New Building Blocks of Community

Updated: Oct 21, 2019

"A field experiment: Balancing social imbalance"

New Building Blocks of Community


Many people have experienced family vulnerability. We either grew up in a broken family struggling to find our way through toxic thoughts, counter-toxic thoughts, toxic words, counter-toxic words, toxic actions, counter-toxic actions, or else we experience people in the disconnected places of this world glorifying unsustainable family experiences, negative psychology, and both of their deconstructive effects like school shootings. We know what it feels like waiting for help that never comes. But new building blocks of community are changing all that. They're more fitting pieces for next-generation safety. We all grew up in one of two categories. Either with a nuclear family which was intact. Or else with a nuclear family that was disconnected for whatever reason. Whether it was from divorce, parents who were never married, or some other unfortunate circumstance. Field experiment reveal that reducing interpersonal vulnerability when promoting family sustainability and childhood positive psychology can be new building blocks of community.

Why do people not support family sustainability?

The current research looks at 3 potential stereotypes driving hostile attitudes toward family sustainability and positive psychology: incompetence, lack of an equal corresponding system, and inflexibility. We tested the relative efficacy of reducing concerns related to each of the stereotypes in a field experiment in which pioneers who sometimes seemed odd interacted in social settings. As expected, ratings from 3 perspectives (pioneers, observers, and unwitting participants) converged to show that family sustainability pioneers and positive psychology pioneers received more interpersonal hostility than did divorce practitioners and classical psychology practitioners. Evidence-based research suggests that a counter-balancing system operating in parallel with classical systems will be our only our hope for preventing unsustainable families and negative psychology stereotypic information. However, when participants received (vs. did not receive) counterstereotypic information about certain system label (divorce, mental illness, medical diagnosis) stereotypes, participants displayed significantly less interpersonal hostility towards family sustainability and positive psychology. Research will inform organizational divorce agents and organizational psychology agents on how to address parallel stereotypes and hostility towards counter-balancing family sustainability agents and positive psychology agents.

Interpersonal Vulnerability

Empirical study demonstrates that family sustainability advocates and childhood positive psychology reports both experience resistance when open and trying to navigate through society (visit any Clean Law session on Family Law 2.0 with child safety files). For example, research shows that 60% of news reports are negative in nature. And 99.9% of legal reports are negative while .1% are positive (Pew Research Center, 2013). But these are old building blocks of community. Empirical research reveals that family sustainability and childhood positive psychology advocates experience greater interpersonal hostility when they engage in the community, speak in front of community members, visit public institutions like schools, and receive recommendations than divorce and childhood negative psychology advocates. The stigma of family sustainability and positive childhood psychology are unique in that it is temporal in nature (i.e., lasts a moment of time). Given that almost all vulnerable people will undergo socially adjusting experiences it is imperative to study why such bias exists and what can be done to reduce interpersonal negativity toward family sustainability and childhood positive psychology.

A recent field study found that family sustainability and childhood positive psychology advocates experience more interpersonal negativity (i.e., rudeness, hostility, interpersonal contention) than their divorce and negative psychology counterparts. Although other studies like Hebl et al. (2007) demonstrate that pregnant women experience interpersonal discrimination in the hiring process, this study too failed to find mechanisms for redressing such barriers. Thus, the purpose of the current research is to extend the Hebl et al. (2007) study and others by both identifying the stereotypes that may drive interpersonal vulnerability and also testing whether the provision of counterstereotypic information may combat interpersonal hostility towards such vulnerabilities. By comparing the old and new building blocks of community, we provide novel practical guidance regarding effective ways to avoid social vulnerabilites.

Countersteroetypic Information to Reduce Vulnerability

Previous research suggests that when perceivers have access to information about possibly vulnerable targets, then they are less likely to display bias toward such individuals (Fiske & Neuberg, 1990). Additionally, there is evidence that certain types of information may be more beneficial than others. Specifically, information that directly contradicts relevant stereotypes may be the most effective approach (Blair & Banaji, 1996; Rudman, Glick, & Phelan, 2008). For example, several research studies found that participants exposed to counterstereotypic reports during a training session were less likely to express hostile behaviors toward targets compared to participants in a control condition (Kawakami, Dovidio, Moll, Hermsen, & Russin, 2000). Together, these studies demonstrate that the provision of counterstereotypic information is effective, perhaps because participants receive alternative and supplemental information on which to evaluate potentially targets. Thus, these results may serve as a basis for developing social interventions for reducing interpersonal vulnerability.

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Pew Research Center. (2013, September 06). Negative vs. Positive. Retrieved August 21, 2019, from vs-positive

Rudman, L. A., Glick, P., & Phelan, J. E. (2008). From the laboratory to the bench: Gender stereotyping research in the courtroom. In E.Borgida & Fiske.S T (Eds.), Beyond common sense: Psychological science in the courtroom (pp. 83–101). Malden, MA: Blackwell.

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