Stigma-Based Rejection and the Detection of Signs of Acceptance
© 2015, The Author(s) 2015. After people experience social rejection, one tactic to restore a sense of belonging is to selectively attend to and readily perceive cues that connote acceptance. The multimotive model of responses to rejection suggests that contextual features of the rejection are important determinants of how people are motivated to respond. According to this model, when rejection is construed as pervasive and chronic, people will be less likely to adopt strategies that promote belonging. Across two studies, we found that chronic rejection—in the context of stigmatization—predicted a slower response time to smiling faces and less recognition of affiliation-related words as compared to a nonstigmatized control group. These results suggest that, unlike more transitory forms of rejection, stigmatization leads to slower detection of signs of acceptance. These responses may hinder belonging repair and thus have important negative implications for health and well-being.
Richman, LS; Martin, J; Guadagno, J
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