The Situationist

Posts Tagged ‘Emotions’

Money Feelings

Posted by The Situationist Staff on May 10, 2012

Hyun Young Park and Tom Meyvis, recently posted their paper, “Feeling Immoral About Money: How Moral Emotions Influence Spending Decisions” on SSRN.  Here’s the abstract:

Prior literature suggests that consumers who feel negative moral emotions engage in a moral compensation process that is generalized and flexible. In contrast, the current research demonstrates that consumers who feel guilty or angry about money seek compensation in a strikingly specific way. We find that feeling guilty about money increases pro-social spending, but not volunteering of time or spending on personal virtues. Moreover, this increase in pro-social spending only occurs when the guilt is moral in nature and the money being spent is the money consumers feel guilty about. The specific nature of this effect suggests that consumers who feel guilty about money try to cleanse the money rather than try to redeem themselves. Feeling angry about money, on the other hand, is shown to decrease pro-social spending, highlighting the need to distinguish between specific emotions when examining how feelings about money affect consumer spending decisions.

Download the paper for free here.

Related Situationist posts:

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Joseph LeDoux on the Neural Situation of Emotion and Memory

Posted by The Situationist Staff on October 19, 2010

Joseph LeDoux is a professor and a member of the Center for Neural Science and Department of Psychology at NYU. His work is focused on the brain mechanisms of emotion and memory. In addition to articles in scholarly journals, he is author of “The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life” and “Synaptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are.” He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a fellow of the New York Academy of Science, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science, and the recipient of the 2005 Fyssen International Prize in Cognitive Science. LeDoux is also a singer and songwriter in the rock band, The Amygdaloids.

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For a sample of related Situationist posts, see “The Situation of Neuroeconomics and Situationist Economics,” “The Interior Situation of Complex Human Feelings,” “The Situation of Memory,” “Accidentally Us,” “The Affective Situation of Ethics and Mediation,” and Situating Emotion.”

Posted in Emotions, Neuroscience, Video | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Some Situational Effects of the BP Gulf Disaster

Posted by The Situationist Staff on September 1, 2010

Excerpts from EurekaAlert:

Anger, depression, and helplessness are the main psychological responses being seen in response to the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and they are likely to have long-lasting effects, according to an interview in Ecopsychology, . . . .

The anger being expressed in response to the recent BP oil rig explosion and resulting spill of millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico is “a way of masking the really unfathomable and profound despair that is just under the surface as we watch this catastrophe unfold,” says Deborah Du Nann Winter, PhD, Professor of Psychology at Whitman College (Walla Walla, WA). In an interview published in Ecopsychology and conducted by Editorial Board member Susan Koger, PhD, Professor of Psychology at Willamette University in Salem, OR, Winter predicts a great deal of chronic depression, withdrawal, and lack of functioning among not only people directly affected by the events in the Gulf, but also people nationwide and globally who identify or empathize with their circumstances.

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With the hope that the BP spill, with all the damage and suffering it is causing, will stimulate renewed environmental activism and changes in attitudes and behaviors, Winter says, “this disaster is probably just the kick in the pants that the environmental movement has needed.”

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The interview is available free online at www.liebertpub.com/eco.

For a sample of related Situationist posts, see “Inequality and the Unequal Situation of Mental and Physical Health,” “The Situational Consequences of Uncertainty,” “The Situation of Solitary Confinement,” “Our Carcinogenic Situation,” “The Psychological Toll of Automobile Traffic,” “The Disturbing Mental Health Situation of Returning Soldiers,” Juliet Schor, ‘Colossal Failure: The Output Bias of Market Economies’,” Juliet Schor on the Situation of Consumption,”Denial,” The Need for a Situationist Morality,”

Posted in Emotions, Environment | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Mood and Moral Judgment – Abstract

Posted by The Situationist Staff on April 22, 2009

emotion3We recently encountered an interesting paper by Jeremy A. Blumenthal, “Does Mood Influence Moral Judgment?: An Empirical Test with Legal and Policy Implications” (29 Law and Psychology Review (2005)) on SSRN.   Here’s the abstract.

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Despite recurring interest in the potential for affect to influence “rational” reasoning, in particular the effect of emotion on moral judgments, legal scholars and social scientists have conducted far less empirical research directly testing such questions than might be expected. Nevertheless, the extent to which affect can influence moral decisions is an important question for the law. Watching a certain sort of movie, for instance, can significantly influence responses to opinion polls conducted shortly after that movie. Legislative action based on public opinion as so expressed, or media reports of public opinion based on such polls, could thus inaccurately reflect that public sentiment. This is especially so for social and policy issues that are heavily emotional, such as capital punishment or affirmative action.

