Threatened by the Unexpected

Physiological Responses During Social Interactions With Expectancy-Violating Partners

Wendy Berry Mendes, Jim Blascovich, Sarah B. Hunter, Brian Lickel, John T. Jost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Individuals who violate expectations increase uncertainty during social interactions. Three experiments explored whether expectancy-violating partners engender "threat" responses in perceivers. Participants interacted with confederates who violated or confirmed expectations while multiple measures were assessed, including cardiovascular reactivity, task performance, appraisals, and behavior. In Experiments 1 and 2, participants interacted with White or Latino confederates who described their family backgrounds as either high or low socioeconomic status. In Experiment 3, participants interacted with Asian or White confederates who spoke with expected accents or southern accents. Participants interacting with expectancy-violating partners (e.g., Asians with southern accents) exhibited cardiovascular responses consistent with threat, poorer task performance, and manifested negative and defeat-related behavior. Implications for decreasing prejudicial responses via uncertainty reduction are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)698-716
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume92
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2007

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Sodium Glutamate
Interpersonal Relations
Task Performance and Analysis
Uncertainty
interaction
experiment
uncertainty
threat
Hispanic Americans
Social Class
performance
social status

Keywords

  • cardiovascular reactivity
  • challenge and threat
  • expectancy violations
  • uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

Threatened by the Unexpected : Physiological Responses During Social Interactions With Expectancy-Violating Partners. / Mendes, Wendy Berry; Blascovich, Jim; Hunter, Sarah B.; Lickel, Brian; Jost, John T.

In: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 92, No. 4, 04.2007, p. 698-716.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Mendes, Wendy Berry ; Blascovich, Jim ; Hunter, Sarah B. ; Lickel, Brian ; Jost, John T. / Threatened by the Unexpected : Physiological Responses During Social Interactions With Expectancy-Violating Partners. In: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 2007 ; Vol. 92, No. 4. pp. 698-716.
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