying apps incorporate a broad range of behavior change techniques that are known to change behavior, including self-monitoring, goal setting, and social support. In recent years, wearable activity trackers have become increasingly popular, and the growth in ownership within different populations has occurred at an exponential rate. This growth in appeal has led to researchers and practitioners examining the validity and reliability of wearable activity trackers for measuring a range of outcomes and integrating the results into physical activity promotion strategies. Acceptable validity has been reported for steps and moderate validity for measuring energy expenditure. However, little research has examined whether wearable activity trackers are a feasible and effective method for changing physical activity behaviors in the short- and longer-term, either alone or in combination with additional strategies. Some initial results are promising, though concerns have been raised over longer-term use and impacts on motivation for physical activity. There is a need for research examining the longer-term use of wearable activity trackers in different population groups, and establishing whether this technology has any positive effects on physical activity levels.
Varieties of the Self From Self-Esteem to Self-Control
Various self-concepts constitute major keywords in both psychological science and liberal political discourse. They have been central to psychology’s public-facing, policy-oriented role in the United States, dating back to the mid-19th century. Psychologists’ articulations of self-concept include an understanding of the individual, society, and the interventions needed to augment them both. Psychologists’ early enthusiasm for self-esteem has given way to competing concepts of the individual, namely self-regulation and self-control. Self-esteem in a modern sense coalesced out of the deprivation of the Great Depression and the political crises it provoked. The fate of self-esteem became tied to the capacities of the liberal welfare state to improve the psychic capacities of its citizens, in order to render them both more equal under the law and more productive in their daily existence. Western democracies, especially the United States, hit peak self-esteem in early 1990s. Since then, psychologists lost faith in the capacity of giving away self-worth to improve society. Instead, psychologists in the 21st century preached a neo-Victorian gospel of self-reliance. At the very historical juncture when social mobility became more difficult, when inherited social inequality became more entrenched, psychologists abandoned their Keynesian model of human capital and embraced its neoliberal counterpart.
Virtual Teams and Digital Collaboration
Conny H. Antoni
Collaborating in teams by using various digital information and communication technologies (ICTs) to perform interdependent tasks and achieve common goals relevant for one’s organization is increasingly the new normal. Such more or less virtual teams—which can be all human or human-agent teams (HATs) (i.e., including autonomous software agents with artificial intelligence)—are complex dynamic open socio-digital systems embedded in an organizational, economical, and societal context. How and to what degree team members use ICTs to perform their tasks and to manage situational demands influence team processes and emergent states, such as transactive memory systems and team mental models, and thus team effectiveness. Research on input-mediator-output-input models of teamwork has shown that these processes are reciprocal, influencing team development over time. Research on virtual team effectiveness shows negative effects of virtual teams on team functioning and effectiveness primarily when short-term laboratory teams are studied, whereas no or lower effects were found for long-term organizational teams. These results have practical and theoretical implications, such as to support the launch of virtual teams by team-building interventions and trainings and to prefer longitudinal and field studies to examine processes and outcomes of virtual human teams as well as HATs.
Visual Attention With Cognitive Aging
David J. Madden and Zachary A. Monge
Age-related decline occurs in several aspects of fluid, speed-dependent cognition, particularly those related to attention. Empirical research on visual attention has determined that attention-related effects occur across a range of information processing components, including the sensory registration of features, selection of information from working memory, controlling motor responses, and coordinating multiple perceptual and cognitive tasks. Thus, attention is a multifaceted construct that is relevant at virtually all stages of object identification. A fundamental theme of attentional functioning is the interaction between the bottom-up salience of visual features and top-down allocation of processing based on the observer’s goals. An underlying age-related slowing is prominent throughout visual processing stages, which in turn contributes to age-related decline in some aspects of attention, such as the inhibition of irrelevant information and the coordination of multiple tasks. However, some age-related preservation of attentional functioning is also evident, particularly the top-down allocation of attention. Neuroimaging research has identified networks of frontal and parietal brain regions relevant for top-down and bottom-up attentional processing. Disconnection among these networks contributes to an age-related decline in attention, but preservation and perhaps even increased patterns of functional brain activation and connectivity also contribute to preserved attentional functioning.
