Increased sensitivity towards male angry face by social rejection, mediated by basic psychological needs

Tze Kwan KAM

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis


Objectives: This experimental study investigated the effect of social rejection on sensitivity towards emotional expressions. The mediating effects by social rejection-induced social statestress and the mediating effects by threat to basic psychological needs were investigated. Methods: 256 participants recruited from the Mechanical Turk of Amazon online survey system were randomly assigned into rejection group and acceptance group. They were asked to recall past experience of rejection/acceptance for manipulation, followed by self-report questionnaires including STAI-Y Scale and Need Threat Scale to assess the perceived level of state-stress and the threat to basic psychological needs respectively. They were then asked to perform a face stimuli test to record their threshold of recognition of each of the six emotional expressions including anger, happiness, fear, surprise, sadness and disgust. Results: The data showed significant result in which the rejection-primed participants were more sensitive to male angry face. The composite of basic psychological needs (belonging, self-esteem, meaningful existence and control) was found to be significantly mediating the effect of social rejection on sensitivity to male angry expression. The perceived level of state-stress was not significant in mediating the effect of social rejection on sensitivity to male angry expression. Conclusions: Results showed that social rejection causes increase in sensitivity towards male angry expression which is mediated by basic psychological needs. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018



  • Social rejection
  • Ostracism
  • Emotional expression
  • Sensitivity
  • Facial expression
  • Social stress
  • Basic psychological needs
  • Need threat
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Thesis (M.Soc.Sc(Psy))--The Education University of Hong Kong, 2018.