Encouraging Blood Donations

Previous research on blood donation has focused on identifying ways to attract new donors. In contrast, Sénémeaud and colleagues investigated strategies to encourage individuals who had donated in the past to donate more regularly. Based on self-perception theory, which suggests that people infer their own attitudes by observing their own behavior, the researchers tested whether [...]

Why Do Immigrants Stay in Communities with Harsh Immigration Laws?

Tough immigration laws have been passed in several states in recent years, including Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, and Utah. These laws include such provisions as restricting unauthorized immigrants’ access to education and health services and authorizing police to demand papers proving citizenship from individuals they suspect of being in the country unlawfully. According to Valdez [...]

Native Land Reclamation: Predicting Motivation to Participate in Collective Action

In order to predict whether individuals will join in collective action, most psychological studies turn to social identity theory. According to this approach, people are more likely to join in collective action if they have a strong collective identity, particularly if their group is perceived as threatened in some way. Giguère, Lalonde, and Jonsson (2012) [...]

Psychological Barriers to Climate Change Action

Robert Gifford (2011) proposed that while some of the barriers to taking action about climate change are structural (e.g., buying solar panels is not affordable or riding a bike to work is impractical), many are psychological. He identified seven categories of “dragons of inaction”: (1) Limited cognition – the human brain has difficulty grasping threats [...]

A Social Cognitive Model of the Digital Divide

In a world where educational and employment opportunities are increasingly tied to computer use, unequal access to information technology – known as the digital divide – is a significant public policy issue. Efforts to address this problem often focus on increasing access to public computers in schools and libraries. Yet, little is known about the [...]

The Denial of Mind to Animals Used for Human Consumption

Bastian and colleagues (2012) identified a form of cognitive dissonance they termed the “meat paradox” in which people’s concern for animal welfare conflicts with their meat-eating behavior. They proposed that individuals reconcile this conflict by mentally separating meat from animals and by denying that animals possess the mental qualities (such as the capacity for fear [...]

Ironic Effects of Dietary Supplementation

One might expect that the increased availability of dietary supplements would result in improvements in public health. Chiou, Yang, and Wan (2011) suggested that the opposite might occur. They hypothesized that taking a dietary supplement might increase one’s sense of invulnerability and thus lead to taking greater health risks. Eighty-two Taiwanese participants were asked to [...]

Opposing the Ground Zero Mosque

Opposition to a planned Islamic community center and mosque near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan has been viewed as a manifestation of anti-Muslim attitudes. Jia, Karpen, and Hirt (2011) proposed another explanation – that this opposition stems from motivation to regain a positive American identity, which may have weakened as a result of recent economic, [...]

Community Norms about AIDS-Related Prejudice

This study investigated the relationship between community members’ motivation to control AIDS-related prejudice and the experience of stigma by community members with HIV or AIDS. As hypothesized, individuals with HIV or AIDS felt less stigmatized in communities where residents were internally motivated by personal values to control prejudice. In communities where residents were externally motivated [...]

Motivating Hand Hygiene

Recent efforts to cut hospital infection rates have focused new attention on the hand washing behavior of health care professionals. Grant and Hofman (2011) suggested that lower than recommended rates of hand washing among these workers may be due to a sense of invulnerability to disease, since they are continually exposed to illness, but rarely [...]