ISSN : 2733-4538
When people judge how competent others are in society, the judgement highly depends on the social context. The objective of this study is to confirm whether the levels of social anxiety symptoms influence the contextual effect on people’s judgement toward others’ social competence. In the experiment, a total of 120 individuals (60 males, 60 females) completed self-report scales about social anxiety and depression. The participants made responses about their target’s social competence when they were shown the target’s neutral expression either with the target alone or with the presence of two additional observers’ staring at the target. The observers exposed facial expressions of either joyful, angry, neutral or disgust, either for 500 ms or until response. Results showed that the effect of the observer’s emotional expression was proportional to the duration. Especially, when the levels of social anxiety symptoms were high, male participants judged the target to be more competent with the presence of neutral or joyful observers, whereas female participants judged the target to be more incompetent with the presence of angry, disgust or neutral observers. The results indicate that the contextual effects on judgement of social competence depend on the duration of exposure, level of social anxiety, and especially, gender difference.
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