Searching for acceptance: Prejudice expectations direct attention towards social acceptance cues when under a promotion focus

Tomas Stahl*, Colette van Laar, Naomi Ellemers, Belle Derks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Prejudice expectations and other interpersonal rejection concerns have been found to direct attention towards social evaluative information. In some studies, rejection concerns have been found to direct attention towards social acceptance cues, whereas other studies have found an attention bias towards social rejection cues. In the present article we argue that these attention biases constitute promotion- (vs. prevention-) oriented strategies to deal with concerns about how one is evaluated. In support of this notion, a first study demonstrated that prejudice expectations direct attention towards male faces signaling happiness (vs. contempt) among women with a chronic promotion focus, but not among women with a chronic prevention focus. A second study demonstrated that the effect generalizes to subliminally presented acceptance-related (vs. nonsocial, sexist) words, and when a promotion (vs. prevention) focus had been experimentally induced. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-538
Number of pages16
JournalGroup Processes and Intergroup Relations
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • prejudice expectations
  • selective attention
  • regulatory focus
  • REGULATORY FOCUS
  • REJECTION SENSITIVITY
  • INTERRACIAL INTERACTIONS
  • STIGMA CONSCIOUSNESS
  • SELF-ESTEEM
  • DISCRIMINATION
  • PREVENTION
  • STEREOTYPES
  • OSTRACISM
  • BELONG

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