Social proximity has since ever been evaluated as positive. However, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically reduced our social relations to avoid spreading the contagion. The present study aims to investigate people's current assessment of social proximity by using an affective priming paradigm (APP). We hypothesized that if our evaluation of social proximity is positive, then words with positive valence (e.g., relaxed) should be processed faster when preceded by images of social proximity than social distancing. On the contrary, if our evaluation of social proximity is turning negative, then words with a negative valence (e.g., sad) should be processed faster when preceded by images of social proximity than social distancing. To this end, we presented participants with prime images showing line drawings representing humans in situations of proximity or distancing and asked them to evaluate the valence (i.e., positive or negative) of a subsequent target word. In a follow-up session, the same participants evaluated the prime images as being positively or negatively valenced. Results showed that a large subset of participants who rated the prime images of social proximity as positive also processed positive words faster when these were preceded by images of social proximity than social distancing. Conversely, a smaller subset of participants who rated the prime images of social proximity as less positive processed negative words faster when these were preceded by images of social proximity than social distancing. These results suggest individual differences in the assessment of social proximity likely driven by the pandemic.

Assessing Interpersonal Proximity Evaluation in the COVID-19 Era: Evidence From the Affective Priming Task

Scerrati, Elisa
;
D'Ascenzo, Stefania;Nicoletti, Roberto;Villani, Caterina;Lugli, Luisa
2022

Abstract

Social proximity has since ever been evaluated as positive. However, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically reduced our social relations to avoid spreading the contagion. The present study aims to investigate people's current assessment of social proximity by using an affective priming paradigm (APP). We hypothesized that if our evaluation of social proximity is positive, then words with positive valence (e.g., relaxed) should be processed faster when preceded by images of social proximity than social distancing. On the contrary, if our evaluation of social proximity is turning negative, then words with a negative valence (e.g., sad) should be processed faster when preceded by images of social proximity than social distancing. To this end, we presented participants with prime images showing line drawings representing humans in situations of proximity or distancing and asked them to evaluate the valence (i.e., positive or negative) of a subsequent target word. In a follow-up session, the same participants evaluated the prime images as being positively or negatively valenced. Results showed that a large subset of participants who rated the prime images of social proximity as positive also processed positive words faster when these were preceded by images of social proximity than social distancing. Conversely, a smaller subset of participants who rated the prime images of social proximity as less positive processed negative words faster when these were preceded by images of social proximity than social distancing. These results suggest individual differences in the assessment of social proximity likely driven by the pandemic.
Scerrati, Elisa; D'Ascenzo, Stefania; Nicoletti, Roberto; Villani, Caterina; Lugli, Luisa
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/895347
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