Social Psychology Network

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Michael J. A. Wohl

Michael J. A. Wohl

Broadly, people who work in my "Betterment Labs" focus their attention on one of two lines of research:

1. Conflict Resolution: In this line of research, we examine the causes and consequences of harmdoing at both the interpersonal (one person transgressing against another) and intergroup level (historical and contemporary harm experienced by members of one group at the hands of another group). Of particular concern is the emotional reaction that stems from harming or being harmed (e.g., angst, guilt) and their effects on relations with others. For example, we have shown that collective angst (i.e., concern for the future viability of own’s group) is as a strong motivator of group-based protective behaviour. This behaviour can either be constructive (e.g., donating time and money to your group) or destructive (e.g., support for aggression toward other groups). Ultimately, this research is aimed at advancing peace and reconciliation. As such, we also focus attention on the apology-forgiveness link and ways to make this link stronger.

2. Gambling and Overcoming Barriers to Change: In this line of research, we examine factors that lead to excessive play (e.g., erroneous cognitions, craving) and means to increase responsible gambling (e.g., setting a limit on play). Recently, attention has been paid to the potential impact social casino gaming (i.e., free-to-play games on social network sites) and loyalty program membership can have on (responsible) gambling behaviour. We also conduct a great deal of research on how to help people who live with addiction overcome barriers to behavioural change. Primarily, this work focuses on the utility of nostalgic reverie for the pre-addicted self as a motivator for change.

Primary Interests:

  • Aggression, Conflict, Peace
  • Applied Social Psychology
  • Group Processes
  • Intergroup Relations
  • Interpersonal Processes
  • Political Psychology
  • Prejudice and Stereotyping

Research Group or Laboratory:

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Journal Articles:

  • Wohl, M. J. A., & Branscombe, N. R. (2008). Remembering historical victimization: Collective guilt for current ingroup transgressions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94, 988-1006.
  • Wohl, M. J. A., & McLaughlin, K. L. (2014). Self-forgiveness: The good, the bad, and the ugly. Social Psychology and Personality Compass, 8, 422-435. doi:10.1111/spc3.12119
  • Hollingshead, S. J., Kim, H. S., Wohl, M. J. A., & Derevensky, J. (2016). The social casino gaming- gambling link: Motivation for playing social casino games determines whether self-reported gambling increases or decreases among disordered gamblers. Journal of Gambling Issues, 33, 52-67. dio:10.4309/jgi.2016.33.4
  • Caouette, J., Wohl, M. J. A., & Peetz, J. (2012). The future weighs heavier than the past: Collective guilt, perceived control and the influence of time. European Journal of Social Psychology, 42, 363-371. doi:10.1002/ejsp.185
  • Kim, H. S., & Wohl, M. J. A. (2015). The bright side of feeling disconnected with the past self: Self-discontinuity (via nostalgia) increases readiness to change unhealthy behaviors. Social Psychology and Personality Psychology Science, 6, 229-237. doi:10.1177/1948550614549482
  • Tabri, N., Wohl, M. J. A., & Caouette, J. (in press). We will be harmed, it will be severe, and we can’t prevent it: Threat appraisals predict collective angst (and its consequences). European Journal of Social Psychology.
  • Young, M. M., & Wohl, M. J. A. (2009). The gambling craving scale: Psychometric validation and behavioral implications. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 23, 512-522.
  • Wohl, M. J. A., Cohen-Chen, S., Halperin, E., Caouette, J., Hayes, N., & Hornsey, M. J. (2015). Belief in the malleability of groups strengthens the collective apology-forgiveness link. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41, 714–725. doi:10.1177/0146167215576721
  • Wohl, M. J. A., Hornsey, M. J., & Philpot, C. R. (2011). A critical review of official public apologies: Aims, pitfalls, and a staircase model of effectiveness. Social Issues and Policy Review, 5, 70-100. doi:10.1111/j.1751-2409.2011.01026.x.
  • Wohl, M. J. A., Giguère, B., Branscombe, N. R., & McVicar, D. N. (2011). One day we might be no more: Collective angst and protective action from potential distinctiveness loss. European Journal of Social Psychology, 41, 289–300.
  • Wohl, M. J. A., Christie, K. L., Matheson, K., & Anisman, H. (2010). Animation-based education as a gambling prevention tool: Correcting erroneous cognitions and reducing the frequency of exceeding limits among slots players. Journal of Gambling Studies, 26, 469–486.
  • Wohl, M.J.A., Branscombe, N.R., & Reysen, S. (2010). Perceiving your group’s future to be in jeopardy: Extinction threat induces collective angst and the desire to strengthen the ingroup. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 898-910.
  • Wohl, M. J. A., & Branscombe, N. R. (2005). Forgiveness and collective guilt assignment to historical perpetrator groups depend on level of social category inclusiveness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88, 288-303.
  • Wohl, M. J. A., Porat, R., & Halperin, E. (2016). Unfreezing cognitions during an intractable conflict: Does an external incentive for negotiating peace and (low levels of) collective angst increase information seeking? British Journal of Social Psychology, 55, 65-87. doi:10.1111/bjso.12121

Courses Taught:

  • Diversity in Psychological Worldviews
  • Health Psychology
  • Political Psychology
  • Social Psychology

Michael J. A. Wohl
Department of Psychology
Carleton University
1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6
Canada

  • Phone: (613) 520-2600, ext. 2908
  • Fax: (613) 520-3667

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