Maher, Paul J.
Maher, Paul J.
Maher, Paul J.
Now showing 1 - 2 of 2
- PublicationExploring the relationship between lay theories of gender and attitudes to abortion in the context of a national referendum on abortion policy(Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2019-06-13)
; ;The relationship between lay theories of gender and attitudes to abortion policy has received minimal empirical attention. An ongoing theoretical debate in the psychological essentialism literature queries whether biological attributions causally influence social attitudes or primarily function to justify existing attitudinal commitments. The current research used the context of a national referendum on abortion in Ireland to investigate whether endorsement of certain gender theories is contingent on their rhetorical construction as supporting particular attitudes to abortion. Two experimental studies were conducted online in the three weeks preceding the Irish abortion referendum. The studies tested whether participants would adapt their causal gender beliefs after reading that biological (Study 1; N = 348) or social (Study 2; N = 241) accounts of gender supported or conflicted with their intended vote in the referendum. Both studies showed the opposite effect: causal gender theories presented as conflicting with participants’ voting intentions subsequently showed elevated support, relative to theories that purportedly aligned with participants’ voting intentions. While results confirm that lay theories of gender are mutable, the direction of effects does not support the proposition that gender theories are selectively endorsed to support existing socio-political attitudes to abortion. Potential mechanisms for the results observed are discussed. 247Scopus© Citations 2
- PublicationLost in Multidimensional Space: Epistemic Motivations Define and Distinguish Negative Affect(SAGE Publications, 2019-03-12)
; ;People’s knowledge of the world is limited and frequently imprecise. Thus, epistemic challenges are commonplace and much research in psychology has investigated their consequences. However, research has not systematically investigated how states of negative affect correspond to the desire for understanding and meaning in life. We investigated the role of epistemic motivations (e.g., meaning search) as features that distinguish forms of negative affect from one another. In three studies, we used multidimensional scaling to model the perceived similarity of negative affect states and then examined to what extent people differentiate these states based on their association with epistemic motivations. These studies revealed that negative states are reliably differentiated through their relation to epistemic pursuits. These findings were verified in a fourth study in which we experimentally induced epistemic affect. Overall, these results indicate that epistemic concerns characterize states of negative affect to a substantial degree. 343Scopus© Citations 6