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Dolores Albarracín, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Dolores Albarracín.
Dolores Albarracín.

Communication and Thought for Action
Dolores Albarracín is a professor of Psychology and Business at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and former Martin Fishbein Professor of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.

Abstract: This talk will discuss how we think and communicate about action, as well as the implications of these processes for behavioral enactment. I will review three domains of findings from my research on action and inaction: (a) judgment, (b) communication, and (c) choice architecture. With respect to judgments, across countries, especially Western ones, action is perceived as more beneficial and desirable than inaction. Action is also considered to be more goal-directed than inaction, and systematically shifting the goal-directed or intentional nature of actions and inactions modifies evaluations. In the area of communication, actionable messages are more efficacious than non-actionable ones. For example, active, behavioral-skills messages in the health domain change behavior more than behavior-irrelevant, passive messages. One apparent exception to the advantage of active messages occurs in the area of choice architecture. A common finding is that allowing passive consent (active opt-out to avoid being an organ donor) produces more compliance than requiring active opt-in. However, I will show when active choice increases compliance with target policies.

About the Speaker

Dolores Albarracín, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, previously was a professor of communication and the first Martin Fishbein Chair in Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. She also has been a professor of psychology at the University of Florida. Dr. Albarracín specializes in attitudes and persuasion, the intention-behavior relation, goals, predicting general activity patterns, predicting and changing health risk behaviors, and reviewing the effects of behavioral and clinical treatments in various settings (e.g., through meta-analysis and clinical trials). She is the recipient of two Scientist Development Awards from the National Institute of Mental Health and has published her work in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Psychological Bulletin, Health Psychology, Psychological Science, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Journal of Clinical and Consulting Psychology, and Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, among others. She co-edited two books, including the Handbook of Attitudes, which has become a source of reference with national and international reach. In May 2017, Dr. Albarracín and others convened a conference at the Annenberg Public Policy Center to present chapters for the forthcoming second, expanded edition of the Handbook of Attitudes. Dr. Albarracín was a chartered member of the National Institutes of Health review panel on Social Psychology and Individual Difference Processes, is currently a chartered member of the NIH panel on Behavioral and Social Processes in HIV, and serves on national and international committees as well as a number of editorial boards. She is a fellow of the Society for Experimental Social Psychology, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the American Psychological Association, and the Association for Psychological Science. Dr. Albarracín is currently Editor of Psychological Bulletin.