Conversation and Mind Perception

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Conversation is a mechanism by which humans communicate what is on their minds to others. One means by which people convey their mental experiences is through their voices (e.g., in spoken conversation). A person’s voice is a conduit for expressing sophisticated thoughts, beliefs, and knowledge using both semantic and paralinguistic information. How does hearing a person’s thoughts via their own speech change beliefs about that person’s mental capacities, compared with reading the same thoughts? More broadly, how can the act of conversing in different ways (e.g., via talking, writing, video-chatting, and so on) affect social inferences?

Key Publications

The Humanizing Voice: Speech Reveals, and Text Conceals, a More Thoughtful Mind in the Midst of Disagreement
Schroeder, J., Kardas, M., & Epley, N. (2017). The humanizing voice: Speech reveals, and text conceals, a more thoughtful mind in the midst of disagreement. Psychological Science, 28, 1745-1762.

Mistaking Minds and Machines: How Speech Affects Dehumanization and Anthropomorphism
Schroeder, J., & Epley, N. (2016). Mistaking minds and machines: How speech affects dehumanization and anthropomorphism. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 145, 1427-1437.

The Sound of Intellect: Speech Reveals a Thoughtful Mind, Increasing a Job Candidate’s Appeal
Schroeder, J., & Epley, N. (2015). The sound of intellect: Speech reveals a thoughtful mind, increasing a job candidate's appeal. Psychological Science, 26, 877-891.

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“Lesser Minds”: Causes and Consequences of Dehumanization

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When and why do people infer that others have weaker mental capacities than they themselves have, thereby “dehumanizing” others? Considering other minds is an effortful process that requires motivational triggers (Epley, Schroeder, & Waytz, 2014). In such a way, dehumanization may stem not only from antipathy but also from apathy or egocentrism (e.g., Waytz & Schroeder, 2014). This research seeks to understand the form and function of everyday dehumanization.

Key Publications

Endorsing Help for Others That You Oppose for Yourself: Mind Perception Alters the Perceived Effectiveness of Paternalism
Schroeder, J., Waytz, A., & Epley, N. (2017). Endorsing help for others that you oppose for yourself: Mind perception alters the perceived effectiveness of paternalism. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 146, 1106-1125.

Befriending the Enemy: Outgroup Friendship Longitudinally Predicts Intergroup Attitudes in a Co-existence Program for Israelis and Palestinians
Schroeder, J., & Risen, J.L. (2016). Befriending the enemy: Outgroup friendship longitudinally predicts intergroup attitudes in a co-existence program for Israelis and Palestinians. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 19, 72-93.

The Lesser Minds Problem
Waytz, A., Schroeder, J., & Epley, N. (2014). The lesser minds problem. In Bain, P., Vaes, J., & Leyens, J.P. (Eds.), Humanness and dehumanization (pp. 49-67). New York, NY: Psychology Press.

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Instrumental Relationships and Objectifying Interactions

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Much of daily interaction occurs in instrumental contexts, whereby the interaction is driven by a goal other than becoming closer to one’s interaction partner. For example, interactions with waitresses, physicians, or employees are primarily instrumental in nature. These interactions may be governed by a particular form of social cognition in which the interaction-partner is perceived primarily as a means to an end; this can lead the perceiver to egocentrically overlook currently unnecessary characteristics of their partner. Some scholars have called this a form of “objectification,” in the sense that the target becomes a tool or object to satisfy the perceiver’s goals.

Key Publications

Functional Intimacy: Needing—But Not Wanting—the Touch of a Stranger
Schroeder, J., Fishbach, A., Schein, C., & Gray, K. (2017). Functional intimacy: Needing—but not wanting—the touch of a stranger. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 113, 910-924.

Many Hands Make Overlooked Work: Overclaiming of Responsibility Increases With Group Size
Schroeder, J., Caruso, E., & Epley, N. (2016). Many hands make overlooked work: Overclaiming of responsibility increases with group size. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 22, 238-246.

The “Empty Vessel” Physician: Physicians’ Instrumentality Makes Them Seem Personally Empty
Schroeder, J., & Fishbach, A. (2015). The “empty vessel” physician: Physicians’ instrumentality makes them seem personally empty. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 6, 940-949.

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Culture and Cognition: The Psychology of Ritual

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Rituals are central to the most meaningful traditions and cultural practices around the world whether through religion, business, politics, education, athletics, or the military. A ritual is a predefined sequence characterized by rigidity, formality, and repetition that is embedded in a larger system of symbolism and meaning (Hobson, Schroeder, Risen, Xygalatas, & Inzlicht, 2017). What mechanisms drive this universal aspect of human behavior, and what are the psychological consequences of engaging in rituals?

Key Publications

Handshaking Promotes Deal-Making by Signaling Cooperative Intent
Schroeder, J., Risen, J. L., Gino, F. & Norton, M. I. (2018). Handshaking promotes deal-making by signaling cooperative intent. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

The Psychology of Rituals: An Integrative Review and Process-Based Framework
Hobson, N.M., Schroeder, J., Risen, J.L., Xygalatas, D., & Inzlicht, M. (2017). The psychology of rituals: An integrative review and process-based framework. Personality and Social Psychology Review.

Don’t Stop Believing: Rituals Improve Performance by Decreasing Anxiety
Brooks, A.W., Schroeder, J., Risen, J.L., Gino, F., Galinsky, A., Norton, M.I., & Schweitzer, M.E. (2016). Don’t stop believing: Rituals improve performance by decreasing anxiety. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 137, 71-85.

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