Article

Embodied Terror Management: Interpersonal Touch Alleviates Existential Concerns Among Individuals With Low Self-Esteem

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Abstract

Individuals with low (rather than high) self-esteem often struggle with existential concerns. In the present research, we examined whether these existential concerns may be alleviated by seemingly trivial experiences of both real and simulated interpersonal touch. A brief touch on the shoulder by a female experimenter led individuals with low self-esteem to experience less death anxiety (Study 1) and more social connectedness after a death reminder (Study 2). Reminding individuals with low self-esteem of death increased their desire for touch, as indicated by higher value estimates of a teddy bear, a toy animal that simulates interpersonal touch (Study 3). Finally, holding a teddy bear (vs. a cardboard box) led individuals with low self-esteem to respond to a death reminder with less defensive ethnocentrism (Study 4). Individuals with high self-esteem were unaffected by touch (Studies 1-4). These findings highlight the existential significance of embodied touch experiences, particularly for individuals with low self-esteem.

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... For instance, after an incidental pat on the back from a female experimenter, participants made riskier financial decisions, presumably due to an increased sense of security (Levav & Argo, 2010). Furthermore, it was shown that interpersonal touch can serve as a source of existential security, especially for people with low self-esteem: When mortality was made salient less death anxiety and more social connectedness was experienced after interpersonal touch (Koole, Sin, & Schneider, 2014). Finally, even touching soft objects, such as a teddy bear, made adults feel more positive and secure resulting in more prosocial behavior after social exclusion (Tai, Zheng, & Narayanan, 2011). ...
... Despite the fact that touch is fundamental for our knowledge and understanding of the world, it remains an under-researched topic in psychology (Gallace & Spence, 2010;Hertenstein et al., 2006). The current results demonstrate however the importance of touch in dealing with uncertainty and add to recent findings suggesting that even fleeting forms of touch may have a powerful impact on our emotional and social functioning (Koole et al., 2014;Tai et al., 2011). Extending the literature, our studies show that, especially because touch as a sensory modality is present at all times, holding, touching, or feeling something soft could be used as a highly efficient and effective tool to cope with and reduce uncertainty. ...
... As intolerance of uncertainty plays a key role in the onset and maintenance of worry, softness might be a tool to prevent people from experiencing excessive worry (Buhr & Dugas, 2002;Carleton, Norton, & Asmundson, 2007). As such, the results point to the possibility that holding something soft could be used as a cheap intervention in clinical settings (see also Koole et al., 2014). The fleetingness of the effect as compared to other interventions should however be addressed in future research. ...
Article
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Uncertainty is an inescapable element of human life. But how do people deal with it? To date, most research has focused on the cognitive strategies people adopt to do so. In four experiments we examine, whether people may also use an alternative experiential route to cope with uncertainty. We demonstrate that (1) when faced with uncertainty, people seek soft haptic sensations (Experiments 1 and 2) and (2) that doing so is functional (Experiments 3 and 4). More specifically, we show that people shift their preference to objects with soft (i.e., soft-grip pen, soft candy) rather than hard properties (i.e., hard-grip pen, hard candy) when feeling uncertain. Furthermore, we show that holding something soft (i.e., a soft-grip pen, a soft cloth) as compared to something hard (i.e., a hard-grip pen, a hard cloth) reduces uncertainty on a subsequent ambiguous task and helps to shield against uncertainty in daily life by increasing tolerance towards uncertainty. Overall, this research reveals that humans may use their oldest and most fundamental sense – touch – as a basic experiential device to cope with uncertainty.
... Holding a soft, inanimate object also has positive effects. The negative effects of social exclusion and thinking about one's death were reduced for individuals who held a teddy bear (Koole, Sin, & Schneider, 2013;Tai, Zheng, & Narayanan, 2011). These beneficial outcomes of receiving affectionate touch from a non-close other may be explained, in part, by a neurobiological pathway that buffers stress and promotes well-being. ...
... Taken together, the extant literature affirms a link between affectionate touch and psychological well-being, but again, evidence for a causal link must be accumulated in future research. Experimental evidence has demonstrated that receiving affectionate touch from a stranger promotes psychological well-being (i.e., reduces death anxiety) for individuals with low self-esteem (Koole et al., 2013). Also, infants assigned to receive affectionate touch from their caregivers display less psychological distress than infants who do not receive touch (Stack & Muir, 1992). ...
Article
Throughout the life span, individuals engage in affectionate touch with close others. Touch receipt promotes well-being in infancy, but the impacts of touch in adult close relationships have been largely unexplored. In this article, we propose that affectionate touch receipt promotes relational, psychological, and physical well-being in adulthood, and we present a theoretical mechanistic model to explain why affectionate touch may promote these outcomes. The model includes pathways through which touch could affect well-being by reducing stress and by promoting well-being independent of stress. Specifically, two immediate outcomes of affectionate touch receipt—relational-cognitive changes and neurobiological changes—are described as important mechanisms underlying the effects of affectionate touch on well-being. We also review and evaluate the existing research linking affectionate touch to well-being in adulthood and propose an agenda to advance research in this area. This theoretical perspective provides a foundation for future work on touch in adult close relationships.
... Experimental research in humans concurs with these observations (Jakubiak & Feeney, 2016a). When college students were touched on the shoulder by an experimenter, they reported more feelings of security and were more willing to take risks (Levav & Argo, 2010; also see Jakubiak & Feeney, 2016b;Koole, Sin, & Schneider, 2013). When married women held hands with their husbands, they showed a reduced neural response to threat, especially if their marriage was of high quality (Coan, Schaefer, & Davidson, 2006). ...
... Our reasoning concurs with previous findings. First, touch alleviates anxiety in individuals with low self-esteem but not in those with high self-esteem (Koole et al., 2013). Second, overprotective parenting-such as being protective of children, even when they are not anxious-predicts higher social anxiety levels in children over time (Lieb et al., 2000;Woord, McLeod, Sigman, Hwang, & Chu, 2003). ...
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The sense of touch develops in utero and enables parent-child communication from the earliest moments of life. Research shows that parental touch (e.g., licking and grooming in rats, skin-to-skin care in humans) has organizing effects on the offspring's stress system. Little is known, however, about the psychological effects of parental touch. Building on findings from ethology and psychology, we propose that parental touch-even as subtle as a touch on the shoulder-tells children that their environment is safe for exploration, thus reducing their social vigilance. We tested this hypothesis in late childhood (ages 8-10) and early adolescence (ages 11-14) in 138 parent-child dyads. Parents were randomly assigned to touch or not touch their child briefly and gently on the shoulder, right below the deltoid. Parental touch lowered children's implicit attention to social threat. While parental touch lowered trust among socially non-anxious children, it raised trust among those who needed it the most: socially anxious children. The effects were observed only in late childhood, suggesting that parental touch loses its safety-signaling meaning upon the transition to adolescence. Our findings underscore the power of parental touch in childhood, especially for children who suffer from social anxiety.
... However, we follow Pierce et al. (1996) to adopt a broader concept of workplace romance that captures workplace romance experiences of the participants, the level of commitment and the likely future of the romantic relationship. The general literature on romance relationship literature proposes that committed romantic relationships positively affect the participants' behavior (Diamond et al., 1999;Diamond and Dube, 2002;Debrot et al., 2013;Koole et al., 2014). For example, Debrot et al. (2013) show that romantic relationship positively affects the romance participants' behavior and also life satisfaction. ...
... For instance, research has shown that affectionate touch from the romance partner relieves stress and instills optimism (Ditzen et al., 2007). Affectionate touch from the romance partner manifests in the form of relaxation and good feeling, suppression of negative feelings and improved relationship quality (Burleson et al., 2007;Debrot et al., 2013;Koole et al., 2014). Floyd et al. (2009) showed that a kiss from the romantic partner reduces psychological health issues and perceived stress in life. ...
Article
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In this study, first we examined the effect of workplace romance on employee job performance, and the mediatory role of psychological wellbeing in the relationship between workplace romance and employee performance. Then we tested the moderating effects of gender and workplace romance type – lateral or hierarchical – on the indirect effect of workplace romance on employee performance. Based on a survey of 311 doctors from five government teaching hospitals in Pakistan, we used structural equation modeling and bootstrapping to test these relationships. This study reveals that psychological wellbeing significantly fully mediates the positive relationship between workplace romance and job performance. Moreover, multi-group analysis shows that gender moderates the indirect effect of workplace romance on employee performance, where the indirect effect of workplace romance on employee performance is stronger for male participants. This study carries important implications, particularly for the policy makers and managers of healthcare sector organizations.
