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Social reward and threat processing

Crawford, Bonni 2015. Social reward and threat processing. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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The aim of this project was to investigate the relationships between individual differences in social expectancies and motivation, and how these relate to broader personality traits and to social integration outcomes such as individuals’ sense of belonging. A cognitive model of social motivation and reactivity to social feedback was proposed. In this model, generalised expectancies are considered to play a pivotal role in motivating human social behaviour. Two novel measures were developed: the levels of dispositional expectancies of social threat and reward scale (the LODESTARS) and a task-based measure of social motivation and reactivity to social reward and punishment (the social and monetary incentive delay (SMID) task). Rigorous validation studies were employed to ensure the validity and utility of these measures. The research reported in this thesis employed multiple methods: self-report, task-based measures, and structural and functional (blood oxygenation-level-dependent; BOLD) neuroimaging. The findings of all studies conducted supported the key proposal that dispositional biases in expectancies of social reward and punishment are critical for understanding individual differences in reactivity to social feedback and social outcomes such as loneliness. In the proposed model, expectancies exert their effects both by informing social approach and avoidance motivations and by directly influencing perceptions of and reactions to social cues. Convergent findings from the multiple modalities employed were consistent with both these proposed mechanisms.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Publication
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Social neuroscience; Brain imaging; Emotion regulation; Expectancies; Reward; Threat; Punishment; Motivation
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 May 2016
Date of Acceptance: 17 May 2016
Last Modified: 02 May 2019 11:37

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