New Research From Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science:

The Detrimental Effects of Oxytocin-Induced Conformity on Dishonesty in Competition

Gökhan Aydogan, Andrea Jobst, Kimberlee D’Ardenne, Norbert Müller, and Martin G. Kocher   

Past research has indicated that immoral behavior may be promoted by a competitive environment, and if these behaviors are shared among group participants, such behavior may become a norm and be considered appropriate. Oxytocin, an endogenous neuropeptide, has been found to have positive effects on group affiliation and in-group conformity. Male participants took part in a double-blind experiment in which they self-administered a nasal spray containing either a dose of oxytocin or a placebo. After waiting 60 minutes, all participants performed two coin-tossing tasks, one privately and one in a competitive context. In both conditions, participants had the opportunity to lie about their performance in order to win more money. The authors found that participants that had taken oxytocin lied more, but only in the competitive context. The researchers found that oxytocin enhanced conformity, negatively affecting honesty. They propose that avoiding perceptions of unethical behaviors as standard practice may help to prevent unethical conduct.

Predicting Ideological Prejudice

Mark J. Brandt

Although current models of ideological prejudice can anticipate the direction of the association between people’s ideology and their prejudice toward different groups, these models are not yet able to tell the actual size of this association. The author created models to predict both the size and direction of the association between peoples’ ideology and their prejudice against different groups using data from the 2012 Times Series Study of the American National Election Studies. The models used perceptions of groups’ ideology, social status, and choice in group membership to predict the ideology-prejudice association for a wide variety of target groups. The author then tested the models in four studies by comparing the models’ predicted values with observed estimated associations between participants’ ideology and prejudice. The author found that models that used only perceived ideology as a predictor best fit the observed data. This finding indicates that a simple linear model can be used to make reasonable predictions about the size and direction of ideology-prejudice associations.

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