Attitudinal ambivalence

Having mixed thoughts and/or feelings is an intricate part of human existence. From daily temptations such as fast food, alcohol and cigarettes to societal issues such as abortion, nuclear energy and the death penalty; we are continuously confronted with things that elicit both positive and negative associations in ourselves. People have to come to terms with having ambivalent attitudes and research at the Uncertainty Lab indicates that how they do this has affective, cognitive and behavioral consequences. We investigate ambivalence using a wide range of approaches, ranging from psychophysiological measures and brain imaging techniques to survey research. This broad approach helps us to gain profound insight into the consequences of ambivalent attitudes for what people feel, think and do.

Key publications:

van Harreveld, F., Rutjens, B.T., Rotteveel, M., Nordgren, L.F., & van der Pligt, J. (2009).  Ambivalence and decisional conflict as a cause of psychological discomfort: Feeling tense before jumping off the fence. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 167-173.

van Harreveld, F., van der Pligt, J., & De Liver, Y. (2009). The agony of ambivalence and ways to resolve it: Introducing the MAID model. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 13(1), 45-61.

Schneider, I.K., Eerland, A., van Harreveld, F., Rotteveel, M., van der Pligt, J., van der Stoep, N., & Zwaan, R.A. (2013). One way and the other: The bi-directional relationship between ambivalence and body movement. Psychological Science, 24, 319-325.

Nohlen, H., van Harreveld, F., Rotteveel, M., & Lelieveld, G., & Crone, E.A. (2014). Evaluating ambivalence: Social-cognitive and affective brain regions associated with ambivalent decision-making. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 9, 924-931.

van Harreveld, F., Rutjens, B. T., Schneider, I. K., Nohlen, H. U., & Keskinis, K. (2014). In doubt and disorderly: Ambivalence promotes compensatory perceptions of order.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143, 1666-1676.

van Harreveld, F., Nohlen, H. U., & Schneider, I. K. (2015). The ABC of Ambivalence: Affective, Behavioral and Cognitive consequences of attitudinal conflict. In M.P. Zanna & J. Olson (Eds.). Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (Vol 52). New York: Academic Press.

Schneider, I. K., van Harreveld, F., Schwarz, N., & Koole, S. (2015). The path of ambivalence: Tracing the pull of opposing evaluations using mouse trajectories. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 996.

Nohlen, H. U., van Harreveld, F., Rotteveel, M., & Larsen, J. T. On the affective nature of attitudinal ambivalence: A facial EMG study on the role of choice and evaluative context in shaping affective responses to ambivalence. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, in press.

Schneider, I. K., Veenstra, L., van Harreveld, F., Schwarz, & N., Koole, S. Let’s not be Indifferent about neutrality: Neutral ratings in the IAPS mask mixed affective responses. Emotion, in press.