Two motivations for two dimensions of mind

Adam Waytz*, Liane Young

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Effective social interaction requires people to consider the minds of others. The present research suggests that different motivations systematically elicit attention to different components of mind. Four experiments manipulate either motivation for action prediction (effectance motivation) or motivation for affiliation and ask participants to evaluate the minds of outgroups. Experiments 1-2 feature hypothetical outgroups, while Experiment 3 targets Americans' relationship with China and also demonstrates consequences for moral judgment. Experiment 4 targets Americans' relationship with Iran and demonstrates consequences for moral and dispositional attribution toward groups. The findings reveal that effectance motivation relative to affiliation motivation triggers preferential focus toward agency (i.e., capacities for planning, thinking, intending), relative to experience (i.e., capacities for emotion and feeling). These results show that group mind judgments are determined not just by the features of the group but also by the motivations of the perceiver.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-283
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
StatePublished - Nov 2014


  • Affiliation
  • Effectance motivation
  • Group mind
  • Intergroup conflict
  • Theory of mind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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