Group Processes & Intergroup Relations vol:15 issue:4 pages:523-538
Prejudice expectations and other interpersonal rejection concerns have been found to direct attention towards social evaluative information. In some studies, rejection concerns have been found to direct attention towards social acceptance cues, whereas other studies have found an attention bias towards social rejection cues. In the present article we argue that these attention biases constitute promotion- (vs. prevention-) oriented strategies to deal with concerns about how one is evaluated. In support of this notion, a first study demonstrated that prejudice expectations direct attention towards male faces signaling happiness (vs. contempt) among women with a chronic promotion focus, but not among women with a chronic prevention focus. A second study demonstrated that the effect generalizes to subliminally presented acceptance-related (vs. nonsocial, sexist) words, and when a promotion (vs. prevention) focus had been experimentally induced. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.