... Another way to ensure being helped in case of sickness is interpersonal bonding, and one particularly effective means for social bonding may be to be a friend in need to a sufferer. Hence, mortality salience increases the motivation to repair troubled relationships (Anglin 2014), promotes striving for affiliation (Wisman and Koole 2003), raises the motivation to build and maintain close relationships (Mikulincer et al. 2003), and triggers a desire for personal touch (Koole et al. 2014). An inflammatory challenge increases feelings of loneliness (Eisenberger et al. 2010). ...
... Similarly, close relationships buffer mortality salience and its effects (Mikulincer et al. 2003). Signals of personal commitment from others, such as personal touch, alleviate death anxiety (Koole et al. 2014), perceived regard reduces the accessibility of death thoughts (Cox and Arndt 2012), and salience of thoughts about romantic commitment buffers the effects of mortality salience (Florian et al. 2002). In contrast, social exclusion makes death thoughts more accessible (Steele et al. 2015). ...
Article
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Sickness was a crucial adaptive problem in the course of evolution, and one solution, particularly in humans, is support and care from in-group members. The social interaction between sufferers and (potential) helpers was a recurrent social situation throughout human evolution and its outcome was crucial for survival. Thus, respective selection pressures may have yielded specific behavioral adaptations for both the sufferer and the helper role. According to the present paper, it is important for the sufferer to communicate the sick state convincingly, while it is important for the helper to communicate the act of helping convincingly. Signaling strategies for the efficient pursuit of the respective goals are proposed, then the proposed strategies are substantiated with previous empirical evidence and theory. Many heterogeneous medical phenomena, such as the placebo effect, social modulation of pain, somatization, and overtreatment, are integrated in the argument. Thereby, the present paper contributes to a conceptual foundation for the evolutionary study of therapeutic encounters and the patient-practitioner relationship and thus may allow Darwinian medicine to study not only disease but also healing.
... Inspired by previous findings (cf. Koole et al., 2014), in the present study, we investigated the hypothesis that typical worldview defense reactions after mortality salience are attenuated among people under OT. Overall, the results did not provide strong support for this idea. ...
... In future research, additional aspects could be addressed. It might be worth including critical traits as possible moderators, for example self-esteem or dispositional attachment orientations as the works by Koole et al. (2014) and Bartz et al. (2010) suggest. A modification of the measurements' order might also be reasonable. ...
Article
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Research on terror management theory found evidence for the idea that attachment and interpersonal touch attenuate existential concerns and worldview defense reactions after mortality salience. Oxytocin, on the other hand, is known for stimulating the attachment system. Therefore, we hypothesized that worldview defense reactions after mortality salience would be attenuated under oxytocin. In the present study, participants administered oxytocin or placebo and performed a typical terror management paradigm: After visualizing death or a control topic, worldview defense reactions were assessed by evaluating the authors of a pro- and an anti-German essay. Overall, the results did not provide strong support for the hypothesis. There was no effect of mortality salience on the overall worldview defense measure and, importantly, no moderation by oxytocin. However, with regard to the sympathy dimension, the expected pattern was revealed: The pro- and anti-German authors were evaluated as more balanced under oxytocin after mortality salience, whereas this was not the case under placebo. This was due to more positive evaluations of the anti-German author in the oxytocin group. Although this specific result was not expected a priori, sympathy was the only trait among all worldview defense variables that referred to a social level. Therefore, it seems possible that oxytocin is able to buffer existential concerns, but only if they are socially relevant.
... To examine the effects of simulated interpersonal touch on error processing, we asked participants to hold a teddy bear on their lap during one block of a Go/No-Go task. A teddy bear is a toy animal that simulates the effects of interpersonal touch [24,25]. During a control block, participants held a cardboard box, which is not associated with interpersonal touch. ...
... Thus, cute objects such as teddy bears may elicit careful behavior. Other studies suggest that it is the softness of the teddy bear that helps buffer people against the effects of social exclusion [24] and mortality salience [23]. Because we did not measure perceived qualities of the teddy bear (e.g., cuteness, softness, anthropomorphism), more research is needed to determine whether they played a role. ...
Article
The error-related negativity (ERN or Ne) is a negative event-related brain potential that peaks about 20 to 100ms after people perform an incorrect response in choice reaction time tasks. Prior research has shown that the ERN may be enhanced by situational and dispositional factors that promote intrinsic motivation. Building on and extending this work the authors hypothesized that simulated interpersonal touch may increase task engagement and thereby increase ERN amplitude. To test this notion, 20 participants performed a Go/No-Go task while holding a teddy bear or a same-sized cardboard box. As expected, the ERN was significantly larger when participants held a teddy bear rather than a cardboard box. This effect was most pronounced for people high (rather than low) in trait intrinsic motivation, who may depend more on intrinsically motivating task cues to maintain task engagement. These findings highlight the potential benefits of simulated interpersonal touch in stimulating attention to errors, especially among people who are intrinsically motivated.
... The right touch, though, can have a soothing and calming effect (Debrot, Schoebi, Perrez, & Horn, 2013), and act as a reminder of bodily awareness, increasing connection between thoughts and reality (Lindgren, Jacobsson, & La¨ma˚s, 2014). It has also been shown that when reminded of death and mortality, the desire for touch is increased (Koole, Sin, & Schneider, 2013). Touch can actually communicate emotion in a manner similar to facial expressions (Papathanassoglou & Mpouzika, 2012), which would support Franks (2001) suggestion that touch is uniquely affective. ...
Article
The author explores her experience of yoga as a therapeutic tool in recovering from the impact of losing a close friend to suicide. The benefits of yoga include improved emotional self-regulation, a more positive relationship with self, and the emergence of a new personal physical reality. An autoethnographical approach permits a necessarily ambiguous and messy in-depth exploration of yoga as a resource for well-being. Nevertheless, it is hoped that it will serve as a means of promoting further study into the role of cultural resources, particularly body-based practices, as means of coming to terms with traumatic loss.
... This compensatory response is defensive in nature, as with narcissism, for the purpose of protecting the self from negative thoughts by increasing positive thoughts, or mortality salience in the case of TMT. Koole, Tjew A Sin, and Schneider (2013) found individuals with lower explicit self-esteem to struggle with more terror management-related issues, which is similar to findings that individuals with lower self-esteem were more defensive (e.g., the studies summarized by Baumeister & Finkel, 2010). Because both TMT and narcissistic defensiveness involve using self-esteem as a buffer against negative thoughts (i.e., mortality salience & feelings of self-doubt, respectively), perhaps there is a similar mental mechanism? ...
Thesis
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This study offered a hypothetical composite model for predicting overt narcissism. It was proposed that overt narcissistic behavior represents a defensive compensation for self-perceived flaws or inadequacies that may function to counter-balance, or even conceal, these negative beliefs. One previous model incorporates explicit self-esteem and implicit self-esteem, with research suggesting that the combination of high explicit self-esteem (ESE) and low implicit self-esteem (i.e., fragile high self-esteem) is positively correlated with narcissism (Zeigler-Hill, 2006). The second previous model found the combination of high implicit self-attractiveness (ISA) and low implicit self-liking (ISL) was positively correlated with high levels of narcissism (Sakellaropoulo & Baldwin, 2007). The present thesis involved testing a hypothesis that an alternate composite model of the two previous models (i.e., the Capitano Model) was a better predictor of overt narcissism than the two previous models, due to it using ESE, ISA, and ISL. This idea was motivated by clinical findings where individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) seemed to hold dually positive and negative self-views. To further demonstrate the compensatory nature of overt narcissism, competitiveness (i.e., general competitiveness and hypercompetitiveness) and psychological defensiveness were examined. The results replicated some prior findings, although there were issues with ISA and ISL, likely due to utilizing the Name-Letter Task in a non-lab setting. Due to the issues with ISA and ISL, Sakellaropoulo and Baldwin’s (2007) findings were not replicated and thus, the Capitano Model was unsupported. Overt narcissism was positively correlated with both forms of competitiveness, replicating previous findings. Psychological Defensiveness did emerge as a significant predictor of narcissistic behavior, providing some interesting findings and empirical support to the theoretical ideas driving this present thesis that will be further delved into in follow up studies.
