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      Loneliness and the social monitoring system: Emotion recognition and eye gaze in a real-life conversation.

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          Abstract

          Based on the belongingness regulation theory (Gardner et al., 2005, Pers. Soc. Psychol. Bull., 31, 1549), this study focuses on the relationship between loneliness and social monitoring. Specifically, we examined whether loneliness relates to performance on three emotion recognition tasks and whether lonely individuals show increased gazing towards their conversation partner's faces in a real-life conversation. Study 1 examined 170 college students (Mage = 19.26; SD = 1.21) who completed an emotion recognition task with dynamic stimuli (morph task) and a micro(-emotion) expression recognition task. Study 2 examined 130 college students (Mage = 19.33; SD = 2.00) who completed the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test and who had a conversation with an unfamiliar peer while their gaze direction was videotaped. In both studies, loneliness was measured using the UCLA Loneliness Scale version 3 (Russell, 1996, J. Pers. Assess., 66, 20). The results showed that loneliness was unrelated to emotion recognition on all emotion recognition tasks, but that it was related to increased gaze towards their conversation partner's faces. Implications for the belongingness regulation system of lonely individuals are discussed.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Br J Psychol
          British journal of psychology (London, England : 1953)
          0007-1269
          0007-1269
          Feb 2016
          : 107
          : 1
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
          [2 ] Research Group School Psychology and Child and Adolescent Development, KU Leuven - University of Leuven, Belgium.
          Article
          10.1111/bjop.12131
          25854912
          © 2015 The British Psychological Society.

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