portrait of dr. radmila prislin

 

Radmila Prislin, Ph.D

Professor/Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs – Resource Management

Department of Psychology
College of Sciences
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Dr.

San Diego, CA 92182-8010

Office Location: MH-3310

Mail Code: 8010
Phone: (619) 594-5166
FAX: (619) 594-7443
E-Mail:
 rprislin@mail.sdsu.edu

 

Research Interests

My research interests are in the areas of social influence and social change, group dynamics in the aftermath of social change, attitudes and persuasion, and the evaluation of public health programs.

Research Keywords: Social Influence, Persuasion, Attitudes, Group Dynamics, Minority Influence, Social Change

Social Influence and Group Dynamics Laboratory

Groups, especially those in the minority, influence others for various reasons. For example, others’ support may be instrumental toward other goals (e.g., getting elected), or it may be a goal in itself (e.g., getting accepted). How do motives that drive social influence affect targets’ reactions to influence. How do successful groups (e.g., minorities that become majorities) react to their success depending on what motivated their efforts to influence others? This research focuses on motivated social influence and group dynamics in the aftermath of successful social influence that restructures numerical positions, power, and status within a group (minority <—> majority, powerless <—> powerful, low status <—> high status).

Selected PublicationsBooksCrano, W.D. & Prislin, R. (2008). Attitudes and Persuasion . New York : Psychology Press.This is an edited book to be published in the Frontiers of Social Psychology series. Frontiers in Social Psychology is a new series of social psychology books, which aims to bring together the latest research in the discipline. The book provides an overview and integration of the diverse perspectives that inform research on attitudes and attitude change.Journal Articles (*student authors)Prislin, R., Shaffer, E.*, & Crowder, M*. (2012). Populism vs. elitism: Social consensus and social status as bases of attitude certainty. Journal of Social Psychology, 152, 1-13. (Abstract 1 | PDF)Shaffer, E*., & Prislin, R. (2011). Conversion vs. tolerance: Minority-focused influence strategies can affect group loyalty. Group Processes and Interpersonal Relations, 14, 755-766. (Abstract 2 | PDF)Prislin, R, Sawicki, V.*, & Williams, D. K. (2011). New majorities’ abuse of power: Effects of perceived control and social support. Group Processes and Interpersonal Relations, 14, 489-504. (Abstract 3 | PDF)Prislin, R. Boyle, S.*, Davenport, C.*, Farley, A.*, Jacobs, E.*, Michalak, J.*, Uehara, K.*, Zandian, F.*, & Xu, Y.* (2011). On being influenced while trying to persuade: The feedback effect of persuasion outcomes to the persuader. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2, 51-58. (Abstract 4 | PDF)Prislin, R., & Filson, J*. (2009). Seeking conversion vs. advocating tolerance in pursuit of social change. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97, 811-822. (Abstract 5 | PDF)Jacobs, E*., Christensen, P.N., & Prislin, R. (2009). Of practicalities and perspective: What is fair in group decision-making? Journal of Social Issues, 65, 383-407. (Abstract 6 | PDF)Christensen, P.N., Prislin, R., & Jacobs, E*. (2009). Motives for social influence after social change: Are new majorities power hungry? Social Influence, 4, 200-215. (Abstract 7 | PDF)Book Chapters

Levine, J. M., & Prislin, R. (in press). Social influence in groups. In J. M. Levine (Ed.), Group Processes. New York: Psychology Press.Prislin, R., & Crano, W.D. (2012). History of social influence research. In A. Kruglanski & W. Stroebe (Eds.), The Handbook of the History of Social Psychology (pp. 321-339). New York, NY: Psychology Press.Prislin, R., Davenport, C., & Michalak, J. (2011). Groups in transition: Differences in the context of social change. In J. Jetten & M. Hornsey (Eds.), Rebels in groups: Dissent, deviance, difference, and defiance (pp. 181-200). Wiley-Blackwell.Prislin, R. (2010). Dynamics of change: Minority influence makes the world go around. In E. Martin & M. Hewstone (Eds.), Minority influence and innovation: Antecedents, processes and consequence (pp. 285-312). New York: Psychology Press.Prislin, R. (2010). Persuasion as social interaction. In J. Forgas, J. Cooper, & W. Crano (Eds.), The psychology of attitude and attitude change (pp. 215-230). New York/London: Psychology Press.Prislin, R., & Christensen, P.N. (2009). On becoming a majority: Former minorities’ reactions to change. In F. Butera & J.M. Levine (Eds.), Coping with minority status: Responses to exclusion and inclusion (pp. 333-353). NY: Cambridge University Press.

