Social anxiety and pro-social behavior following varying degrees of rejection: Piloting a new experimental paradigm
SourceFrontiers in Psychology, 10, (2019), article 1325
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OGG
SW OZ BSI KLP
Frontiers in Psychology
SubjectDevelopmental Psychopathology; Experimental Psychopathology and Treatment
In general, human beings tend to try and reconnect after they have been socially rejected. It is not clear, however, which role the number of rejecters and rejection sensitivity plays. In addition, it is unclear whether the supposed pro-social behaviors are aimed at the rejecters or at innocent individuals. By means of a new paradigm, the present pilot study investigated compensatory behavior of individuals with varying degrees of social anxiety, following varying degrees of rejection. In addition, it was explored toward whom their behavior was directed: rejecters or innocent individuals. Female students (N = 34) were assessed on their degree of social anxiety and then, based on a personal profile they wrote, they were either rejected by 1, 2, or 3 fictional other participants or completely accepted. Afterward, the participants had to explicitly rate the creativity of drawings made by the others and, in a pro-social reward paradigm, awarded the other participants money based on their creativity rating. In addition, implicit social approach tendencies toward photos of rejecters, acceptors, or innocent individuals were assessed by means of an approach-avoidance task. The results confirmed that people with a low degree of social anxiety respond to rejection in a compensatory pro-social manner explicitly as well as implicitly, but that people with a high degree of social anxiety fail to do so. With regard to sources of rejection, only implicit approach-avoidance tendencies reflected a distinction between rejecters and innocent individuals. Theoretical implications are discussed in the light of the small sample size and other limitations.
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