In Person

Kevin Lewis

May 01, 2021

When Forecasting Mutually Supportive Matches Will Be Practically Impossible
Brian Lakey et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming


Forecasting which dyads will develop mutually supportive relationships is an important applied and basic research question. Applying psychometric theory to the design of forecasting studies shows that agreement between dyad members about their relationship (relational reciprocity) sets an upper limit for forecasting accuracy by determining the reliability of measurement. To test this, we estimated relational reciprocity in Study 1. Participants in seven samples (six student and one military; N = 504; Ndyads = 766) rated each other on support-related constructs in round-robin designs. Relational reciprocity was very low, undermining reliability. Formulas from psychometric theory predicted that forecasting supportive dyads would be practically impossible. To test this, we had participants in Study 2 complete a measure for matching dyads derived from recent theory. As predicted, supportive matches could not be forecast with acceptable precision. Theoretically, this falsifies some predictions of recent social-support theory. Practically, it remains unclear how to translate basic social-support research into effective interventions.

Speaking out of turn: How video conferencing reduces vocal synchrony and collective intelligence
Maria Tomprou et al.
PLoS ONE, March 2021


Collective intelligence (CI) is the ability of a group to solve a wide range of problems. Synchrony in nonverbal cues is critically important to the development of CI; however, extant findings are mostly based on studies conducted face-to-face. Given how much collaboration takes place via the internet, does nonverbal synchrony still matter and can it be achieved when collaborators are physically separated? Here, we hypothesize and test the effect of nonverbal synchrony on CI that develops through visual and audio cues in physically-separated teammates. We show that, contrary to popular belief, the presence of visual cues surprisingly has no effect on CI; furthermore, teams without visual cues are more successful in synchronizing their vocal cues and speaking turns, and when they do so, they have higher CI. Our findings show that nonverbal synchrony is important in distributed collaboration and call into question the necessity of video support.

Methods of gratitude expression and their effects upon well-being: Texting may be just as rewarding as and less risky than face-to-face
Kennon Sheldon & Sen-chi Yu
Journal of Positive Psychology, forthcoming


In three studies of U.S. and Taiwanese participants, we tested the common assumption that it is more satisfying to express gratitude face-to-face (FtF) than indirectly (i.e. by text or email). Scenario-based Study 1 assessed lay theories, finding that participants indeed expected more positive emotion but also expected more negative emotion to accompany FtF expression. Retrospective study 2 assigned participants to recall their emotions after a recent time they thanked somebody, either FtF or by text message. Positive emotions did not differ in the two conditions. Longitudinal Study 3 assigned participants to create three thanking episodes, either FtF, by phone, or by text. All three gratitude conditions boosted well-being compared to a neutral control condition, but differed little from each other in their effects. Cultural differences were observed but were mostly irrelevant to our hypotheses. Our results indicate that texting somebody a quick 'thank you' may be just as positively impactful as, and less risky than, thanking them to their face.

The Face of Social Networks: Naive Observers' Accurate Assessment of Others' Social Network Positions From Faces
Nicholas Alt et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming


We examined whether, even at zero acquaintance, observers accurately infer others' social network positions - specifically, the number and patterning of social ties (e.g., brokerage - the extent to which a person bridges disconnected people) and the trait impressions that support this accuracy. We paired social network data (n = 272 professional school students), with naive observers' (n = 301 undergraduates) judgments of facial images of each person within the network. Results revealed that observers' judgments of targets' number of friends were predicted by the actual number of people who considered the target a friend (in-degree centrality) and that perceived brokerage was significantly predicted by targets' actual brokerage. Lens models revealed that targets' perceived attractiveness, dominance, warmth, competence, and trustworthiness supported this accuracy, with attractiveness and warmth most associated with perceptions of popularity and brokerage. Overall, we demonstrate accuracy in naive observers' judgments of social network position and the trait impressions supporting these inferences.

Dogs Mentally Represent Jealousy-Inducing Social Interactions
Amalia Bastos et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming


Jealousy may have evolved to protect valuable social bonds from interlopers, but some researchers have suggested that it is linked to self-awareness and theory of mind, leading to claims that it is unique to humans. We presented dogs (N = 18; 11 females; age: M = 4.6 years, SD = 1.9) with situations in which they could observe an out-of-sight social interaction between their owner and a fake dog or between their owner and a fleece cylinder. We found evidence for three signatures of jealous behavior in dogs: (a) Jealousy emerged only when the dog's owner interacted with a perceived social rival, (b) it occurred as a consequence of that interaction and not because of the mere presence of a conspecific, and (c) it emerged even for an out-of-sight interaction between the dog's owner and a social rival. These results support claims that dogs display jealous behavior, and they provide the first evidence that dogs can mentally represent jealousy-inducing social interactions.

Low Self-Control: A Hidden Cause of Loneliness?
Olga Stavrova, Dongning Ren & Tila Pronk
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming


Loneliness has been associated with multiple negative outcomes. But what contributes to loneliness in the first place? Drawing from the literature on the importance of self-regulatory ability for successful social functioning, the present research explored the role of low self-control as a factor leading to loneliness. A set of four studies (and three additional studies in Supplementary Online Materials) using cross-sectional, experimental, daily diary, and experience sampling methods showed that lower self-control is associated with higher loneliness at both trait and state levels. Why does low self-control contribute to loneliness? Self-control failures that have negative implications for others lead to higher risks for being ostracized by others, which predicts increased feelings of loneliness over time. These results suggest that low self-control, which is often associated with negative intrapersonal outcomes, can have important interpersonal consequences by evoking ostracism, and consequently, loneliness.

Quantifying the psychopathic stare: Automated assessment of head motion is related to antisocial traits in forensic interviews
Aparna Gullapalli et al.
Journal of Research in Personality, forthcoming


Clinicians have long noted that individuals with high psychopathic traits exhibit unique interpersonal style often observable during forensic interviews. Here we develop an automated approach for quantifying head dynamics during video-recorded naturalistic clinical interviews. We expected head dynamics would be related to psychopathic traits. As predicted, dwell times indicate that those with higher levels of psychopathic traits are characterized by more stationary head positions, focused directly towards the camera/interviewer, than were individuals low in psychopathic traits. These associations were primarily driven by developmental/antisocial features of psychopathy, indicating that those with severe and life-course persistent antisocial behavior exhibit more rigid and focused orienting of their head during interpersonal communication. These results encourage more research into the automated quantification of behavioral manifestations of personality to support clinical observations that psychopaths exhibit unique qualities in non-verbal interpersonal communication.


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