Most discussion on law and emotions has been theoretical, addressing philosophical approaches to law and emotion. What psychological data exist are mixed, and virtually none appears in the legal literature. Thus, to bring the legal academic discussion into the realm of the empirical, and to provide further data on the question of affective influences on moral and legal decision-making, I conducted two experimental studies examining mood’s influence on moral judgments.

After clarifying what I mean by “moral judgment” and how I measured it, I report the methodologies and results of those studies. Briefly, the data support other empirical research showing that individuals in a positive mood (here, happiness) tend to process information more superficially than those in a negative mood (here, anxiety). I then discuss the results’ implications for the legal system, including implications for trials (e.g., victim impact statements or graphic testimony), and implications for public policy-making (e.g., the context of public opinion polls and surveys).

Most broadly, the data contribute to the developing legal literature on the role of emotions in the law. They highlight the importance of conducting empirical research, and of the translation of such empirics to specific legal and policy applications.

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To download the paper for free, click here.  For a sample of related Situationist posts, see “Law, Psychology & Morality – Abstract,” “Situating Emotion,” “The Motivated Situation of Morality,” and “Moral Psychology Primer.”

Posted in Abstracts, Emotions, Experimental Philosophy, Law, Morality, Social Psychology | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

A Neural Perspective on “Efficiency versus Equity” – Abstract

Posted by The Situationist Staff on January 10, 2009

Ming Hsu, Cédric Anen, and Steven R. Quartz, recently published a report titled “The Right and the Good: Distributive Justice and Neural Encoding of Equity and Efficiency” (in 320 Science 1092 – 1095 (2008)).  Here’s the abstract.

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Distributive justice concerns how individuals and societies distribute benefits and burdens in a just or moral manner. We combined distribution choices with functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate the central problem of distributive justice: the trade-off between equity and efficiency. We found that the putamen responds to efficiency, whereas the insula encodes inequity, and the caudate/septal subgenual region encodes a unified measure of efficiency and inequity (utility). Notably, individual differences in inequity aversion correlate with activity in inequity and utility regions. Against utilitarianism, our results support the deontological intuition that a sense of fairness is fundamental to distributive justice but, as suggested by moral sentimentalists, is rooted in emotional processing. More generally, emotional responses related to norm violations may underlie individual differences in equity considerations and adherence to ethical rules.

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For a brief, helpful summary of the report on BPS Research Digest, click here.

Posted in Abstracts, Distribution, Emotions, Neuroscience, Philosophy | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Emotional Content of True and False Memories – Abstract

Posted by The Situationist Staff on December 8, 2008

Cara Laney and Elizabeth Loftus recently published their interesting article, Emotional Content of True and False Memories (16  Psychol. Press 500-516 (2008) on SSRN.  Here’s the abstract.

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Many people believe that emotional memories (including those that arise in therapy) are particularly likely to represent true events because of their emotional content. But is emotional content a reliable indicator of memory accuracy? The current research assessed the emotional content of participants’ pre-existing (true) and manipulated (false) memories for childhood events. False memories for one of three emotional childhood events were planted using a suggestive manipulation and then compared, a long several subjective dimensions, with other participants’ true memories. On most emotional dimensions (e.g., how emotional was this event for you?), true and false memories were indistinguishable. On a few measures (e.g., intensity of feelings at the time of the event), true memories were more emotional than false memories in the aggregate, yet true and false memories were equally likely to be rated as uniformly emotional. These results suggest that even substantial emotional content may not reliably indicate memory accuracy.

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To read some related Situationist posts, see “The Situation of Memory,”  “TAL Animation on the Situation of Memory, ” “The Interior Situation of Complex Human Feelings,” “Emotions, Values, and Information: The Future of Nanotechnology,” and “Situating Emotion.”

Posted in Abstracts, Emotions | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

The Situation of Affective Forecasting and the Law – Abstract

Posted by The Situationist Staff on July 1, 2008

weather forecastWe recently encountered a worthwhile essay by Jeremy A. Blumenthal, titled “Law and the Emotions: The Problems of Affective Forecasting” (80 Indiana Law Journal (2004)), on SSRN. Here’s the abstract.

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Legal scholarship on behavioralism and the implications of cognitive biases for the law is flourishing. In parallel with the rise of such commentary, legal scholars have begun to discuss the role of the emotions in legal discourse. Discussion turns on the appropriateness of various emotions for the substantive law, and on attempts to model the place of the emotions in the law.