Human visual development is a complex dynamic psychological/neurobiological process, being part of the developing systems for cognition, action, and attention. This article reviews current knowledge and methods of study of human visual development in infancy and childhood, in relation to typical early visual brain development, and how it can change in developmental disorders, both acquired (e.g., related to at-risk births) and genetic disorders. The newborn infant starts life with a functioning subcortical visual system which controls newborn orienting to nearby high contrast objects and faces. Although visual cortex may be active from birth, its characteristic stimulus selectivity and control of visual responses is generally seen to emerge around six to twelve weeks after birth. By age six months the infant has adequate acuity and contrast sensitivity in nearby space, and operating cortical mechanisms for discriminating colors, shapes, faces, movement, stereo depth, and distance of objects, as well as the ability to focus and shift attention between objects of interest. This may include both feedforward and feedback pathways between cortical areas and between cortical and subcortical areas. Two cortical streams start to develop and become interlinked, the dorsal stream underpinning motion, spatial perception and actions, and the ventral stream for recognition of objects and faces. The neural systems developing control and planning of actions include those for directed eye movements, reaching and grasping, and the beginnings of locomotion, with these action systems being integrated into the other developing subcortical and cortical visual networks by one year of age. Analysis of global static form (pattern) and global motion processing allows the development of dorsal and ventral streams to be monitored from infancy through childhood. The development of attention, visuomotor control and spatial cognition in the first years show aspects of function related to the developing dorsal stream, and their integration with the ventral stream. The milestones of typical visual development can be used to characterize visual and visuo-cognitive disorders early in life, such as in infants with perinatal brain injuries and those born very prematurely. The concept of “dorsal stream vulnerability” is outlined. It was initially based on deficits in global motion sensitivity relative to static form sensitivity, but can be extended to the planning and execution of visuomotor actions and problems of attention, together with visuospatial and numerical cognition. These problems are found in the phenotype of children with both genetic developmental disorders (e.g., Williams syndrome, autism, fragile-X, and dyslexia), and in acquired developmental disorders related to very preterm birth, or in children with abnormal visual input such as congenital cataract, refractive errors, or amblyopia. However, there are subtle differences in the manifestation of these disorders which may also vary considerably across individuals. Development in these clinical conditions illustrates the early, but limited, plasticity of visual brain mechanisms, and provides a challenge for the future in designing successful intervention and treatment.
Visual Guidance of Natural Behavior
Mary M. Hayhoe and Rachel A. Lerch
The essentially active nature of vision is revealed in the complex interplay of head, body, and eye movements as humans gather information to guide their actions in the natural visual world. This dynamic perception–action cycle has long been appreciated but has been difficult to investigate due to limitations in the available instrumentation both to measure eye and body movements and to present realistic stimuli in the context of active behavior. Technological developments have opened up a wider range of natural contexts where some degree of experimental control is possible, and the last two decades have ushered in a variety of insights that would otherwise be difficult to achieve in more constrained environments. Within the context of natural vision, humans make continuous sequences of sensorimotor decisions to satisfy behavioral goals, and vision provides the relevant information for making good decisions in order to achieve those goals. The components of a good decision include the task demands, the rewards and costs associated with the task, uncertainty about the state of the world, and information stored in memory. Natural behavior offers a rich domain for investigation, because it is remarkably stable and leads to novel questions, and the behavioral context helps specify the momentary visual computations and their temporal progression.
Visual search is the process of finding things that you are looking for in a world full of things that you are not looking for. Search tasks are ubiquitous. Many are so routine that we do not think of them as search tasks (e.g., Where is the space bar on the keyboard?). Others are more taxing (Where is the cat hiding?) and/or more important (Is there a tumor in this x-ray?). The need for search arises out of limits on the amount of visual input that can be fully processed at one time. Research in this area seeks to understand how observers find the object or objects of search as well as how, when, and why clearly visible targets can be missed by those observers. To understand how visual searches proceed, it is important to describe the forces that guide attention to different objects and locations in the field and to know what is being seen at locations away from the current focus of attention.