... This project [1] was based on the idea that interpersonal touch (e.g., a soft touch on the shoulders from an experimenter) or simulated interpersonal touch (e.g., touching a soft teddy bear) could alleviate existential concerns among people with low self-esteem. The research was guided by Terror Management Theory, which proposes that human's unique awareness of their mortality creates the potential for overwhelming anxiety, or terror. ...
Article
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The dataset includes data from the four studies reported in our 'Embodied terror management' paper. The data was collected at either the campus or at the psychology lab at the VU University Amsterdam in 2011/2012 among Dutch-speaking student samples. The dataset consists of the measures described in the paper. The data can be used for replication purposes, meta-analyses, and exploratory analyses, as well as cross-cultural comparisons of mortality salience effects. The authors also welcome collaborative research based on re-analyses of the data.
... In the control condition, participants completed a neutral 12-item questionnaire about leisure-time activities, using a similar 7-point scale. 3 This procedure has been used successfully to prime thoughts of death in previous studies (Koole, Tjew A Sin, & Schneider, 2014;Mikulincer & Florian, 2000). Following this manipulation, all participants performed a 10trial filler/distraction categorization task (e.g., Greenberg, Pyszczynski, Solomon, Simon, & Breus, 1994), and then completed a 4-item questionnaire concerning readiness to self-sacrifice. ...
Article
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In 8 studies, we examined the terror management function of self-sacrifice and the moderating role of attachment orientations. Studies 1-5 focused on readiness to self-sacrifice for a cause, whereas Studies 6-8 focused on self-sacrifice to save a relationship partner's life. In Studies 1-3 and 6, we examined whether mortality salience increases readiness to self-sacrifice. In Studies 4-5 and 7-8, we examined the defensive nature and anxiety-buffering role of self-sacrifice-that is, whether providing another terror management defense reduces the readiness to self-sacrifice following mortality salience and whether thoughts about self-sacrifice mitigate death-thought accessibility. Findings indicated that self-sacrifice for a cause served a terror management function mainly among attachment-anxious participants, whereas self-sacrifice for a relationship partner served this defensive function mainly among participants scoring low on avoidant attachment. Attachment-avoidant participants reacted to mortality salience with reluctance to self-sacrifice for another person. Discussion focuses on attachment orientation as a basis for using self-sacrifice as an existential defense.
... The right touch, though, can have a soothing and calming effect (Debrot, Schoebi, Perrez, & Horn, 2013), and act as a reminder of bodily awareness, increasing connection between thoughts and reality (Lindgren, Jacobsson, & La¨ma˚s, 2014). It has also been shown that when reminded of death and mortality, the desire for touch is increased (Koole, Sin, & Schneider, 2013). Touch can actually communicate emotion in a manner similar to facial expressions (Papathanassoglou & Mpouzika, 2012), which would support Franks (2001) suggestion that touch is uniquely affective. ...
Article
Full-text available
This article reviews the existing literature on the association between the socioeconomic status (SES) and the health of the ageing population in the United Kingdom. It has been noted that socioeconomic differentials are more marked across the United Kingdom than they are in other developed countries. Social class gradients are significant in health for working-age people (up to age 65), whereas studies on older populations have so far been limited so as to draw any robust conclusions. In this article, we examine the inequalities through selected SES indicators in order to tease out the effects on health outcomes of the older population. We critically review the physical and mental health indicators of older people in the United Kingdom with regard to their SES differentials. The findings reveal that older people with lower SES are more likely to experience poorer health outcomes (e.g., long-standing illness or increased disability) and have shorter life expectancy compared with those of higher SES. We illustrate how education remains the single most important determinant of health inequality in later life. We suggest that educational level or occupational class allied with material deprivation offer the best combined indicators of SES for studying health inequalities among older people. The findings of this article has profound implications for prioritizing policies to improve the health and well-being of elderly people with lower SES and go offer an evidence base of how to understand and to develop interventions that minimize the inequalities in health in later life in the United Kingdom.
... Nevertheless, in everyday life, people make frequent use of external instruments to improve their moods. For instance, people may take a hot shower when they feel lonely (Bargh & Shalev, 2012, 2014, cuddle a teddy bear when they feel afraid (Koole, Tjew A Sin, & Schneider, 2013), or treat themselves to a nice gift to lift their spirits (Kemp & Kopp, 2011). Having access to these various artifacts therefore greatly expands people's capability for managing their emotions. ...
Article
In “Emotion Regulation: Current Status and Prospects”, Gross (in press) reviews the state of the art in modern emotion regulation research and presents a new model of emotion regulation. We applaud the extended process model (Gross, in press), as part of a more general push towards more dynamic conceptions of emotion regulation. At the same time, we feel that the field still has a long way to go before it can provide a satisfactory account of people’s emotion-regulatory dynamics. The extended process model and its conceptual cousins maintain that emotion regulation is driven by mental representations like goals and “valuation systems” (Gross, in press). In our view, such static representations do not adequately explain the dynamic nature of emotion regulation. To tackle this problem, we propose a situated cognition approach, which treats emotion regulation as an activity that emerges dynamically from people’s interactions with their environment.
... immediate buffering function of affiliation may be mediated to a considerable degree by faster, automatic, sub-cognitive, biologically based mechanisms (see also Koole, Sin, & Schneider, 2014). Although the consequences of conformity and its potential multiple roles were not the central focus of our research, we acknowledge that more research is required to demonstrate the specific consequences of conformity in existential escape and their functionality. ...
Article
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Belief in free will is founded on the idea that people are responsible for their behavior. People who believe in free will derive meaning in life from these beliefs. Conformity refers to succumbing to external pressures and imitating others’ behaviors. Sometimes, conformity involves a loss of self‐awareness, which reduces perceived meaninglessness. We tested if disbelief in free will increases perceived meaninglessness and if people subsequently become more conformist to address this negative existential perception. We conducted three studies to test this hypothesis. In Study 1, experimentally induced disbelief in free will resulted in perceived meaninglessness. In Study 2, perceived meaninglessness correlated with conformity. Finally, in Study 3, perceived meaninglessness mediated the relationship between disbelief in free will and conformity, especially under high self‐awareness. We conclude that perceptions about meaning play a central role in the relationship between disbelief in free will and conformity. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... Further, multisensory interactions that impact the brain's response to social touch are not limited to the visual system, as unpleasant odors can reduce the perceived pleasantness and alter the response of insular and opercular cortices to affective touch (Croy et al., 2016a,b). Finally, touch can interact with much more complex and multiple aspects of the context of the encounter, as in the alleviation of induced existential concerns (i.e., fear of death) by touch from an experimenter (Koole et al., 2014). Interestingly, in this study, the effect of social touch on fear was specific to individuals with low self-esteem. ...
Article
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Social touch is a powerful force in human development, shaping social reward, attachment, cognitive, communication, and emotional regulation from infancy and throughout life. In this review, we consider the question of how social touch is defined from both bottom-up and top-down perspectives. In the former category, there is a clear role for the C-touch (CT) system, which constitutes a unique submodality that mediates affective touch and contrasts with discriminative touch. Top-down factors such as culture, personal relationships, setting, gender, and other contextual influences are also important in defining and interpreting social touch. The critical role of social touch throughout the lifespan is considered, with special attention to infancy and young childhood, a time during which social touch and its neural, behavioral, and physiological contingencies contribute to reinforcement-based learning and impact a variety of developmental trajectories. Finally, the role of social touch in an example of disordered development –autism spectrum disorder—is reviewed.
... Favorable effects of the sort of physical contact provided by piggybacking or holding the child on hypoactive 5-HT system have been proposed [12]. Koole et al. [70] believe that touch could be a useful supplement to more traditional cognitive-based therapies in treating low self-esteem and related disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Interaction between physical contact such as grooming (including holding the child, piggybacking, therapeutic touch and healing touch) and self-esteem in association with their neuronal backgrounds is one of the interesting topics that must be examined. ...
Article
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Sleep loss impairs brain function. As late sleep onset can reduce sleep, this sleep/circadian rhythm disturbance may cause brain impairment. Specific data on the long-term effects of sleep/circadian rhythm disturbance on subsequent brain function are lacking. Japan, a sleep-deprived society from infancy to adulthood, provides an ideal platform to investigate the association of these disturbances in early life with subsequent functioning. In this article, several current problematic behaviors among youth in Japan (dropping out from high school, school absenteeism, early resignation from employment, and suicide) are discussed in relation to early life sleep/circadian rhythm patterns. We hypothesize that daily habits of modern society during early stages of life produce unfavorable effects on brain function resulting in problematic behaviors in subsequent years.
