Social motivation is associated with increased weight granted to cooperation-related impressions in face evaluation tasks
US : Public Library of Science
It is a trope in psychological science to define the human species as inherently social. Yet, despite its key role in human behaviour, the mechanisms by which social bonding actually shapes social behaviour have not been fully characterized. Across six studies, we show that the motivation for social bonding does not indiscriminately increase individuals' willingness to approach others but that it is instead associated with specific variations in social evaluations. Studies 1-4 demonstrate that social motivation is associated with a larger importance granted to cooperation-related impressions, i.e. perceived trustworthiness, during social evaluations. Studies 5 and 6 further reveal that this weighting difference leads strongly socially motivated participants to approach more partners that are perceived as both dominant and trustworthy. Taken together, our results provide support for the idea that humans' social motivation is associated with specific social preferences that could favour successful cooperative interactions and a widening of people's cooperative circle.