Low relational mobility leads to greater motivation to understand enemies but not friends and acquaintances

Man Wai LI, Takahiko MASUDA, Hajin LEE

Research output: Contribution to journalArticles

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Enemyship occurs across societies, but it has not received as much attention as other types of relationships such as friendship in previous research. This research examined the influence of relational mobility on people's motivation to understand their personal enemies by measuring different dependent variables across three studies. First, a cross‐cultural comparison study found that Hong Kong Chinese, from a low‐relational‐mobility society, reported a stronger desire to seek proximity to enemies relative to European Canadians, from a high‐relational‐mobility society (Study 1). To test causality, two manipulation studies were conducted. Participants were presented with images of co‐workers, including enemies, friends, and acquaintances, in a hypothetical company. The results showed that the participants who perceived lower relational mobility paid more attention to their enemies in an eye‐tracking task (Study 2) and had a higher accuracy rate for recognizing the faces of the enemies in an incidental memory test (Study 3). In contrast, the influence of relational mobility on motivation to understand friends and acquaintances was minimal. Implications for research on interpersonal relationships and relational mobility are discussed. Copyright © 2017 The British Psychological Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-60
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Volume57
Issue number1
Early online dateAug 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Citation

Li, L. M. W., Masuda, T., & Lee, H. (2018). Low relational mobility leads to greater motivation to understand enemies but not friends and acquaintances. British Journal of Social Psychology, 57(1), 43-60. doi: 10.1111/bjso.12216

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