... Finally, general romantic relationship literature also suggests that committed romantic relationships and their manifestations in the form of love, long-term commitment, dating, affectionate touch and kissing positively affects the romance participants' behaviors and life satisfaction. 4,25,29,30 Thus, we follow the constructive effect premise of workplace romance to develop the following hypothesis. ...
Article
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Purpose: The purpose of the present study is twofold. First, we examined the relationship between workplace romance and employee job performance and tested the role of affective commitment foci – namely, affective coworker commitment, affective supervisor commitment, and affective organizational commitment – as parallel mediators in the relationship between workplace romance and employee job performance. Second, we tested the moderating role of culture on the interrelationships between workplace romance, affective commitment foci, and employee job performance. Methods: A two-wave (3-month interval) survey data were collected from 312 paramedics – 162 and 150 from Pakistani and Chinese public-sector hospitals, respectively. The first and second waves of data collection took place in January and May 2017, respectively. Structural equation modeling (SEM), bootstrapping technique, and multigroup analysis were used to test the interrelationships between workplace romance, affective commitment foci, and employee job performance and to examine the cross-cultural differences in these interrelations. Results: Results obtained using SEM show that workplace romance positively influences employee performance. Importantly, the study revealed that the three foci of affective commitment – namely, coworker affective commitment, supervisor affective commitment, and organizational affective commitment – as parallel mediators fully mediate the relationship between workplace romance and employee performance. Moreover, national culture moderates the indirect relationship between workplace romance and employee job performance, where workplace romance is stronger for the Chinese data sample. Conclusion: It is concluded that workplace romance is positively related to employee job performance and that affective commitment foci fully mediate the positive relationship between workplace romance and employee job performance. Moreover, culture moderates the indirect relationship between workplace romance and employee job performance. The study contributes to theory and practice by studying an essential but largely ignored aspect of the workplace and portraying it as a constructive influence on employee job performance and their affective commitment to coworkers, supervisor, and organization.
... This explains why touch is more intimate and creates a direct link between a person and the environment (ecological, digital). In the same way, a mother hugging her child will transmit the love and the feeling of security that the child needs for his well-being and for building his self-esteem [39]. Furthermore, the fact of feeling material properties such as temperature and texture strengthens the emotional dimension of other modalities [40]. ...
Article
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Integration of haptics in Serious Games (SGs) remains limited compared to vision and audio. Many works seem to limit haptic interactions to the mimicking of real life feelings. Here, we address this by investigating the use of haptics to promote learning outcomes in serious games. By analyzing how we learn, we proposed a model that identifies three learning outcomes: (1) engage the user with the content of the game, (2) develop technical skills, and (3) develop cognitive skills. For each learning skill, we show how haptic interactions may be exploited. We also show that the proposed model may be used to describe and to evaluate existing methods. It may also help in the designing of new methods that take advantage of haptics to promote learning outcomes.
... In support of TMT several studies have shown that when self-esteem is increased or is dispositionally high, and defensiveness in response to the threat of receiving painful electric shocks or viewing graphic images of death [5,15], while some others did not approve the result [16]. Some scholars who supplemented TMT proposed a new defense mechanism: the pursuit and investment of close interpersonal relationships can buffer death anxiety [17,18]. Social support is a good interpersonal relationship. ...
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Purpose This study aimed to investigate death anxiety in advanced cancer patients and identify associated factors in the context of Chinese culture. Methods Participants (N = 270) with advanced cancer in a tertiary cancer hospital completed anonymous questionnaire surveys. Measures included the Chinese version of a Likert-type Templer-Death Anxiety Scale, Rosenberg’s Self-esteem Scale, Medical Coping Modes Questionnaire, the Social Support Rating Scale, and Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale. Data were analyzed in SPSS using descriptive statistics, Student’s t test, Pearson correlation test, and linear regression. Results Respondents returned 252 (93.33%) of the 270 questionnaires. The total CL-TDAS score was 39.56 ± 10.20. The top three items were “I fear dying a painful death” (3.59 ± 1.41), “I often think about how shortly life really is” (3.11 ± 1.33), and “1 am not particularly afraid of getting cancer” (3.09 ± 1.35). Associated factors of death anxiety (R² = .333, F = 15.756, p < .001) were the medical coping mode (resignation, confronce), self-esteem, the participants’ adult children, the patient-primary caregivers’ relationship, resilience, and the level of activity of daily living. Conclusions Our results demonstrate high levels of death anxiety in advanced cancer patients. Generally, patients with adult children, high self-esteem and resilience had low death anxiety. Conversely, patients with low levels of activity of daily living and high coping mode (resignation, confrontation) reported high death anxiety. We determined that associated factors contributed to reduce death anxiety. Social interventions are recommended to improve the end-of-life transition for patients and caregivers.
... It has also been revealed that social touch has the effect of reducing stress. Koole et al. [22] asked university students walking on campus to fill out some questionnaires about death anxiety. They revealed that the death anxiety of respondents with low self-esteem decreased when a female experimenter touched them on the shoulder. ...
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The main contribution of this study is realization of a method that enhances the effect of touch in remote communication between persons of the same gender by changing the gender impression with a voice changer during telecommunication. Although psychological studies have revealed that touch has various positive effects such as triggering altruistic behavior and persuading others, these effects are restrained in some cases, especially in same-gender communication, because a touch between persons of the same gender tends to cause unpleasant feelings. However, “Transcendent Telepresence,” which enhances positive psychological effects and suppresses negative effects by modifying the information transmitted via telecommunication, enables us to overcome this problem. We hypothesized that telepresence that modifies people’s gender impression reduces this unpleasantness and enhances the effect of touch. We tested the effectiveness of this method in a situation in which a male operator asked male participants to perform a monotonous task. The results showed that a touch by a male operator whose voice was changed to female-like could reduce the boredom of the task and improve the friendliness toward the operator. We believe this method realizes effective communication in various fields including telemedicine, crowdsourcing, and remote education.
... In a similar vein, neuroimaging studies found increased perception of relief when subject to a painful stimulus and allowed physical contact with a romantic partner (Goldstein et al., 2018). There are also findings on the positive impact of physical contact in the relief of induced existential concerns (fear of death), especially in people with low self-esteem (Koole et al., 2014). ...
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Rather than occurring abstractly (autonomously), ethical growth occurs in interpersonal relationships (IRs). It requires optimally functioning cognitive processes [attention, working memory (WM), episodic/autobiographical memory (AM), inhibition, flexibility, among others], emotional processes (physical contact, motivation, and empathy), processes surrounding ethical, intimacy, and identity issues, and other psychological processes (self-knowledge, integration, and the capacity for agency). Without intending to be reductionist, we believe that these aspects are essential for optimally engaging in IRs and for the personal constitution. While they are all integrated into our daily life, in research and academic work, it is hard to see how they are integrated. Thus, we need better theoretical frameworks for studying them. That study and integration thereof are undertaken differently depending on different views of what it means to live as a human being. We rely on neuroscientific data to support the chosen theory to offer knowledge to understand human beings and interpersonal relational growth. We should of course note that to describe what makes up the uniqueness of being, acting, and growing as a human person involves something much more profound which requires too, a methodology that opens the way for a theory of the person that responds to the concerns of philosophy and philosophical anthropology from many disciplines and methods ( Orón Semper, 2015 ; Polo, 2015 ), but this is outside the scope of this study. With these in mind, this article aims to introduce a new explanatory framework, called the Interprocessual-self (IPS), for the neuroscientific findings that allow for a holistic consideration of the previously mentioned processes. Contributing to the knowledge of personal growth and avoiding a reductionist view, we first offer a general description of the research that supports the interrelation between personal virtue in IRs and relevant cognitive, emotional, and ethic-moral processes. This reveals how relationships allow people to relate ethically and grow as persons. We include conceptualizations and descriptions of their neural bases. Secondly, with the IPS model, we explore neuroscientific findings regarding self-knowledge, integration, and agency, all psychological processes that stimulate inner exploration of the self concerning the other. We find that these fundamental conditions can be understood from IPS theory. Finally, we explore situations that involve the integration of two levels, namely the interpersonal one and the social contexts of relationships.
