Data for: Behavioral tendencies when socially anxious individuals expect to be (dis)liked: the role of self-disclosure and mimicry in the development of likeability

Published: 26-05-2020| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/2b29rjz9fy.1
Marisol Voncken,
Wolf-Gero Lange,
Jeffrey Roelofs,
Lizzy Boots,
Corine Dijk


Abstract Background and Objectives: This study aimed to unravel the relationship between socially anxious individuals’ expectation of being (dis)liked and actual likeability by looking at the mediation role of social behavior. Both more strategic self-disclosure and more automatic mimicry were examined. Method: Female participants (N=91) with various levels of social anxiety participated in a social task with a confederate. Before the task, participants rated their expectation of being liked by the confederate. Different sets of video-observers rated the likeability of the participants before and after the social task and their level of self-disclosure and mimicry. Results: Social anxiety was negatively related to the expectation to be liked. Social anxiety did not relate to observer ratings of likeability, self-disclosure and mimicry but social anxiety did moderate the relation between expectations and self-disclosure. As expected participants with low levels of social anxiety disclosed more if they expected to be liked. However, the reversed was found for the high socially anxious participants, a higher expectation of being liked related to less self-disclosure. Limitations: The study used an analogue female sample. Our social task was highly structured and does not represent informal day-to-day social interaction. Conclusion: Socially anxious individuals function rather well in highly structured social tasks. No support was found for likeability problems or disrupted mimicry. Nevertheless, high socially anxious individuals did have a cognitive bias and show a self-protective strategy: when expecting a neutral judgment they reduce their level of self-disclosure. This pattern probably adds to their feelings of social disconnectedness.