SP Speaker: Kristin Laurin, PhD (Stanford University)

Social Personality Brown Bag Series

Mar 30, 2015
from 12:10 PM to 01:30 PM

Young 166

Responding to restrictions: Reconciling two opposing processes  

People face countless restrictions in their daily life. Governments regulate how fast we can drive, and when and where we are allowed to drink, workplace policies tell us what we may wear and how long we can spend eating lunch, and our romantic partners, well… I’ll leave that to your imagination. In this talk, I will describe a program of research that aims to understand how people cope with these restrictions. In particular I focus on two contradictory responses, each supported by a long empirical history: Rationalization and psychological reactance. I will present a series of studies, some published but most not, that identify some of the factors that influence whether people rationalize a new restriction, and adjust their attitudes to see it in its most positive light, or react against it, and adjust their attitudes in the opposite direction, exaggerating their opposition.

Katherine Sorensen