Research Opportunities for Undergraduate Students

Each semester, up to 15 undergraduate students join my research laboratory to work on one of several projects that my graduate students and I are running. Undergraduate research assistants are informed about theoretical background and previous research leading to a specific study in which they are involved. Their major task is to assist with data collection. All students are required to write an APA-style final paper summarizing their research experience at the end of their first semester in the laboratory. Students receive detailed feedback on their papers, which serve as an initial training in professional communication. Additionally, students have an opportunity to analyze data and present their findings at professional conferences. Listed below are some of my research assistants’ recent presentations:Crowder, M., Shaffer, E., & Prislin R. (January, 2012). Attitudinal elitism: The effects of social power and social consensus on attitude certainty. Poster presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Conference, San Diego, California.Shaffer, E., Prislin, R., & Marx, D. D. (January, 2012). Retrospective vs. prospective temporal orientation: Temporal framing of social progress affects women’s math performance under stress. Poster presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Conference, San Diego, California.Crowder, M., Galleta, J. A., & Prislin R. (April, 2011). Social support and social satus as bases of attitude certainty. Poster presented at the Western Psychological Association Annual Conference. Los Angeles, California.Shaffer, E., Crowder, M., & Prislin, R. (January, 2011). The impact of social status and social support on attitude correctness: The compensatory effect. Poster presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Conference, San Antonio, TX.Davenport, C., Xu, Y., Uehara, K., Michalak, J., & Prislin, R. (January, 2010). Let’s agree to disagree: Acceptance of dissent in changing social contexts. Poster presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Conference. Las Vegas, Nevada.Michalak, J. , Davenport, C. , Bradley, V. , & Prislin, R. (April, 2009). Supported by my peers; The effects on persuasion. Poster presented at the Western Psychological Association Annual Conference. Portland, Oregon.Xu, Y., Michalak, J., Prislin, R., & Roesch, S. (April, 2009). Perception of intergroup differences: A cross-cultural study. Poster presented at the Western Psychological Association Annual Conference. Portland, Oregon.

Research Abstracts

(Abstract 1)

Populism vs. elitism: Social consensus and social status as bases of attitude certainty

Prislin, R., Shaffer, E. & Crowder, M.

This study examined the effects of social consensus and social status on attitude certainty conceptualized multi-dimensionally as perceived clarity and correctness of one’s attitude. In a mock opinion exchange about a social issue, participants were either supported (high consensus) or opposed (low consensus) by most of the confederates. They were informed that their opinion (high status) or their opponents’ opinion (low status) had the alleged psychological significance indicative of future success. Post-experimental attitude clarity was significantly greater when attitudinal position was associated with high rather than low status. Attitude correctness was interactively affected by social status and social consensus. Supporting the compensatory effect hypothesis, attitude correctness was comparable across the levels of social consensus as long as they were associated with high status, and across the levels of social status as long as they were associated with high social consensus.
(Abstract 2)

Conversion vs. tolerance: Minority-focused influence strategies can affect group loyalty

Shaffer, E., & Prislin, R

Past research has documented that social change has different implications for group identification when it is effected through successful minority’s advocacy for tolerance of diversity vs. conversion of opponents to supporters. Extending these findings, the current study demonstrated that minorities who successfully advocated for tolerance, compared to those who successfully converted opponents, were more loyal to the group. This was evident in their working harder for the group at the personal expense and without expecting anything in return. The effect of influence strategy on group loyalty was mediated by evaluative and cognitive components of group identification. Implications for group dynamics in which active minorities employ different influence strategies and their motivational underpinnings are discussed.
(Abstract 3)

New majorities’ abuse of power: Effects of perceived control and social support

Prislin, R., Sawicki, W., & Williams, D. K.

