Differential preference for companionship under threat


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Abstract

It was hypothesized that Ss under stress are motivated: (a) to evaluate the appropriateness of their emotional behavior, (b) to clarify the ambiguity of the external stimulus situation, (c) to prefer a companion who is expected not to rearouse fear or to exert normative pressures. In a 2 X 2 experimental design, ambiguity was induced by varying the probability that Ss would be subjected to painful shocks. They had the opportunity to talk or not to talk when choosing to wait together. Information was given about the emotional state of the other Ss present. 60 female Ss volunteered. The predictions were confirmed: the greater ambiguity and the opportunity to talk produced a significantly greater tendency to affiliate. All Ss showed the least preference for a highly fearful person. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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