Social Job Talk: Anton Gollwitzer, Yale University


Tuesday, November 19, 2019, 12:00pm to 1:15pm


105 William James Hall

Title:  Pattern Deviancy Aversion and its Social Consequences


Though we often fail to realize it, patterns are everywhere around us. And we, as humans, seem to prefer these patterns as compared to irregularities and inconsistencies. I will argue that people overwhelmingly dislike broken patterns – perceived distortions in repeated forms or models – and that such pattern deviancy aversion substantially impacts major social psychological phenomena. Using a multi-faceted approach, I will first show that people’s aversion towards broken patterns is prevalent, early-emerging, and exists cross-culturally. Second, across correlational and experimental studies, I will demonstrate that pattern deviancy aversion in part underlies people's prejudice against social outliers, drives people's adherence to social norms both at the individual and the group level, and even predicts harsher moral judgment. Additionally, I will elucidate that pattern deviancy aversion contributes to the context-dependency of people’s social judgments, and that such aversion may kick-start affective pathways to social judgment. Taken together, these findings suggest that people’s dislike of broken patterns is a fundamental aspect of our social cognition.