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Moral fixations: The role of moral integrity and social anxiety in the selective avoidance of social threat.
Biol Psychol. 2017 01; 122:51-58.BP

Abstract

People derive their sense of belonging from perceptions of being a moral person. Research moreover suggests that social cues of rejection rapidly influence visual scanning, and result in avoidant gaze behavior, especially in socially anxious individuals. With the current eye-tracking experiment, we therefore examined whether moral integrity threats and affirmations influence selective avoidance of social threat, and how this varies with individual differences in social anxiety. Fifty-nine participants retrieved a memory of a past immoral, moral, or neutral act. Next, participants passively viewed angry, happy, and neutral faces, while we recorded how often they first fixated on the eyes. In addition, we administered the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (1987). Participants first fixated less on angry eyes compared to happy or neutral eyes when their moral integrity was threatened, and this selective avoidance was enhanced with increasing social anxiety. Following a moral affirmation, however, participants no longer selectively avoided the eyes of angry faces, regardless of individual differences in social anxiety. The results thus suggest that both low and high socially anxious people adjust their social gaze behavior in response to threats and affirmations of their moral integrity, pointing to the importance of the social context when considering affective processing biases.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Leiden University, The Netherlands. Electronic address: dillenlfvan@fsw.leidenuniv.nl.Leiden University, The Netherlands; Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands.Leiden University, The Netherlands.Leiden University, The Netherlands.University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Amsterdam Brain Cognition, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

26840498

Citation

Van Dillen, Lotte F., et al. "Moral Fixations: the Role of Moral Integrity and Social Anxiety in the Selective Avoidance of Social Threat." Biological Psychology, vol. 122, 2017, pp. 51-58.
Van Dillen LF, Enter D, Peters LP, et al. Moral fixations: The role of moral integrity and social anxiety in the selective avoidance of social threat. Biol Psychol. 2017;122:51-58.
Van Dillen, L. F., Enter, D., Peters, L. P., van Dijk, W. W., & Rotteveel, M. (2017). Moral fixations: The role of moral integrity and social anxiety in the selective avoidance of social threat. Biological Psychology, 122, 51-58. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2016.01.016
Van Dillen LF, et al. Moral Fixations: the Role of Moral Integrity and Social Anxiety in the Selective Avoidance of Social Threat. Biol Psychol. 2017;122:51-58. PubMed PMID: 26840498.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Moral fixations: The role of moral integrity and social anxiety in the selective avoidance of social threat. AU - Van Dillen,Lotte F, AU - Enter,Dorien, AU - Peters,Leonie P M, AU - van Dijk,Wilco W, AU - Rotteveel,Mark, Y1 - 2016/02/01/ PY - 2015/07/06/received PY - 2016/01/22/revised PY - 2016/01/28/accepted PY - 2016/2/4/pubmed PY - 2017/8/23/medline PY - 2016/2/4/entrez KW - Emotional expression KW - Eye-tracking KW - Moral integrity KW - Social anxiety SP - 51 EP - 58 JF - Biological psychology JO - Biol Psychol VL - 122 N2 - People derive their sense of belonging from perceptions of being a moral person. Research moreover suggests that social cues of rejection rapidly influence visual scanning, and result in avoidant gaze behavior, especially in socially anxious individuals. With the current eye-tracking experiment, we therefore examined whether moral integrity threats and affirmations influence selective avoidance of social threat, and how this varies with individual differences in social anxiety. Fifty-nine participants retrieved a memory of a past immoral, moral, or neutral act. Next, participants passively viewed angry, happy, and neutral faces, while we recorded how often they first fixated on the eyes. In addition, we administered the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (1987). Participants first fixated less on angry eyes compared to happy or neutral eyes when their moral integrity was threatened, and this selective avoidance was enhanced with increasing social anxiety. Following a moral affirmation, however, participants no longer selectively avoided the eyes of angry faces, regardless of individual differences in social anxiety. The results thus suggest that both low and high socially anxious people adjust their social gaze behavior in response to threats and affirmations of their moral integrity, pointing to the importance of the social context when considering affective processing biases. SN - 1873-6246 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/26840498/Moral_fixations:_The_role_of_moral_integrity_and_social_anxiety_in_the_selective_avoidance_of_social_threat_ DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -