Sarah Gavac

Research overview:

I have two main foci in my work: normative tightness and morality. Normative tightness is the degree social norms are pervasive, clearly defined, and reliably imposed. I’m particularly interested in social control as a means through which social norms are imposed. Social control is a behavioral reaction expressing disapproval for someone’s counter normative behavior or attitude. The behaviors I focus on violate either broad social norms or more specific norms related to morality.

Current Research Questions:

  • How does threat influence normative tightness and perceptions of morality?
  • Are behaviors that are perceived as more immoral more likely to incite social control?
  • How does the framing of norm transgressions influence perceptions of morality and the likelihood of behavioral reactions?
  • For all of the above questions, there is an additional component: does political affiliation moderate any of these effects?

Publications:

Gavac, S., Murrar, S., & Brauer, M. (2017). Group perception and social norms. In R. Summers (Ed.), Social Psychology: How Other People Influence Our Thoughts and Actions. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. [pdf]

Murrar, S., Gavac, S., & Brauer, M. (2017). Reducing prejudice. In R. Summers (Ed.), Social Psychology: How Other People Influence Our Thoughts and Actions. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. [pdf]

 

Presentations:

Gavac, S. & Brauer, M. (2017, January) Making the moral foundations concrete: The effect of political affiliation on people’s perceived immorality of and reactions to acts that violate one of the five moral foundations. Poster presented at the 18th annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, San Antonio, TX. [pdf]

Gavac, S. & Brauer, M. (2016, January) The expression of moral foundations by U.S. senators: There’s more to morality than just party affiliation. Poster presented at the 17th annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, San Diego, CA. [pdf]

Gavac, S. & Brauer, M. (2015, May) The expression of moral foundations by U.S. senators: There’s more to morality than just party affiliation. Poster presented at the 27th Association for Psychological Science Annual Convention, New York, NY. [pdf]

Gavac, S. & Brauer, M. (2015, February) Social norms and tolerance of deviance: The causal effect of threat on the normative tightness of groups. Poster presented at the 16th annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Long Beach, CA.  [pdf]