Thursday, September 13, 2012

Soft Ball

Proprioception and Person Perception: Politicians and Professors

Michael Slepian, Nicholas Rule & Nalini Ambady
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

Abstract: Social-categorical knowledge is partially grounded in proprioception. In Study 1, participants describing "hard" and "soft" politicians, and "hard" and "soft" scientists used different "hard" and "soft" traits for the two groups, suggesting that the meaning of these traits is context specific. Studies 2 to 4 showed that both meanings were supported by hard and soft proprioception. Consistent with political stereotypes, perceivers viewing faces while handling a hard ball were more likely to categorize them as Republicans rather than as Democrats, compared to perceivers viewing the same faces while handling a soft ball (Study 2). Similarly, consistent with stereotypes of "hard" and "soft" academic disciplines, perceivers were more likely to categorize photographs of professors as physicists than historians when handling a hard versus soft ball (Study 3). Finally, thinking about Republicans and Democrats led participants to perceive a ball as harder or softer, respectively, suggesting that simulating proprioception might aid social-categorical thinking (Study 4).

With thanks to Kevin Lewis.

For some reason, that article reminds me of "The Caine Mutiny"....  (after the jump)

The Caine Mutiny
written by Stanley Roberts, Michael Blankfort, from the novel by Herman Wouk

(Captain Queeg removes the steel balls from his pocket and he spins them in his palm insistently as he speaks.)
Queeg: No, I, I don't see any need of that. Now that I recall, he might have said something about messboys and then again he might not -- I questioned so many men and Harding was not the most reliable officer.
Lt. Greenwald (Jose Ferrer): I'm afraid the defense has no other recourse than to produce Lt. Harding.
Queeg: Now there's no need for that I know exactly what hell tell you. Lies! He was no different than any officer in the wardroom -- they were all disloyal, I tried to run the ship properly by the book but they fought me at every turn. If the crew wanted to walk around with their shirttails hanging out that's all right let them take the tow line. Defective equipment no more no less, but they encouraged the crew to go around scoffing at me and spreading wild rumors about steaming and circles. And then old yellow stain. I was to blame for Lt. Merrick's incompetence and poor seamanship. Lt. Merrick was the perfect officer but not Captain Queeg.
Ah, but the strawberries! That's where I had them. They laughed at me and made jokes, but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt, and with geometric logic, that a duplicate key to the wardroom icebox did exist! And I'd have produced that key if they hadn't pulled Caine out of action! I-I-I know now they were only trying to protect some fellow officer and!......(realizes he has been ranting, babbling)
Naturally, I can only cover these things from memory if I've left anything out, why, just ask me specific questions and I'll be glad to answer

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