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Power, Emotion, and Judgmental Accuracy in Social Conflict: Motivating the Cognitive Miser

Power, Emotion, and Judgmental Accuracy in Social Conflict: Motivating the Cognitive Miser
Basic and Applied Social Psychology
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 1998
Pages: 7-21
Source ID: shanti-sources-22909
Zotero Collections: Contexts of Contemplation Project
Abstract:

This investigation examined whether ideological opponents' emotion and relative power in a conflict would influence the accuracy with which they judge their own side's and their opponents' attitudes. Based on accounts linking power and emotion to perceptual vigilance, we proposed that opposing partisans will be prone to stereotype their opponents as extremists, as the result of a heuristic, effort-saving strategy, unless motivated by lower relative power or increased emotion to make more accurate judgments. We predicted that members of powerful groups would judge the views of other groups inaccurately, that all groups would have inaccurate views of less powerful groups, and that high levels of negative emotion with regard to the conflict would be associated with more accurate judgments. Two studies yielded certain findings consistent with these predictions. In Study 1, powerful majority partisans were less accurate judges but more accurately judged than less powerful minority partisans across two social issues. Study 2 focused on two activist groups embroiled in a conflict over status and funding within the university setting, the power being held a Gay Pride group. Consistent with hypotheses, a self-reported sense of power and reduced negative emotion were both associated with reduced judgmental accuracy. Discussion focused on the underlying mechanisms that might account for the effects of power and emotion upon social judgment and the social implications of these asymmetries in judgmental accuracy.

Subjects: 
Contexts of Contemplation Project