Influence of Emotionally Charged Information on Category-Based Induction

Jennifer Zhu, Gregory L. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Categories help us make predictions, or inductions, about new objects. However, we cannot always be certain that a novel object belongs to the category we are using to make predictions. In such cases, people should use multiple categories to make inductions. Past research finds that people often use only the most likely category to make inductions, even if it is not certain. In two experiments, subjects read stories and answered questions about items whose categorization was uncertain. In Experiment 1, the less likely category was either emotionally neutral or dangerous (emotionally charged or likely to pose a threat). Subjects used multiple categories in induction when one of the categories was dangerous but not when they were all neutral. In Experiment 2, the most likely category was dangerous. Here, people used multiple categories, but there was also an effect of avoidance, in which people denied that dangerous categories were the most likely. The attention-grabbing power of dangerous categories may be balanced by a higher-level strategy to reject them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere54286
JournalPLoS One
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 29 2013

Fingerprint

Research
Experiments
prediction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Influence of Emotionally Charged Information on Category-Based Induction. / Zhu, Jennifer; Murphy, Gregory L.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 8, No. 1, e54286, 29.01.2013.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Zhu, Jennifer ; Murphy, Gregory L. / Influence of Emotionally Charged Information on Category-Based Induction. In: PLoS One. 2013 ; Vol. 8, No. 1.
@article{32e34c332b264a98b86f61463e3a8475,
title = "Influence of Emotionally Charged Information on Category-Based Induction",
abstract = "Categories help us make predictions, or inductions, about new objects. However, we cannot always be certain that a novel object belongs to the category we are using to make predictions. In such cases, people should use multiple categories to make inductions. Past research finds that people often use only the most likely category to make inductions, even if it is not certain. In two experiments, subjects read stories and answered questions about items whose categorization was uncertain. In Experiment 1, the less likely category was either emotionally neutral or dangerous (emotionally charged or likely to pose a threat). Subjects used multiple categories in induction when one of the categories was dangerous but not when they were all neutral. In Experiment 2, the most likely category was dangerous. Here, people used multiple categories, but there was also an effect of avoidance, in which people denied that dangerous categories were the most likely. The attention-grabbing power of dangerous categories may be balanced by a higher-level strategy to reject them.",
author = "Jennifer Zhu and Murphy, {Gregory L.}",
year = "2013",
month = "1",
day = "29",
doi = "10.1371/journal.pone.0054286",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "8",
journal = "PLoS One",
issn = "1932-6203",
publisher = "Public Library of Science",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Influence of Emotionally Charged Information on Category-Based Induction

AU - Zhu, Jennifer

AU - Murphy, Gregory L.

PY - 2013/1/29

Y1 - 2013/1/29

N2 - Categories help us make predictions, or inductions, about new objects. However, we cannot always be certain that a novel object belongs to the category we are using to make predictions. In such cases, people should use multiple categories to make inductions. Past research finds that people often use only the most likely category to make inductions, even if it is not certain. In two experiments, subjects read stories and answered questions about items whose categorization was uncertain. In Experiment 1, the less likely category was either emotionally neutral or dangerous (emotionally charged or likely to pose a threat). Subjects used multiple categories in induction when one of the categories was dangerous but not when they were all neutral. In Experiment 2, the most likely category was dangerous. Here, people used multiple categories, but there was also an effect of avoidance, in which people denied that dangerous categories were the most likely. The attention-grabbing power of dangerous categories may be balanced by a higher-level strategy to reject them.

AB - Categories help us make predictions, or inductions, about new objects. However, we cannot always be certain that a novel object belongs to the category we are using to make predictions. In such cases, people should use multiple categories to make inductions. Past research finds that people often use only the most likely category to make inductions, even if it is not certain. In two experiments, subjects read stories and answered questions about items whose categorization was uncertain. In Experiment 1, the less likely category was either emotionally neutral or dangerous (emotionally charged or likely to pose a threat). Subjects used multiple categories in induction when one of the categories was dangerous but not when they were all neutral. In Experiment 2, the most likely category was dangerous. Here, people used multiple categories, but there was also an effect of avoidance, in which people denied that dangerous categories were the most likely. The attention-grabbing power of dangerous categories may be balanced by a higher-level strategy to reject them.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84872807303&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84872807303&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1371/journal.pone.0054286

DO - 10.1371/journal.pone.0054286

M3 - Article

C2 - 23372700

AN - SCOPUS:84872807303

VL - 8

JO - PLoS One

JF - PLoS One

SN - 1932-6203

IS - 1

M1 - e54286

ER -