Two studies examined how new majorities (minorities-turned-majorities) abused power by claiming privileges (in-group favoritism) and disparaging new minorities (out-group hostility). Study 1 found that new majorities low in perceived control showed significantly more in-group favoritism than new majorities high in perceived control and stable majorities. The effect of control on new majorities’ in-group favoritism was mediated by certainty about status stability. Study 2 replicated the effect of control on new majorities’ in-group favoritism. In addition, Study 2 found that new majorities were most likely to engage in out-group hostility when they were low in perceived control and received social support for such discrimination. Our studies suggest that power abuse is most egregious among minorities who rise to majority status without a sense of control in the context where abuse is socially endorsed.
(Abstract 4)

On being influenced while trying to persuade: The feedback effect of persuasion outcomes to the persuader

Prislin, R., Boyle, S., Davenport, C., Farley, A., Jacobs, E., Michalak, J., Uehara, K., Zandian, F., & Xu, Y

In two studies, a persuader attempted to influence multiple targets (confederates) to take his or her position on an important social issue. As the persuader advocated his or her position, targets initially provided positive (negative) feedback that placed the persuader in the majority (minority). Subsequent feedback on the persuader’s continuing advocacy either kept initially established status stable or reversed it (majority minority). Initial status and its stability interacted to affect persuaders’ certainty, which in turn, affected persuaders’ efficacy assessed by coding persuaders’ videotaped nonverbal behavior and strength of advocacy, respectively (Study 1). Coding and an independent audience’s reactions to persuasive “blogs” created by persuaders whose initial status was kept (un)stable replicated the persuasive efficacy findings (Study 2). Thus, persuaders’ ability to produce cogent messages is affected by the social context in which they operate.
(Abstract 5)

Seeking conversion vs. advocating tolerance in pursuit of social change

Prislin, R., & Filson, J.

Two studies examined reactions to social change effected by minorities’ successful increase of tolerance for diversity within a group or conversion of a group to the minority position. Minorities who increased tolerance for diversity, compared with those who converted a group to their own position, identified more strongly with the group (Study 1). Study 2 replicated these findings. Additionally, it showed that majorities disidentified less from the group when they lost their dominant position due to the group’s increased tolerance for diversity than the group’s conversion to the minority position. Thus, minority-effected social change left a group stronger when it increased its tolerance than conversion. Expectations that differences within a group would be regulated through social conflict (vs. conciliation) mediated the effect of the mode of change on group identification. Motives for minorities’ pursuit of social change through tolerance of diversity versus group conversion are discussed.
(Abstract 6)

Of practicalities and perspective: What is fair in group decision-making?

Jacobs, E., Christensen, P.N., & Prislin, R.

Establishing fair procedures to regulate intragroup disagreements should engender cooperation while inhibiting conflict. Yet what is a “fair” procedure might vary for members of different factions. To understand perceptions of fairness in group decision-making, the present research developed and utilized the Fair Group Procedures Scale (FGPS). Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses revealed a four-factor structure along two dimensions: the means of distributing decision-making power (proportionality to equality) and the normative value of the approach (desirable to undesirable). Data suggest that deeming a particular decision-making procedure “fair” is predicted by one’s majority/minority position within a group. Furthermore, experimental data suggest that social change (i.e., reversals of majority/minority positions) reduces the discrepancies between factions. Results support the socially constructed nature of fairness its potential role in intragroup conflict.
(Abstract 7)

Motives for social influence after social change: Are new majorities power hungry?

Christensen, P.N., Prislin, R., & Jacobs, E.

Although much research has investigated different motives for accepting social influence, few studies have examined motives for exerting social influence to achieve the majority position. Among several possible motives for exerting influence, the present research examined the instrumentality motive: seeking majority agreement so that one has more control over group outcomes. Participants attempted to influence five confederates to agree with his or her positions in a mock political campaign. Feedback from the confederates and experimenter manipulated each participant’s faction size (majority vs. minority), faction stability (stable vs. reversed positions), and the power of the majority faction. Analyses confirmed that instrumental motives for seeking majority agreement were predicted by the interaction of these three variables. When groups underwent a reversal in factional size, powerful new majorities reported stronger instrumental motivation than powerless new minorities. These differences did not occur for stable majorities versus stable minorities, or when power was not associated with the majority position. The different motivations of new majorities and new minorities may make such groups ripe for conflict after social change.