Fast Track Report
The ancestor effect: Thinking about our genetic origin enhances intellectual performance
Article first published online: 1 DEC 2010
Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
European Journal of Social Psychology
Volume 41, Issue 1, pages 11–16, February 2011
How to Cite
Fischer, P., Sauer, A., Vogrincic, C. and Weisweiler, S. (2011), The ancestor effect: Thinking about our genetic origin enhances intellectual performance. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 41: 11–16. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.778
- Issue published online: 19 JAN 2011
- Article first published online: 1 DEC 2010
- Manuscript Accepted: 14 SEP 2010
- Manuscript Received: 15 APR 2009
The present research hypothesizes that thinking about one's genetic origin (i.e. ancestors) provides people with a positive psychological resource that increases their intellectual performance. To test this line of reasoning, we manipulated whether participants thought about their ancestors or not (manipulation of ancestor salience), and measured their expected as well as actual intellectual performance in a variety of intelligence tasks. Four studies supported our assumptions: participants show higher expected (Study 1) and actual intellectual performance (Studies 2–4) when they are reminded about their ancestors. We also have initial evidence that this effect may be fuelled by increased levels of perceived control and promotion orientation. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed. It is certainly desirable to be well descended, but the glory belongs to our ancestors. (Plutarch 46–120 AD) Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.