2001-2002 Guilford Award Abstracts
Overpromising and Overcompensating: Explaining the Planning Fallacy
Wake Forest University
Faculty Sponsor: Eric R. Stone, PhD
This study simultaneously tests 2 hypotheses concerning the planning fallacy, or people's tendency to underestimate their task-completion times. The self-presentation hypothesis holds that people make overly optimistic completion predictions as a strategy of presenting themselves desirably to others. The self-protection hypothesis suggests that people make unrealistic predictions in order to guard against threats to their self-beliefs of diligence, competence, and other favorable qualities. Results suggest that in addition to contributing to the planning fallacy, self-presentation may be a necessary condition. Whereas participants who made public predictions showed the typical underestimation bias, those who made private predictions did not underestimate. There was no difference in overall bias as a result of the self-protection manipulation. Although participants who thought they had taken too long to complete a previous task expected to finish the next task earlier than did control participants, they were able to actually finish slightly earlier as well. Both public and failure manipulations caused predictions to be less accurate (i.e., uncorrelated with actual completion times).
Adolescent Mental Health: Universal and Culture-Specific Opinions of Mental Health Professionals, Parents, and Adolescents
Eric P. Green
Faculty Sponsor: Chris Boyatzis, PhD
Of the 12 million children suffering from mental illness in the United States, only 20% receive treatment compared to the 74% who receive treatment for physical conditions. To reduce the pervasive stigma attached to mental illness in the U.S., the origin of these misconceptions and negative attitudes must be examined. Formed early in life, such attitudes are thought to be a function of society and culture. Therefore, attitudes toward adolescent mental health should be studied in a cross-cultural context to better understand how culture shapes the development of culture-specific and universal values. In this exploratory study, it was hypothesized that parents and adolescents share similar attitudes within cultures and different attitudes between cultures; mental health professionals were expected to share similar attitudes across cultures, suggesting an educational enculturation at the professional level. Adapted versions of the Opinions About Mental Illness Scale (Cohen & Struening, 1962) were administered to parents, adolescents, and mental health professionals in 4 phases. Factor analyses determined that adolescents and adults have different constructs of mental illness. Also professionals' opinions differed significantly from parents' opinions. At the cultural level, the Vietnamese adolescents, parents, and professionals were less likely than the other cultural groups to endorse the idea that the mentally ill are "different." This finding was replicated at the societal (individualistic/collectivistic) level, suggesting the collectivistic value (e.g., group harmony) may reduce one's inclination to make a distinction between normality and abnormality.
The Influence of Relational Variables and Participant Perspective on Perceptions of Fairness in the Justice System
Faculty Sponsor: Amy L. Otto, PhD
A wealth of procedural justice research has found that neutrality, trustworthiness, and status recognition significantly affect perceptions of fairness, (Tyler & Lind, 2001). Most of this research, however, has been correlational and has only examined the perspective of disputants. The present study added to this research by manipulating the relational variables and participant perspective. The design of this study was a 3 (perspective: disputant, jury member, outside observer) Yen 2 (neutrality) Yen 2 (trustworthiness) Yen 2 (status recognition) factorial. Participants read a transcript of a civil trial and completed questionnaires that assessed attitudes about the justice system and perceptions of the procedure's fairness. An ANOVA revealed that perspective, neutrality, and trustworthiness significantly affected perceptions of fairness. Path analysis indicated that while plaintiffs' ratings of fairness were influenced mainly by the manipulated procedure, jurors' and outsiders' perceptions were heavily influenced by their prior beliefs.