Implicit in some of these theories, however – and explicit in others – is the assumption that emotions are predictable, manageable, and (for some commentators) under conscious control. This assumption is belied by psychological research on affective forecasting that demonstrates individuals’ inability to accurately predict future emotional states, both their own and others’.

Such inaccuracy has surprisingly broad implications for both substantive and procedural aspects of the legal system. The research findings also demonstrate the implausibility of some theoretical models of the emotions; if these models are flawed, then the normative conclusions drawn from them may be flawed as well.

In this Article I review the psychological data demonstrating inaccuracies in affective forecasting, and spin out their implications in a number of substantive legal areas. The data show potential flaws in the way civil juries assign compensatory awards, and in our approach to certain aspects of sexual harassment law. The findings have profound implications for the presentation of victim impact statements to capital juries, but also undercut some abolitionist claims regarding the suffering that death row prisoners experience. Contract law is implicated by these findings, especially in the context of contracts for surrogate motherhood. And the data are relevant to areas of health law as well – for instance, regarding the use of advance directives broadly as well as in the specific context of euthanasia.

I also discuss broader issues, such as the implications of the affective forecasting research for theories of law and the emotions more broadly. In this discussion I include some of the specific drawbacks to some current theories. In addition, I address the data’s implications for the very theories of welfare and well-being that underlie much legal policy, as well as some speculations about what the findings might have to say about potential paternalistic policies.

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For relationed Situationist posts, see “The Situation of Civil Settlements – Abstractand “Situating Emotion. Image by kamoda.

Posted in Emotions, Law, Social Psychology | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Emotional Reactions to Law & Economics – Abstract

Posted by The Situationist Staff on May 17, 2008

Economics Books - Flickr

Peter Huang posted his latest manuscript, titled “Emotional Reactions to Law & Economics, Market Metaphors, & Rationality Rhetoric” (forthcoming in Theoretical Foundations of Law and Economics) on SSRN. Here’s the abstract.

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This chapter makes three fundamental points about law and economics. First, although some people feel strong, negative emotional reactions to utilizing microeconomics to analyze non-business areas of law, others feel no such emotional reactions. This chapter advances the hypothesis that people who do not view the world exclusively through an economics lens are likely to experience negative feelings toward applying microeconomics to non-business law areas, while people who view the world primarily through an economics lens are unlikely to experience such emotional reactions. Second, although law and economics remains an uncontroversial subfield of applied microeconomics; it has become a dominant, yet still controversial field of scholarship in legal academia. This chapter proposes that differences in how most academic and professional economists perceive law and economics versus how most academic and professional lawyers perceive law and economics are due primarily to differences in how familiar they are with microeconomics presented in a mathematically rigorous fashion. Third, much research considerably and significantly qualifies many well-known and often quoted alleged benefits of competitive markets and unbounded rationality. People who are familiar with this research appreciate that the extent to which markets and rationality are socially desirable is more complicated than people do not understand this research suggest. This research involves not only traditional microeconomics, but also behavioral economics, cognitive psychology, social psychology, and neuroeconomics.

Posted in Abstracts, Behavioral Economics, Cultural Cognition, Emotions, Neuroeconomics, Social Psychology | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Interpreting Facial Expressions

Posted by The Situationist Staff on March 20, 2008

Clinton McCain ObamaDel Jones of USA Today has an interesting piece on the research of Dan Hill, an expert in facial coding, a system of classifying hundreds of tiny muscle movements in the face. Below is a brief excerpt from the article as it pertains to the expressions of Senators Barrack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain.

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“It is presidential season and Hill, president of Sensory Logic and author of a book about facial coding called Emotionomics: Winning Hearts and Minds, has been in demand to find clues in the faces of the candidates. John McCain forces smiles and, true to his reputation, angers easily, as demonstrated by puffed cheeks and a chin thrust upward in disgust, Hill says. Hillary Clinton smirks, an expression “she oddly enough shares with President Bush,” which conveys an attitude of assurance bordering on superiority and smugness. Barack Obama has the best true smile, but flashes it rarely for someone who speaks of hope, and Hill sees flashes of disdain, aloofness, disappointment and exasperation.”

To watch a video of Dan Hill’s analysis of the smiles of several candidates, click on the video below.

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Undoubtedly, people’s facial expressions often speak louder than their words about their attitudes, emotions, and associations. And it is certainly the case that scientists are learning more every day about the sources and meaning of those facial expressions. Still, we have our doubts about the reliability Hill’s process of facial-coding, particularly given his seeming readiness to reach firm conclusions about a given individual’s stable preferences, emotional states, or attitudes through that process.

For other Situationist posts on politics, click here.

Posted in Emotions, Politics, Video | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

 
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