Voice Production and Perception
Roza G. Kamiloğlu and Disa A. Sauter
The voice is a prime channel of communication in humans and other animals. Voices convey many kinds of information, including physical characteristics like body size and sex, as well as providing cues to the vocalizing individual’s identity and emotional state. Vocalizations are produced by dynamic modifications of the physiological vocal production system. The source-filter theory explains how vocalizations are produced in two stages: (a) the production of a sound source in the larynx, and (b) the filtering of that sound by the vocal tract. This two-stage process largely applies to all primate vocalizations. However, there are some differences between the vocal production apparatus of humans as compared to nonhuman primates, such as the lower position of the larynx and lack of air sacs in humans. Thanks to our flexible vocal apparatus, humans can produce a range of different types of vocalizations, including spoken language, nonverbal vocalizations, whispering, and singing. A comprehensive understanding of vocal communication takes both production and perception of vocalizations into account. Internal processes are expressed in the form of specific acoustic patterns in the producer’s voice. In order to communicate information in vocalizations, those acoustic patterns must be acoustically registered by listeners via auditory perception mechanisms. Both production and perception of vocalizations are affected by psychobiological mechanisms as well as sociocultural factors. Furthermore, vocal production and perception can be impaired by a range of different disorders. Vocal production and hearing disorders, as well as mental disorders including autism spectrum disorder, depression, and schizophrenia, affect vocal communication.
Vygotsky and the Cultural-Historical Approach to Human Development
Ekaterina Zavershneva and René van der Veer
Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky (real name Lev Simkhovich Vygodsky; Orsha 1896–Moscow 1934) was a Russian psychologist who created cultural-historical theory, which proved influential in developmental psychology and other psychological disciplines. Vygotsky characterized his approach as “height psychology” (as opposed to “depth psychology”) and posited that the higher forms of mind should be the starting point for the study of human development. In his view it was essential to study psychological processes in their historical dynamics; these dynamics could be unraveled with the causal-genetic approach he developed, which involved the guided formation of mind in the course of its study or the experimental unfolding of ontogeny. Vygotsky claimed that the mechanisms of human development are not genetically determined and that we must find its source in culture and the social environment. Human development is mediated by cultural artifacts and sign systems, which are mastered in a dialogue with other people in spontaneous or guided interaction, which stimulates development by creating a zone of proximal development. The major means of the transformation of innate mind into higher mind is language, which enables us to preserve and transmit the experience of generations. In this process of cultural development the person develops a system of higher psychological functions that are social in origin, voluntary and mediated in nature, and form part of a systemic whole. The process of ontogeny goes through a series of stable periods and crises that correspond with specific conditions of the social situation of development and the developmental tasks. Age periods are completed with the development of neoformations, which do not just form results but are also prerequisites for further development. With the development of verbal thinking and the mastery of cultural means of behavior the person masters her/his innate mind and becomes a personality, whose main characteristic is freedom of behavior.
Well-being at Work
Malgorzata Kozusznik, Aida Soriano, and José M. Peiró
Well-being at work refers to employees’ experience of feeling good and having a sense of fulfillment and purpose. It can be conceptualized from two distinct perspectives grounded in different philosophical traditions: the hedonic view of pleasure, in terms of people’s positive evaluations of their lives, includes positive emotions, satisfaction, and the experience of positive affect, and the eudaimonic view of well-being has to do with personal growth and the sense of meaning. Thus, well-being can be understood as having both pleasurable and meaningful components. Different theoretical frameworks help us to understand the nature of well-being. The most prominent ones are the happy-productive worker thesis, broaden-and-build theory, adaptation-level theory, affective events theory, the collective well-being approach, and self-determination theory. Well-being at work is influenced by several work experiences and working conditions and, in turn, has an effect on the employee’s behavior at work. Finally, well-being can be improved and sustained through initiatives that cover a wide range of fields (physical vs. psychosocial), approaches (prevention vs. promotion), and foci (organizational vs. individual).
Why People Join Groups
Zachary P. Hohman and Olivia R. Kuljian
The need to belong and to be part of a group is a fundamental part of being human. The exact inspirational force that motivates people to join a group is not agreed upon in the psychological literature. Realistic group conflict theory, the self-esteem hypothesis, uncertainty-identity theory, terror management theory, and sociometer theory each explain the need to belong through distinct perspectives. These five heavily researched theories provide different explanations and predictions for why people join and identify with groups, such as the motivation for completing personal goals, the drive to increase self-esteem, to reduce anxiety surrounding death, to reduce uncertainty, and to seek protection within a group. Across the research on this topic, it is becoming clear that self-uncertainty reduction seems to be a powerful reason for identifying with groups. However, there is no doubt that other reasons may also be involved in the motivation to join groups. For example, existential uncertainty may drive people to affiliate with groups that specifically address existential issues; people may prefer to affiliate with desirable, rather than stigmatized, groups in order to satisfy the basic pursuit of pleasure over pain; and people may affiliate to protect against a wide variety of fears. Further research is needed to fully elucidate why people join groups.
