October 4, 2013 at 8:31 am

Psychology Colloquium: Transcending Social Threat, Oct. 4

The Psychology Department welcomes Dominik Mischkowski of The Ohio State University to present a colloquium on Friday, Oct. 4, at 11:50 a.m. in Porter Hall 102. Mischkowski’s talk is on “Transcending Social Threat.” All are welcome and invited to attend.

“Emotional pain is an essential part of life. One of the most influential causes of emotional pain is social threat, such as in the form of rejection or interpersonal provocation. Past research has shown that social threat impairs affective, cognitive, and social functioning: Social threat increases anxiety and aggression, and reduces self-control, intellectual thought, and prosocial behavior,” Mischkowski says in his abstract.

“My research focuses on two fundamental, yet related, questions: (1) What is the mechanism underneath the heterogeneous consequences of social exclusion as an example of social threat, and (2) how can people transcend the negative effects of social threat on reduced affective, cognitive, and social functioning?

“My research suggests that reduced working memory capacity, or the ability to effectively control attention (Engle, 2002), underlies the effects of social exclusion on reduced intellectual performance and prosocial behavior, and that interventions designed to transcend the self, specifically self-distancing and the affirmation of self-transcendent values, protect against the effect of provocation on increased aggression and the effect of social exclusion on reduced self-control. My findings indicate that WMC may be a core mechanism explaining the effects of social exclusion, and that interventions based on transcending the self are effective in protecting people from the negative consequences of social threats.”

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