... Perry-Jenkins, Repetti, & Crouter (2000) menyatakan bahwa hubungan antara pekerjaan dan keluarga adalah dua arah, beberapa penelitian muncul untuk mengeksplorasi bagaimana keluarga membentuk perilaku di tempat kerja, seperti dampak sentuhan kasih sayang dari pasangan dapat bermanifestasi dalam bentuk relaksasi dan perasaan yang baik, menghilangkan perasaan negatif dan meningkatkan kualitas hubungan (Burleson, Trevathan, & Todd, 2007;Debrot, Schoebi, Perrez, & Horn, 2013;Koole, Tjew A Sin, & Schneider, 2014). ...
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Penelitian ini bertujuan untuk mengetahui apakah terdapat pengaruh workplace romance terhadap kepuasan pernikahan karyawan. Lokasi yang digunakan untuk penelitian adalah Yayasan X. Populasi penelitian adalah seluruh karyawan di Yayasan X yang memiliki pasangan satu tempat kerja yang berjumlah 254 orang. Sampel dalam penelitian ini sebanyak 72 orang. Teknik sampling yang digunakan adalah sampling acak sederhana. Skala yang digunakan dalam penelitian ini yaitu skala workplace romance yang disusun oleh Khan, Jianguo, Usman, & Ahmad (2017) dan Skala Kepuasan Pernikahan berdasarkan aspek-aspek kepuasan pernikahan dari Fowers & Olson (1993). Teknik analisis data yang digunakan adalah analisis regresi sederhana. Hasil analisis data menunjukkan bahwa terdapat pengaruh workplace romance terhadap kepuasan pernikahan. Besar pengaruh workplace romance terhadap kepuasan pernikahan sebanyak 24.6%, sisanya dipengaruhi oleh faktor lain.
... not given a touch or given a hand-shake) (Levav and Argo, 2010), implying that touch may reduce feelings of distress in a risky situation. Finally, subjects who have low self-esteem and are reminded of death, report lower death anxiety and stronger social connectedness if they are touched on their shoulder by a stranger (when compared to no touch) (Koole et al., 2014). Nevertheless, it is necessary to note that participants were not exposed to any death-related material and, hence, the results cannot be generalized to situations where mortality is made salient and participants are exposed to material arousing death anxiety. ...
Article
Social touch is increasingly utilized in a variety of psychological interventions, ranging from parent-child interventions to psychotherapeutic treatments. Less attention has been paid, however, to findings that exposure to social touch may not necessarily evoke positive or pleasant responses. Social touch can convey different emotions from love and gratitude to harassment and envy, and persons’ preferences to touch and be touched do not necessarily match with each other. This review of altogether 99 original studies focuses on how contextual factors modify target person’s behavioral and brain responses to social touch. The review shows that experience of social touch is strongly modified by a variety of toucher-related and situational factors: for example, toucher’s facial expressions, physical attractiveness, relationship status, group membership, and touched person’s psychological distress. At the neural level, contextual factors modify processing of social touch from early perceptual processing to reflective cognitive evaluation. Based on the review, we present implications for using social touch in behavioral and neuroscientific research designs.
... The present work is also consistent with theories of embodied emotion regulation (Koole et al., 2014;Koole & Veenstra, 2015;Lotte Veenstra et al., 2017a). According to the latter, emotion regulation is not just something that occurs within the mind or 'between the ears', as traditional perspectives have assumed. ...
Article
People differ in trait anger, or how easily they lose their temper. The present authors suggest that whether trait anger become translated into angry feelings and behavior may depend on basic motivational states. Specifically, people with high (versus low) trait anger may display increased anger and aggression when their current state is more rather than less approachoriented. Consistent with this, trait anger predicted state anger among participants who assumed high approach-oriented postures, but not among those who assumed low approachoriented- oriented postures (Study 1, N= 127; Study 2, N = 151). Trait anger further predicted aggressive inclinations (Study 2) when participants assumed a high (rather than low) approach- oriented posture. Finally, trait anger predicted aggression (Study 3, N = 178; Study 4, N = 177) when participants assumed a high (rather than low) approach-oriented posture. These findings suggest that motivationally relevant bodily movements regulate whether trait anger becomes translated into state anger and aggression.
... Linguistic expression seems to enormously enhance emotional regulatory capabilities, as a result of enabling both emotional communication (Burleson 1985), and simply emotional articulation (Lieberman 2011;Samur, Tops, Schlinkert, Quirin, Cuijpers, & Koole 2013). People's ability to redirect their emotional experiences is also tremendously enhanced by a variety of material resources and activities including hot showers for alleviating loneliness (Bargh & Shalev 2012), cuddling soft toys or seeking interpersonal touch for down-regulating existential anxiety (Koole, Sin, & Schneider 2014), and seeking out and utilising cleaning products to down-regulate disgust (Koole, Webb, & Sheeran 2015;Vogt, Lozo, Koster, & De Houwer 2010). ...
... According to the polyvagal theory, these neurochemical changes are likely due to vagus nerve stimulation from skin pressure (e.g., Field, 2010;Gamse, Lembeck, & Cuello, 1979;Porges, 2001;Stock & Uvnäs-Moberg, 1988). These neurochemical changes may explain why touch decreases anxiety in cardiac patients (Weiss, 1990), as well as existential anxiety after a death reminder (Koole, Tjew A Sin, & Schneider, 2014). ...
... Moreover, those who have engaged in workplace romances have more favorable attitudes toward productivity than those who have not experienced love in the workplace [26]. Debrot et al. [14] stated that romantic relationships in the workplace positively affect the behavior and life satisfaction of engaged employees, and once engaged in a romantic relationship, they are likely to experience its positive impact on their behaviors [46]. Meanwhile, Wright and Cropanzano [41] reported that employees involved in a workplace romance show improved job satisfaction and performance. ...
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With the aim of providing insights to scholars, administrators, and managers on how an employee’s romantic involvement influences job engagement and performance, this study examined workplace romance as a psychological mechanism for determining job performance. A total of 224 deluxe hotel employees in South Korea participated in the research. The results indicate that workplace romance significantly affects employees’ job engagement and performance. Employees who sustain a favorable and positive relationship with others in their organization eventually exhibit increased work effectiveness, which then exerts a constructive effect on hotel services and performance. Moreover, workplace romance experience can significantly improve the effect of workplace romance on job engagement. The paper also discusses limitations and future research directions.
... Although these relations were not observed in all participants, touch seemed to be associated with social communication and self-esteem. This is supported by literature [42,55]. Literature shows that after touching a dog, hormones associated with relaxation, prosocial behavior and emotional bonding, are released [28]. ...
Article
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Social communication and self-esteem are often affected in adults with autism spectrum disorder. Implementation and evaluation of interventions targeting social skills are challenged due to specific characteristics of autism. Intensive, valid evaluation of social skills programs is needed. In this explorative multiple case study, we examined effects and working mechanisms of dog-assisted therapy on social communication and self-esteem, by analyzing detailed observations with Monte Carlo permutation tests (testing against 10,000 random samples) and using self- and other-reports in N=6 high-functioning adults with ASD. Results showed significant positive effects on secure body posture. There was an indication of improved self-esteem and more spontaneous touching of the dog, while no convincing increase was found for verbal initiatives. Cross-correlation analyses revealed that touching the therapy dog may be an important determinant to elicit social development in Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT). Considering preliminary results, we recommend exploring underlying mechanisms more thoroughly with real-time observations, accounting for possible gender-effects.
... Affective touch should not be confused with pleasant touch as affective touch can result in unpleasantness when stimulation characteristics are ill-adjusted. Besides stimulation characteristics, perception of (affective) touch is influenced by external factors, such as emotional expressions (Ravaja et al., 2017), olfactory environment (Croy et al., 2016) and even emotional state (Kelley and Schmeichel, 2014) and personality (Koole et al., 2014) of subjects. ...
