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Social Interaction: Motives and Threats

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Titel Social Interaction: Motives and Threats
Looptijd 01 / 2008 - 12 / 2012
Status Afgesloten
URL http://www.tilburguniversity.nl/faculties/humanities/cc2/projects/simat.html
Onderzoeknummer OND1332572
Leverancier gegevens Website UvT

Samenvatting (EN)

The studies conducted within this project focus on people s motives in social interaction and on how they respond to different forms of threat in social interaction. They are based on the assumption that human beings are deeply motivated to form stable, lasting connections with other people (e.g., Baumeister & Leary, 1995) and respond strongly to threats to these needs. The studies dealing with people s motives in social interactions focus on agreeableness and on the motivational processes involved in being more or less agreeable. Generally, it is assumed that people are agreeable out of a concern for others. It is also possible, however, that people are agreeable out of a concern for self (e.g., fear of rejection, fear of negative evaluation). In this regard, a distinction can also be made between approach and avoidance social motives. So far, however, these different motives have not been assessed in relation to agreeableness. The studies in this subproject will explore whether and how self and other, and approach and avoidance social motives are linked to agreeableness and how they contribute to the course and the quality of social interactions. The studies exploring people s responses to threats in social interaction broadly focus on two different types of threats. A first line of research assesses how people deal with threats to their inclusionary status. Laboratory studies show that being ostracized (i.e., ignored, excluded or rejected), even if it is for only a short period of time, is a painful experience (Eisenberger, Lieberman, & Williams, 2003). One might assume that ostracized people would show adaptive responses of changing themselves so as to become more socially attractive. The opposite is often found, however. Rejected people become more aggressive or less prosocial toward others (e.g., Twenge et al., 2001; Twenge et al., 2007). Nevertheless, research also shows that individuals differ in how they react to threats to their inclusion status. The overall purpose of subproject is to gain more insight into individual and group-based differences in people s responses to being ostracized. A second line of research focuses on different types of ethnic threats in social interaction. It is generally believed that interethnic contact is more anxiety producing and therefore less rewarding than intraethnic contact (e.g. Stephan & Stephan, 1985). People often feel threatened in interethnic encounters, in particular when they believe that the out-group poses a threat to the in-group in terms of its goals, motives, or sensitivities. So far, however, little has been done to explore how people respond to ethnic differences in everyday social interactions. Moreover, little has been done to explore the different consequences of different types of interethnic threat (e.g., social threat, territorial threat, symbolic threat, economic threat) during interethnic encounters. The aim of this subproject is to examine ethnic minority and majority members responses to everyday social interactions with ethnic in-group and out-group members on the one hand, and to assess whether different types of experimentally induced forms of interethnic threat lead to different emotional and behavioral responses on the other.

Betrokken organisaties

Betrokken personen

Projectleider Dr. J. Schaafsma

Bovenliggende onderzoeksactiviteit(en)


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