Travis Proulx (Cardiff University) : « The Meaning Maintenance Model »

Travis Proulx (Cardiff University) : « The Meaning Maintenance Model »

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The Meaning Maintenance Model

Le séminaire sera  présenté par  Travis Proulx, de l’ Université de Cardiff  et aura lieu le 26 Septembre 2016 à 14h en salle 5028
Social psychologists commonly demonstrate the following effect: threaten people’s beliefs or goals, and they will engage in a typical array of compensation behaviors. Often, these behaviors involve the affirmation of alternative beliefs or goals, which may or may not be relevant to the commitments that were threatened. Just as often, an aversive state is assumed to follow from the experience of the threat, which is understood to motivate the compensation efforts. Despite the analogous qualities of these effects, there are many different theories within the “threat-compensation” literature purporting to explain some or all of the analogous phenomena. The meaning maintenance model (MMM) offers an integrated account of these behaviors, as well as the overlapping perspectives that address specific aspects of this threat-compensation process. According to the MMM, the effects associated with this process bottleneck at neurocognitive and psychophysiological systems that detect and react to the experience of inconsistency, which in turn motivates compensatory behaviors. From this perspective, compensation behaviors are understood as palliative efforts to relieve the aversive arousal that follows from any experience that is inconsistent with expected relationships—whether the meaning violation involves a perceptual anomaly or an awareness of a finite human existence. In this talk, I will summarize these efforts, the assimilation, accommodation, affirmation, abstraction and assembly behaviors that variously manifest in every corner of our discipline, and academics, more generally. I will also present recent psychophysiological data that distinguishes between threat and inconsistency, as they are differentially implicated in these compensation effects.

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