Article
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Previous research has shown the value of the sense of embodiment, i.e., being able to integrate objects into one’s bodily self-representation, and its connection to (assistive) robotics. Especially, tactile interfaces seem essential to integrate assistive robots into one’s body model. Beyond functional feedback, such as tactile force sensing, the human sense of touch comprises specialized nerves for affective signals, which transmit positive sensations during slow and low-force tactile stimulations. Since these signals are extremely relevant for body experience as well as social and emotional contacts but scarcely considered in recent assistive devices, this review provides a requirement analysis to consider affective touch in engineering design. By analyzing quantitative and qualitative information from engineering, cognitive psychology, and neuroscienctific research, requirements are gathered and structured. The resulting requirements comprise technical data such as desired motion or force/torque patterns and an evaluation of potential stimulation modalities as well as their relations to overall user experience, e.g., pleasantness and realism of the sensations. This review systematically considers the very specific characteristics of affective touch and the corresponding parts of the neural system to define design goals and criteria. Based on the analysis, design recommendations for interfaces mediating affective touch are derived. This includes a consideration of biological principles and human perception thresholds which are complemented by an analysis of technical possibilities. Finally, we outline which psychological factors can be satisfied by the mediation of affective touch to increase acceptance of assistive devices and outline demands for further research and development.
... In addition, physical touch even from people who are not close family or friends may be beneficial, as evidenced by the positive impact of physical touch from nurses on patients' improved sleep, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and pain (Papathanassoglou and Mpouzika, 2012). Even the brief touch on a shoulder by an experimenter was related to less anxiety about death (Koole et al., 2014). Collectively, much of this research has focused on the effects of physical touch on health in the short-term, but less is known about the long-term effects of physical touch on health, even though long-term inflammation has important implications for age-related disease and impairment (Jenny et al., 2012). ...
Article
Objectives: Growing research on the impact of physical touch on health has revealed links to lower blood pressure, higher oxytocin levels, and better sleep, but links to inflammation have not been fully explored. Physical touch may also buffer stress, underscoring its importance during the stressful time of living in the COVID-19 global pandemic - a time that has substantially limited social interactions and during which physical touch has been specifically advised against. Methods: We analyze nationally representative longitudinal data on older adults (N=1124) from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project using cross-lagged path models. Results: More frequent physical touch is significantly related to a lower likelihood of subsequent elevated inflammation. Discussion: These findings highlight the importance of finding safe ways to incorporate physical touch, even in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
... Wisman proposes that in the early stages of human civilisation, humanity was aware of some meaning threats such as one's mortality (e.g., Greenberg et al., 1997). Accordingly, these presymbolic mechanisms may have been modified through evolution to help people cope with meaning threats when symbolic capacities to regulate meaning were not developed or available (Kesebir & Pyszczynski, 2012; see also Koole et al., 2014;Tai et al., 2011). ...
Article
Boredom is a common, unpleasant emotion that conveys meaninglessness in life and compels people to escape from this adverse existential experience. Within the paradigm of social psychology frameworks, previous research found that bored people endorse cultural sources of meaning as compensation against this state (e.g., nostalgia, political ideologies). In recent years, another form of defence against meaning threats has been identified. An existential escape hypothesis relating to boredom claims that people seek to avoid meaninglessness when people encounter meaning threats such as boredom. By engaging in behaviours with low self-awareness, people counteract awareness of their bored and meaningless self. In this article, we review the current literature on boredom in light of such acts of existential escape. We also provide suggestions for future research to highlight under which circumstances people are more likely to engage in existential escape and identify phenomena that need to be tested within the escape process.
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This narrative review summarizes research on three forms of touch that have enhanced development and well-being. These include social touch, CT touch, and massage therapy. The lightest form of touch called CT touch (stimulation of unmyelinated afferents) is important for parent-infant and romantic relationships and for pain syndromes. Social touch including hugging and handholding is also important for those relationships. And the deepest form of touch, i.e. moderate pressure massage therapy, has been important for reducing stress. Most of the CT touch research has focused on identifying optimal velocities of touch and using fMRI scans to identify parts of the brain that are activated by light touch. The social touch literature has been primarily oriented toward the role of touch during early mother-infant interactions and later romantic relationships. The deepest form of touch has been researched for its therapeutic applications including massage therapy for pain syndromes. Each form has several methodological limitations that are reviewed here. Although the literatures on these forms of touch have many differences, they also have similarities, and they share their importance for enhancing development and well-being.
Article
Emotion regulation is not always deliberate, but can also operate on nonconscious or implicit levels. From an action control perspective, there are three ways in which implicit processes may support emotion regulation. First, implicit processes may allow people to decide whether or not to engage in emotion regulation, through implicit activation of emotion regulation goals and implicit monitoring of whether emotional responses are compatible with these goals. Second, implicit processes may guide people in selecting suitable emotion regulation strategies, by activating habitual strategies and by tailoring strategies to situational affordances. Third, the implicit processes recruited by habits and implementation intentions may facilitate the enactment of emotion regulation strategies. Implicit processes are thus vital in the self-regulation of emotion.
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Following preventive measures is crucial for slowing the rate of COVID-19 spread. To date, most research has focused on the role of individual differences and personality in compliance with preventive measures to COVID-19. Building on findings that interpersonal touch instills a feeling of security, we propose that interpersonal touching behavior, an underexplored factor tied to social interaction, leads to more breaches of coronavirus restrictions by inducing security feelings. In a lab experiment (Experiment 1) and a field study (Experiment 2), we demonstrated that a female experimenter’s fleeting and comforting pat on the shoulder made people less willing to abide by preventive measures in their self-report and actual behavior. Further, we excluded a potential alternative explanation that touch intervention by the experimenter presents the defiance of COVID-19 rules because the effect cannot be observed when the touch consists of a handshake rather than a comforting pat on the shoulder (Experiment 3). Finally, consistent with our theoretical perspective, the results revealed that sense of security mediated the effect of interpersonal touch on violation of instructions to follow coronavirus precautions. Taken together, interpersonal touch not only enhances trust and security, but also can push people away from health guidelines.
Article
The present research examined whether people imitate the language style of others (i.e., the use of function words) as a form of liking when mortality concerns are salient. In Study 1, participants answered questions about death or public speaking and then engaged in an instant messaging conversation with a confederate. In Study 2, participant pairs verbally discussed a news article about increasing homicide rates or the rise in academic pressure. Next, everyone completed measures of self-esteem, life satisfaction, and relationship need satisfaction. The results revealed that, in comparison to the control conditions, participants exhibited greater language style matching (LSM) following reminders of death (Studies 1 & 2). Further, mediational analyses showed that higher LSM after mortality salience was associated with better psychological and social well-being (Study 2). Although the threat of death has been shown to make people more hostile and disparaging toward dissimilar others, the present work suggests that individuals, even strangers, may feel closer through language coordination following thoughts of mortality.
Conference Paper
This study realizes a method to enhance the effect of touch in remote same-gender communication by changing the gender impression with a voice changer during telecommunication. We focused on touch in communication. Although psychological studies have revealed that touch has various positive effects such as triggering altruistic behavior, these effects are restrained in some cases, especially in same-gender communication, because the touch between persons of the same gender tends to cause unpleasant feelings. We aimed to address this problem to utilize the effects for telecommunication purposes, such as remote medical care and remote education, by hypothesizing that the use of telepresence could change people's gender impression, reduce this unpleasantness, and enhance the effect of touch. We tested the effectiveness of this method in a situation in which a male operator asked male participants to perform a monotonous task, and the results showed that a touch by the male operator whose voice was changed to female-like could reduce the boredom of the task and improve the friendliness toward the operator.
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Leveraging spatiotemporal variation in homicides that occurred during a 2.5-year weekly panel survey of 387 women ages 18–22 in Flint, Michigan, we investigate how young women's desires to become pregnant and to avoid pregnancy evolve in response to local homicides during the transition to adulthood. To address the endogeneity of exposure, we explore how the same woman's pregnancy desires (1) differed, on average, across weeks before and after the first homicide occurred within a quarter mile of her home; (2) evolved in the aftermath of this initial homicide exposure; and (3) changed in response to additional nearby homicides. One-fifth (22%) of women were exposed to a nearby homicide at least once during the study, and one-third of these women were exposed multiple times. Overall, the effects of nearby homicides were gradual: although average desires to become pregnant and to avoid pregnancy differed after initial exposure, these differences emerged approximately three to five months post-exposure. Repeated exposure to nearby homicides had nonlinear effects on how much women wanted to become pregnant and how much they wanted to avoid pregnancy. Together, our analyses provide a new explanation for why some young women—especially those who are socially disadvantaged—desire pregnancy at an early age.
