心理学年度评论2013-09-05 2:57 AM

Neuroticism as distancing: Perceptual sources of evidence

Several theories and self-reported sources of data link individual differences in negative affectivity to avoidance motivation. Chronic avoidance motivation, through repeated practice, may result in a relatively cognitive distance-enhancing dynamic whereby events and stimuli are perceived as further away from the self, even when they are not threatening. Such predictions are novel but follow from cybernetic theories of self-regulation. In 5 studies (total N = 463), relations of this type were investigated. Study 1 presented participants with phrases that were ambiguous and found that trait negative affect predicted phrase interpretation in a distance-enhancing temporal direction. Study 2 replicated this effect across a systematic manipulation of event valence. Study 3 asked individuals to estimate the size of words and found that individuals higher in neuroticism generally perceived words to be smaller than did individuals lower in neuroticism. In Study 4, people high (but not low) in neuroticism perceived words to be shrinking faster than they were growing. In Study 5, greater perceptual distancing, in a font size estimation task, predicted more adverse reactions to negative events in daily life. Although normative effects varied across studies, consistent support for a chronic distancing perspective of individual differences in negative affectivity was found.

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