Wilhelm Wundt: Psychology and Philosophy in Interaction
Saulo de Freitas Araujo
Wilhelm Wundt (1832–1920) is one of the most famous names in the history of psychology. After passing into oblivion for nearly 60 years, in recent decades he has been celebrated in general psychology textbooks as the founding father of scientific psychology. However, this traditional portrait is incomplete and can lead to misunderstandings, as his psychological program is primarily understood in terms of experimental psychology. In order to complete this traditional picture, two aspects of his work must be emphasized and clarified: the role of Völkerpsychologie as the counterpart of experimental or individual psychology, and the interaction between his psychological program and his philosophical project. The ultimate meaning of Wundt’s conception of scientific psychology cannot be understood in isolation from his broader philosophical goals. Reading Wundt from the point of view of such interaction offers a deeper understanding of his work.
William James and the Role of Psychology in Philosophy
Saulo de Freitas Araujo and Lisa M. Osbeck
James’s work is admittedly cross-disciplinary to the extent that it defies traditional scholarly boundaries. One of the best examples is the cross-fertilization between his philosophical and psychological ideas, although the precise relation between them is not easy to frame. Notwithstanding this difficulty, one can say that James’s early psychology, developed between the 1870s and 1880s, illuminates many aspects of his later philosophical positions, including pragmatism, radical empiricism, and pluralism. First, James defends the teleological nature of mind, which is driven by subjective interests and goals that cannot be explained by the immediate interchange with the external environment. They are spontaneous variations that constitute the a priori, properly active nature of the human mind. This idea helps him not only explain important features of scientific and philosophical theories, but also reject certain philosophical doctrines such as materialism, determinism, agnosticism, and so on. It represents, so to speak, the relevance of the subjective method for deciding moral and metaphysical issues. Second, James claims that certain temperaments underlie the choice of philosophical systems. Thus, both pragmatism and pluralism can be seen as philosophical expressions of subjective influences. In the first case, pragmatism expresses a temperament that combines and harmonizes the tender-minded and the tough-minded. In the second, pluralism reflects the sympathetic temperament in contrast with the cynical character drawn to materialism. Finally, James proposes a distinction between the substantive and the transitive parts of consciousness, meaning that consciousness has clearly distinguishable aspects as well as more obscure points, although human beings tend to focus only on the first part, ignoring the other. This idea plays a decisive role in the elaboration of radical empiricism. Such illustrations, far from exhausting the relations between James’s psychology and philosophy, invite new insights and further scholarship.
Williams Syndrome (WS) is a rare condition resulting from the deletion of approximately 25 genes on one copy of chromosome 7. As well as physical manifestations, most individuals with WS have a distinctive psychological profile including marked difficulties in visuospatial cognition, relatively fluent speech, and good face recognition, and a “hypersocial” personality including intense attention to faces and readiness to approach and engage with strangers. However, they show wide individual variations in cognitive and social abilities, from severe intellectual disability to normal range IQ scores. Many individuals with WS are prone to anxiety and obsessions and some meet the criteria for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. A number of features of the WS profile are consistent with a deficit in function of the dorsal cortical stream, and anomalies in dorsal stream structures, as well as other specific features of brain structure and function which have been identified in the brains of individuals with WS. A number of specific genes within the deletion have been characterized, and links between gene expression, neural structure, and behavior have been suggested, but understanding of these links remains very partial and uncertain. Individuals with WS display a friendly and engaging personality. However, their social and cognitive difficulties mean that specialist support is needed in their education and integration within the community so that people with WS can achieve a degree of independent living while optimizing their well-being.
William Stern (1871–1938), Eclipsed Star of Early 20th-Century Psychology
In the literature of mainstream scientific psychology, German scholar William Stern has been known primarily (if at all) as the inventor of the intelligence quotient (IQ). In fact, however, Stern’s contributions to psychology were much greater and more consequential than this. In this all-inclusive article, I have sought to provide readers with a fuller appreciation for the breadth and depth of Stern’s work, and, in particular, for that comprehensive system of thought that he elaborated under the name “critical personalism.” Drawing frequently on translated quotations from Stern’s published works, and on his personal correspondence with the Freiburg philosopher Jonas Cohn, I have endeavored to show how Stern was much more than “the IQ guy.” During the first 20 years of his academic career, spent at the University of Breslau in what is now the Polish city of Wroclaw, Stern founded that sub-discipline of psychology that would be concentrated on the study of individual differences in various aspects of human psychological functioning. He also made major contributions to that sub-discipline referred to at the time as “child” psychology, and laid the foundations for a comprehensive system of thought that he would name “critical personalism.” After relocating to Hamburg in 1916, Stern continued his scholarly efforts in these domains, taught courses both in psychology and in philosophy at the university that opened its doors there in 1919, and played major administrative roles there in the institutional homes of both disciplines until forced to flee Nazi Germany in 1934. The present chapter highlights ways in which, over the course of his scholarly career, Stern boldly opposed certain trends within mainstream thinking that were ascendant during his time.