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Our commentators explore the operation of grounded procedures across all levels of analysis in the behavioral sciences, from mental to social, developmental, and evolutionary/functional. Building on them, we offer two integrative principles for systematic effects of grounded procedures to occur. We discuss theoretical topics at each level of analysis, address methodological recommendations, and highlight further extensions of grounded procedures.
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Lee and Schwarz (L&S) suggest that separation is the grounded procedure underlying cleansing effects in different psychological domains. Here, we interpret L&S's account from a hierarchical view of cognition that considers the influence of physical properties and sensorimotor constraints on mental representations. This approach allows theoretical integration and generalization of L&S's account to the domain of formal quantitative reasoning.
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Lee and Schwarz suggest grounded procedures of separation as a mechanism for embodied cleansing. We compare this process to other mechanisms in grounded cognition and suggest a broader conceptualization that allows integration into general cognitive models of social behavior. Specifically, separation will be understood as a mindset of completed avoidance resulting in high abstraction and openness to new experiences.
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Using terror management theory and research findings, we expand the framework provided by Lee and Schwarz to highlight the potential link between separation and connection effects to existential, death-related concerns. Specifically, we address how death awareness may motivate separation and connection behaviors and how engaging in these behaviors may serve a protective terror management function.
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Terror Management Theory (TMT; Greenberg, Solomon, & Pyszczynski, 1997) proposes that mortality concerns may lead people to reject other cultures than their own. Although highly relevant to multiculturalism, TMT has been rarely tested in a European multicultural society. To fill this void, two studies examined the effects of mortality salience (MS) among native Dutch people with varying levels of national identification and self-esteem. Consistent with TMT, MS led to less favorable attitudes about Muslims and multiculturalism among participants with high (rather than low) national identification and low (rather than high) self-esteem (Study 1). Likewise, MS led participants with high national identification and low self-esteem to increase their support of Sinterklaas, a traditional Dutch festivity with purported racist elements (Study 2). Together, these findings indicate that existential concerns may fuel resistance against multiculturalism, especially among people with low self-esteem who strongly identify with their nationality.
Article
Despite demographers’ long-standing preoccupation with the effects of child mortality on women’s fertility desires, scholars continue to know little about the consequences of other pervasive mortality exposures. We use nationally representative data from the high-mortality context of Peru to examine whether the desire to have a(nother) child varies as a function of sibling loss and to assess heterogeneity in this association by women’s current number of children and a range of conditions related to siblings’ deaths. Women who have experienced sibling bereavement and have two or more children report higher odds of desiring another child. These effects are not contingent on the age or sex of the deceased sibling but are only significant if the sibling died during the respondent’s lifetime (not before). These findings highlight the theoretical and empirical import of investigating the relationship between fertility desires and a wider range of familial mortality exposures beyond own child mortality.
Chapter
Affectionate Communication in Close Relationships - by Kory Floyd December 2018
Book
Cambridge Core - Communications - Affectionate Communication in Close Relationships - by Kory Floyd
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There is little empirical research to date that looks at how the deleterious effects of social exclusion can be mitigated. We examined how touching an inanimate object—a teddy bear—might impact the effect of social exclusion on prosocial behavior. Across two studies, we found that socially excluded individuals who touched a teddy bear acted more prosocially as compared to socially excluded individuals who just viewed the teddy bear from a distance. This effect was only observed for socially excluded participants and not for socially included (or control) participants. Overall, the findings suggest that touching a teddy bear mitigates the negative effects of social exclusion to increase prosocial behavior. In Study 2, positive emotion was found to mediate the relationship between touch and prosocial behavior. These results suggest a possible means to attenuate the unpleasant effects of social exclusion.
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Interpersonal touch is a fundamental but undervalued aspect of human nature. In the present article, the authors review psychological research showing that even fleeting forms of touch may have a powerful impact on our emotional and social functioning. Given its significant beneficial effects, touch may be valuable as a therapeutic or health-promoting tool.
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This chapter proposes that the potential for abject terror created by the awareness of the inevitability of death in an animal instinctively programmed for self-preservation and continued experience lies at the root of a great deal of human motivation and behavior. This chapter presents the results of a substantial body of research that attests to the broad influence of the problem of death on human social behavior and illuminates the processes through which concerns about mortality exert their influence. The chapter overviews the primary assumptions and propositions of terror management theory and a description of the initial research conducted to test the theory. It presents a detailed consideration of more recent research that establishes the convergent and discriminant validity of the mortality salience treatment and the robustness of its effects through the use of alternative mortality salience treatments and comparison treatments, and replications by other researchers; it extends the range of interpersonal behaviors that are demonstrably influenced by terror management concerns. Moreover, it demonstrates the interaction of mortality salience with other theoretically relevant situational and dispositional variables, and provides an account of the cognitive processes through which mortality salience produces its effects. Finally, this chapter discusses the relation of terror management motives to other psychological motives and gives a consideration of issues requiring further investigation.
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Humans live out their lives knowing that their own death is inevitable; that their most cherished beliefs and values, and even their own identities, are uncertain; that they face a bewildering array of choices; and that their private subjective experiences can never be shared with another human being. This knowledge creates five major existential concerns: death, isolation, identity, freedom, and meaning. The role of these concerns in human affairs has traditionally been the purview of philosophy. However, recent methodological and conceptual advances have led to the emergence of an experimental existential psychology directed toward empirically investigating the roles that these concerns play in psychological functioning. This new domain of psychological science has revealed the pervasive influence of deep existential concerns on diverse aspects of human thought and behavior.
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From the perspective of terror management theory, the human body is problematic because it serves as a perpetual reminder of the inevitability of death. Human beings confront this problem through the development of cultural worldviews that imbue reality-and the body as part of that reality-with abstract symbolic meaning. This fanciful flight from death is in turn the psychological impetus for distancing from other animals and the need to regulate behaviors that remind us of our physical nature. This analysis is applied to questions concerning why people are embarrassed and disgusted by their bodies' functions; why sex is such a common source of problems, difficulties, regulations, and ritualizations; why sex tends to be associated with romantic love; and why cultures value physical attractiveness and objectify women. This article then briefly considers implications of this analysis for understanding psychological problems related to the physical body and cultural variations in the need to separate oneself from the natural world.
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On the basis of the terror management theory proposition that self-esteem provides protection against concerns about mortality, it was hypothesized that self-esteem would reduce the worldview defense produced by mortality salience (MS). The results of Exps 1 (49 undergraduates) and 2 (50 undergraduates) confirmed this hypothesis by showing that individuals with high self-esteem (manipulated in Exp 1; dispositional in Exp 2) did not respond to MS with increased worldview defense, whereas individuals with moderate self-esteem did. The results of Exp 3 (48 undergraduates) suggested that the effects of the 1st 2 experiments may have occurred because high self-esteem facilitates the suppression of death constructs following MS. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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This research builds on terror management theory to examine the relationships among self-esteem, death cognition, and psychological adjustment. Self-esteem was measured (Studies 1-2, 4-8) or manipulated (Study 3), and thoughts of death were manipulated (Studies 1-3, 5-8) or measured (Study 4). Subsequently, satisfaction with life (Study 1), subjective vitality (Study 2), meaning in life (Studies 3-5), positive and negative affect (Studies 1, 4, 5), exploration (Study 6), state anxiety (Study 7), and social avoidance (Study 8) were assessed. Death-related cognition (a) decreased satisfaction with life, subjective vitality, meaning in life, and exploration; (b) increased negative affect and state anxiety; and (c) exacerbated social avoidance for individuals with low self-esteem but not for those with high self-esteem. These effects occurred only when death thoughts were outside of focal attention. Parallel effects were found in American (Studies 1-4, 6-8) and Chinese (Study 5) samples.
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We show that minimal physical contact can increase people's sense of security and consequently lead them to increased risk-taking behavior. In three experiments, with both hypothetical and real payoffs, a female experimenter's light, comforting pat on the shoulder led participants to greater financial risk taking. Further, this effect was both mediated and moderated by feelings of security in both male and female participants. Finally, we established the boundary conditions for the impact of physical contact on risk-taking behaviors by demonstrating that the effect does not occur when the touching is performed by a male and is attenuated when the touch consists of a handshake. The results suggest that subtle physical contact can be strongly influential in decision making and the willingness to accept risk.
