Social Learning Following Social Interactions



Bayne, Megan

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This research explored the effect of social interactions on social learning. Previous research has indicated that our tendency to approach rewarding social cues or avoid negative social cues can interfere with our ability to learn from social feedback (Cavanaugh, 2013). In this study we examined if these tendencies are dependent on our social motivational state. The study consisted of two parts: part one of this study used an online ball-tossing game, Cyberball, as a social exclusion task, part two of this study used a social rejection picture task as a negative social interaction. The control for both parts involved a neutral social interaction. Both tasks were followed immediately by a reinforcement learning task which utilizes Pavlovian biases. Part one and two of the study were analyzed separately using a mixed ANOVA. The results of this test were hypothesized to show a significant increase in accuracy on the withdrawal trials of the Pavlovian influence task following a negative social interaction. There was no effect found from the social motivational state on Pavlovian reinforcement, however, results did point to an approach bias within individuals. The findings from this study contribute to our understanding of motivational influences on learning from the feedback of other people.



Social learning, Pavlovian bias, Rejection, Cyberball