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Choking under pressure: Does it get easier with age? How loneliness affects social monitoring across the life span

Pearce, E; Barreto, M; Victor, C; Hammond, C; Eccles, AM; Richins, MT; O’Neil, A; ... Qualter, P; + view all (2020) Choking under pressure: Does it get easier with age? How loneliness affects social monitoring across the life span. International Journal of Behavioral Development 10.1177/0165025420979369. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Previous experimental work showed that young adults reporting loneliness performed less well on emotion recognition tasks (Diagnostic Analysis of Nonverbal Accuracy [DANVA-2]) if they were framed as indicators of social aptitude, but not when the same tasks were framed as indexing academic aptitude. Such findings suggested that undergraduates reporting loneliness possessed the social monitoring skills necessary to read the emotions underlying others’ facial expressions, but that they choked under social pressure. It has also been found that undergraduates reporting loneliness have better recall for both positive and negative social information than their non-lonely counterparts. Whether those effects are evident across different age groups has not been examined. Using data from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Loneliness Experiment that included participants aged 16–99 years (N ¼ 54,060), we (i) test for replication in a larger worldwide sample and (ii) extend those linear model analyses to other age groups. We found only effects for participants aged 25–34 years: In this age group, loneliness was associated with increased recall of negative individual information, and with choking under social pressure during the emotion recognition task; those effects were small. We did not find any such effects among participants in other age groups. Our findings suggest that different cognitive processes may be associated with loneliness in different age groups, highlighting the importance of life-course approaches in this area.

Type: Article
Title: Choking under pressure: Does it get easier with age? How loneliness affects social monitoring across the life span
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0165025420979369
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/0165025420979369
Language: English
Additional information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages
Keywords: Cognitive bias, emotion recognition, loneliness, social cognitions, social skills
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10118914
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