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A large body of research has shown that when people are reminded of their mortality, their defense of their cultural worldview intensifies. Although some psychological defenses seem to be instigated by negative affective responses to threat, mortality salience does not appear to arouse such affect. Terror management theory posits that the potential to experience anxiety, rather than the actual experience of anxiety, underlies these effects of mortality salience. If this is correct, then mortality-salience effects should be reduced when participants believe they are not capable of reacting to the reminder of mortality with anxiety. In a test of this hypothesis, participants consumed a placebo purported to either block anxiety or enhance memory. Then we manipulated mortality salience, and participants evaluated pro- and anti-American essays as a measure of worldview defense. Although mortality salience intensified worldview defense in the memory-enhancer condition, this effect was completely eliminated in the anxiety-blocker condition. The results suggest that some psychological defenses serve to avert the experience of anxiety rather than to ameliorate actually experienced anxiety.
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The meaning maintenance model (MMM) proposes that people have a need for meaning; that is, a need to perceive events through a prism of mental representations of expected relations that organizes their perceptions of the world. When people's sense of meaning is threatened, they reaffirm alternative representations as a way to regain meaning-a process termed fluid compensation. According to the model, people can reaffirm meaning in domains that are different from the domain in which the threat occurred. Evidence for fluid compensation can be observed following a variety of psychological threats, including most especially threats to the self, such as self-esteem threats, feelings of uncertainty, interpersonal rejection, and mortality salience. People respond to these diverse threats in highly similar ways, which suggests that a range of psychological motivations are expressions of a singular impulse to generate and maintain a sense of meaning.
Book
This study investigated 3 broad classes of individual-differences variables (job-search motives, competencies, and constraints) as predictors of job-search intensity among 292 unemployed job seekers. Also assessed was the relationship between job-search intensity and reemployment success in a longitudinal context. Results show significant relationships between the predictors employment commitment, financial hardship, job-search self-efficacy, and motivation control and the outcome job-search intensity. Support was not found for a relationship between perceived job-search constraints and job-search intensity. Motivation control was highlighted as the only lagged predictor of job-search intensity over time for those who were continuously unemployed. Job-search intensity predicted Time 2 reemployment status for the sample as a whole, but not reemployment quality for those who found jobs over the study's duration. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Book
There are few topics so fascinating both to the research investigator and the research subject as the self-image. It is distinctively characteristic of the human animal that he is able to stand outside himself and to describe, judge, and evaluate the person he is. He is at once the observer and the observed, the judge and the judged, the evaluator and the evaluated. Since the self is probably the most important thing in the world to him, the question of what he is like and how he feels about himself engrosses him deeply. This is especially true during the adolescent stage of development.
Article
Human ethnocentrism--the tendency to view one's group as centrally important and superior to other groups--creates intergroup bias that fuels prejudice, xenophobia, and intergroup violence. Grounded in the idea that ethnocentrism also facilitates within-group trust, cooperation, and coordination, we conjecture that ethnocentrism may be modulated by brain oxytocin, a peptide shown to promote cooperation among in-group members. In double-blind, placebo-controlled designs, males self-administered oxytocin or placebo and privately performed computer-guided tasks to gauge different manifestations of ethnocentric in-group favoritism as well as out-group derogation. Experiments 1 and 2 used the Implicit Association Test to assess in-group favoritism and out-group derogation. Experiment 3 used the infrahumanization task to assess the extent to which humans ascribe secondary, uniquely human emotions to their in-group and to an out-group. Experiments 4 and 5 confronted participants with the option to save the life of a larger collective by sacrificing one individual, nominated as in-group or as out-group. Results show that oxytocin creates intergroup bias because oxytocin motivates in-group favoritism and, to a lesser extent, out-group derogation. These findings call into question the view of oxytocin as an indiscriminate "love drug" or "cuddle chemical" and suggest that oxytocin has a role in the emergence of intergroup conflict and violence.
Article
Grooming is a widespread activity throughout the animal kingdom, but in primates (including humans) social grooming, or allo-grooming (the grooming of others), plays a particularly important role in social bonding which, in turn, has a major impact on an individual's lifetime reproductive fitness. New evidence from comparative brain analyses suggests that primates have social relationships of a qualitatively different kind to those found in other animal species, and I suggest that, in primates, social grooming has acquired a new function of supporting these. I review the evidence for a neuropeptide basis for social bonding, and draw attention to the fact that the neuroendrocrine pathways involved are quite unresolved. Despite recent claims for the central importance of oxytocin, there is equally good, but invariably ignored, evidence for a role for endorphins. I suggest that these two neuropeptide families may play different roles in the processes of social bonding in primates and non-primates, and that more experimental work will be needed to tease them apart.
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The feasibility of using a shorter version of the Profile of Mood States is examined. Eighty-three cancer patients were administered the Profile of Mood States. The scales' internal consistency (coefficient alpha) and the items' face validity were used as criteria for eliminating items. The number of items was reduced from 65 to 37 and the correlation coefficients between the short and original scales were all above .95, indicating the suitability of the short version for estimating the original mood scale scores in this population.
Article
The present research highlights affiliation defenses in the psychological confrontation with death. In 3 experiments, it was found that mortality salience led to increased affiliation strivings, as indicated by a greater preference for sitting within a group as opposed to sitting alone. Mortality salience actually led to increased affiliation with a worldview-threatening group (Experiments 1-2), even when affiliation with the group forced participants to attack their own worldviews (Experiment 3). Taken together, the findings support a distinct role of affiliation defenses against existential concerns. Moreover, affiliation defenses seem powerful enough to override worldview validation defenses, even when the worldviews in question are personally relevant and highly accessible.
Article
Although touch is one of the most neglected modalities of communication, several lines of research bear on the important communicative functions served by the modality. The authors highlighted the importance of touch by reviewing and synthesizing the literatures pertaining to the communicative functions served by touch among humans, nonhuman primates, and rats. In humans, the authors focused on the role that touch plays in emotional communication, attachment, bonding, compliance, power, intimacy, hedonics, and liking. In nonhuman primates, the authors examined the relations among touch and status, stress, reconciliation, sexual relations, and attachment. In rats, the authors focused on the role that touch plays in emotion, learning and memory, novelty seeking, stress, and attachment. The authors also highlighted the potential phylogenetic and ontogenetic continuities and discussed suggestions for future research.
Experimental existential psychology: Coping with the facts of life
  • T Pyszczynski
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Pyszczynski, T., Greenberg, J., Solomon, S., & Koole, S. L. (2010). Experimental existential psychology: Coping with the facts of life. In D. T. Gilbert & S. T. Fiske (Eds.), Handbook of social psychology (Vol. 1, pp. 724-760). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Persönlichkeits-Stil-und-StörungsInventar (PSSI) [Personality Styles and Disorders Inventory]
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Kuhl, J., & Kazén, M. (1997). Persönlichkeits-Stil-und-StörungsInventar (PSSI) [Personality Styles and Disorders Inventory]. Göttingen, Germany: Hogrefe.
An embodied account of self-other "overlap" and its effects
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Smith, E. R. (2008). An embodied account of self-other "overlap" and its effects. In G. R. Semin & E. R. Smith (Eds.), Embodied grounding: Social, cognitive, affective, and neuroscientific approaches (pp. 148-159). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions The denial of death Oxytocin promotes human ethnocentrism
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Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Becker, E. (1973). The denial of death. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. De Dreu, C. K. W., Greer, L. L., Van Kleef, G. A., Shalvi, S., & Handgraaf, M. J. J. (2011). Oxytocin promotes human ethnocentrism. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 108, 1262–1266.
A shortened version of the Profile of Mood States
  • S Shacham
Shacham, S. (1983). A shortened version of the Profile of Mood States. Journal of Personality Assessment, 47, 305–306.
Oxytocin promotes human ethnocentrism
  • De Dreu
  • C K W Greer
  • L L Van Kleef
  • G A Shalvi
  • S Handgraaf
De Dreu, C. K. W., Greer, L. L., Van Kleef, G. A., Shalvi, S., & Handgraaf, M. J. J. (2011). Oxytocin promotes human ethnocentrism. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 108, 1262–1266.
Persönlichkeits-Stil-und-Störungs-Inventar (PSSI)
  • J Kuhl
  • M Kazén
Kuhl, J., & Kazén, M. (1997). Persönlichkeits-Stil-und-Störungs-Inventar (PSSI) [Personality Styles and Disorders Inventory].