The Language of Being Alone and Being with Others

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3 Scopus citations


This article explores people s perception of their experience while being alone or being with others. To that aim, data from nine studies (total N = 1,717) were meta-analyzed. In each study, participants performed a sentence-completion task referring to their experience alone/"with others". The responses were analyzed using a text analysis software. Results showed that in a "with others"(vs. alone) mindset, people are more focused on the present, and less focused on the past or the future. When "with others,"more anxiety but less sadness is expressed. Social motives - affiliation and power - are more pronounced in the "with others"mindset, whereas leisure activities are salient in the alone mindset. Conclusions are derived regarding the nature of the experience in these basic conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-22
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

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© 2020 Hogrefe Publishing.


  • aloneness
  • mindset
  • social presence
  • solitude
  • text analysis


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