Many mental illnesses are characterized by chronic, persevering goals or concerns and the perceptual and cognitive biases they instigate. These concerns can become psychologically imperialistic, dominating and overwhelming the ebb and flow of other goals that normally emerge as people encounter changing circumstances in their daily lives. Moreover, the perceptual and cognitive processes resulting from such concerns may serve to maintain, and even exacerbate, the pathology. Understanding the ways in which salient goals affect social-perceptual and social-cognitive processing is thus critical to understanding motivation-based mental disorders. This competing continuation application seeks (1) to extend a recently- developed theoretical approach to the goals of social affiliation, status-seeking, and disease-avoidance-all of which have been implicated in particular mental pathologies (e.g., social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, hypochondriasis, depression)-and to test predictions related to how these goals sometimes enhance, sometimes suppress, and sometimes distort social information processing; (2) to further understand which goals take priority and thus actively suppress or inhibit the usual effects of other goals, and what social circumstances set the stage for such prioritization; (3) to further investigate intriguing goal- related processing disjunctions that appear to reveal the presence of fine-tuned perceptual and cognitive strategies that may enable perceivers to manage multiple goals within complex social environments; (4) to extend the model to incorporate individual differences at several stages of motivated cognition; and (5) to extend our range of individual differences to include those with subclinical and clinical problems linked to these goals (i.e., social anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders). This research extends a basic model that has already proven fruitful in expanding our understanding of motivated cognition, and should provide a more articulated understanding of social anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders. ? ?

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Social Psychology, Personality and Interpersonal Processes Study Section (SPIP)
Program Officer
Kozak, Michael J
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Arizona State University-Tempe Campus
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
Zip Code
Timpano, Kiara R; Schmidt, Norman B (2013) The relationship between self-control deficits and hoarding: a multimethod investigation across three samples. J Abnorm Psychol 122:13-25
Neel, Rebecca; Becker, D Vaughn; Neuberg, Steven L et al. (2012) Who Expressed What Emotion? Men Grab Anger, Women Grab Happiness. J Exp Soc Psychol 48:583-686
White, Andrew Edward; Kenrick, Douglas T; Li, Yexin Jessica et al. (2012) When nasty breeds nice: threats of violence amplify agreeableness at national, individual, and situational levels. J Pers Soc Psychol 103:622-34
Becker, D Vaughn; Mortensen, Chad R; Ackerman, Joshua M et al. (2011) Signal detection on the battlefield: priming self-protection vs. revenge-mindedness differentially modulates the detection of enemies and allies. PLoS One 6:e23929
Neuberg, Steven L; Kenrick, Douglas T; Schaller, Mark (2011) Human threat management systems: self-protection and disease avoidance. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 35:1042-51
Kenrick, Douglas T; Griskevicius, Vladas; Neuberg, Steven L et al. (2010) Renovating the Pyramid of Needs: Contemporary Extensions Built Upon Ancient Foundations. Perspect Psychol Sci 5:292-314
Mortensen, Chad R; Becker, D Vaughn; Ackerman, Joshua M et al. (2010) Infection breeds reticence: the effects of disease salience on self-perceptions of personality and behavioral avoidance tendencies. Psychol Sci 21:440-7
Becker, D Vaughn; Anderson, Uriah S; Neuberg, Steven L et al. (2010) More Memory Bang for the Attentional Buck: Self-Protection Goals Enhance Encoding Efficiency for Potentially Threatening Males. Soc Psychol Personal Sci 1:182-189
Maner, Jon K; Kenrick, Douglas T (2010) When Adaptations Go Awry: Functional and Dysfunctional Aspects of Social Anxiety. Soc Issues Policy Rev 4:111-142
Anderson, Uriah S; Perea, Elaine F; Becker, D Vaughn et al. (2010) I only have eyes for you: Ovulation redirects attention (but not memory) to attractive men. J Exp Soc Psychol 46:804-808

Showing the most recent 10 out of 34 publications