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Do you use your head or follow your heart? Self-location predicts personality, emotion, decision making, and performance.

Fetterman, Adam K and Robinson, Michael D (2013) 'Do you use your head or follow your heart? Self-location predicts personality, emotion, decision making, and performance.' Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 105 (2). pp. 316-334. ISSN 0022-3514

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The head is thought to be rational and cold, whereas the heart is thought to be emotional and warm. In 8 studies (total N = 725), we pursued the idea that such body metaphors are widely consequential. Study 1 introduced a novel individual difference variable, one asking people to locate the self in the head or the heart. Irrespective of sex differences, head-locators characterized themselves as rational, logical, and interpersonally cold, whereas heart-locators characterized themselves as emotional, feminine, and interpersonally warm (Studies 1–3). Study 4 showed that head-locators were more accurate in answering general knowledge questions and had higher grade point averages, and Study 5 showed that heart-locators were more likely to favor emotional over rational considerations in moral decision making. Study 6 linked self-locations to reactivity phenomena in daily life—for example, heart-locators experienced greater negative emotion on high stressor days. In Study 7, we manipulated attention to the head versus the heart and found that head-pointing facilitated intellectual performance, whereas heart-pointing led to emotional decision making. Study 8 replicated Study 3’s findings with a nearly year-long delay between the self-location and outcome measures. The findings converge on the importance of head–heart metaphors for understanding individual differences in cognition, emotion, and performance.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2015 10:58
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2015 10:58

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