Wisdom Across Cultures
Igor Grossmann and Franki Kung
The concept of wisdom is ancient and deeply embedded in the cultural history of humanity. However, only since 1980s have psychologists begun to study it scientifically. Taking a culturally and philosophically informed perspective, this article integrates insights from the quantitative science of wisdom. Analysis of epistemological traditions and research on folk theories of wisdom suggest cultural similarities in the domain of cognition (e.g., wisdom as reasoning ability and knowledge). These similarities can be contrasted with cultural differences concerning folk-theoretical affective and prosocial themes of wisdom, as well as expression of various wisdom-related themes, rooted in distinct sociocultural and ecological environments. Empirical evidence indicates that wisdom is an individually and culturally malleable construct, consistent with an emerging constructionist account of wisdom and its development. Future research can benefit from integration of ecological and cultural-historical factors for the meaning of wisdom and its expression.
Work and Family
MacKenna L. Perry and Leslie B. Hammer
Study of the intersection of work with nonwork components of individuals’ lives has most often focused on roles within nuclear and extended families but is increasingly focused on nonwork domains beyond family, such as roles within friendships, communities, leisure activities, and the self. In line with the focus of most existing literature on the family-specific domain within nonwork lives, the nonwork domain will generally be referred to here as “family.” One popular conceptualization of linking mechanisms between work and family differentiates between work-family conflict or stress, which occurs when a work role and a nonwork role are not fully compatible and results in some type of physical or psychological strain. Alternatively, work-family enrichment occurs when participation in one role benefits life in the other role. Concepts similar to work-family enrichment include work-family positive spillover and work-family facilitation; all emphasize the ways in which one role can positively impact another role. Additionally, the popular concept of work-family balance highlights either a state of low conflict and high enrichment or the presence of effectiveness and satisfaction in both roles. Broadly speaking, the links between work and family are bi-directional, such that the work domain can influence the family domain, the family domain can influence the work domain, and both can occur simultaneously. Work-family conflict and enrichment have been tied to important employee outcomes, including work (e.g., absenteeism), family (e.g., family satisfaction), and domain-unspecific outcomes (e.g., physical and psychological health), as well as to organizational outcomes (e.g., market performance). Working conditions contributing to work-family conflict and enrichment are frequently characteristic of lower wage jobs, such as low levels of control over work, high work demands, low levels of supervisor support, shift work, and temporary work that can lead to unpredictable schedules, high degrees of job insecurity, and increased health and safety hazards. Researchers are presented with unique challenges as the workplace continues to change, with more dual-earner couples, an increasingly aging workforce, and surges of technology that facilitates flexible work arrangements (e.g., telecommuting). Nonetheless, researchers and organizations work to explore relationships between work and family roles, develop policies related to work and family (i.e., national, state or local, and organizational), and build evidence-based interventions to improve organizations’ abilities to meet employees’ needs.
Work and Organizational Issues Affecting Young Workers
Belgin Okay-Somerville, Eva Selenko, and Rosalind H. Searle
Young people (between ages 15 and 24 years) experience unique difficulties in access to work, compared to the rest of the working population. Young people are in the process of developing career competencies and therefore lack the necessary know-how, know-why and know-whom relevant for securing jobs and developing sustainable careers. Social disadvantage creates a major obstacle in the way of young people’s career competency development. Lifespan career development theories, with a focus on career competency development, explain young people’s struggle for access to work. When we are younger, we tend to have high growth needs relevant for achieving educational and occupational aspirations and becoming independent adults. These motives may be explained by lifespan theories of aging. Yet, there is a tendency to attribute young people’s work-related motives and behavior to generational differences. Generational perspectives are conceptually and operationally muddled and may serve to heighten age-related stereotypes at work. Psychological science can make further impactful contributions to improving youth employment, especially by taking the socioeconomic context into account.