CyberStatus: Responses to status manipulation and fears of positive and negative evaluations

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Fear of positive evaluation (FPE) and fear of negative evaluation (FNE), which play distinct and central roles in social anxiety (SA), are postulated to reflect conflicting forces in hierarchal group contexts. Yet, experimental studies testing these assumptions are scarce. We examined the impact of status positions on FPE, FNE, and SA using a novel manipulation, CyberStatus. Participants (N = 557) provided self-descriptive statements before being randomly assigned to high, intermediate, or low-status conditions. Next, they reported their emotions, status, and belongingness-related cognitions and adjusted their self-presentation. FPE was more strongly linked to self-presentation modifications in the high- compared to intermediate-status conditions and positively associated with perceived status in the low vs. intermediate conditions. Furthermore, FPE and SA were more linked to belongingness in low vs. intermediate status conditions while FNE demonstrated the reversed pattern. These findings support and expand the evolutionary perspective on evaluation fears and emphasize the importance of assessing the linkage between status and belongingness systems in SA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102845
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
StatePublished - Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Elsevier Ltd


The authors thank Neta Bareket and Roey Peleg for their assistance with manipulation creation.

FundersFunder number
Neta Bareket and Roey Peleg


    • Belongingness
    • Evolutionary psychology
    • Fear of negative evaluation
    • Fear of positive evaluation
    • Social anxiety
    • Social status


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