Publication Date

2012

Abstract

Our perception of how others expect us to feel has significant implications for our emotional functioning. Across 4 studies the authors demonstrate that when people think others expect them not to feel negative emotions (i.e., sadness) they experience more negative emotion and reduced well-being. The authors show that perceived social expectancies predict these differences in emotion and well-being both more consistently than—and independently of—personal expectancies and that they do so by promoting negative self-evaluation when experiencing negative emotion. We find evidence for these effects within Australia (Studies 1 and 2) as well as Japan (Study 2), although the effects of social expectancies are especially evident in the former (Studies 1 and 2). We also find experimental evidence for the causal role of social expectancies in negative emotional responses to negative emotional events (Studies 3 and 4). In short, when people perceive that others think they should feel happy, and not sad, this leads them to feel sad more frequently and intensely.

Document Type

Journal Article

Access Rights

ERA Access

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