According to the sociometer hypothesis individuals with low self-esteem experience increased negative affect in response to negative social stimuli, even when these stimuli are not perceived consciously. Using an affective priming paradigm, the present study examined whether trait self-esteem would moderate mood following briefly presented facial expressions. Results from 43 undergraduates revealed that, after controlling for baseline mood, anxiety and depression, the degree of negative affect experienced by the participants following exposure to expressions of anger and disgust varied as a function of their self-esteem. Implications for individuals with low-self esteem and our understanding of the link between self-esteem and negative affect are discussed.
Bibliographical noteNOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of research in personality. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Richter, A & Ridout, N, 'Self-esteem moderates affective reactions to briefly presented emotional faces', Journal of research in personality, vol 45, no. 3 (2011) DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2011.02.008
- affective priming
- implicit processing
- negative affect
- emotional facial expressions