The effects of implicit and explicit affiliation motives on vagal activity in motive-relevant situations
We investigated the independent and interactive effects of the implicit need for affiliation (nAFF) and the explicit self-attributed need for affiliation (sanAFF) on parasympathetic vagal activity (indexed via heart rate variability) in three motive-relevant situations: in a socioevaluative stress situation (N = 49), in a socially ambiguous situation (N = 50), and during socially supported recovery from stress (both subsamples). Vagal activity has been linked with self-regulation and social engagement. Vagal withdrawal has been found to accompany stress responses, whereas vagal advance has been found to accompany attenuated stress and affiliative behavior. Response surface analyses in the current study revealed additive but opposite effects on vagal activity for nAFF (vagal advance) and sanAFF (vagal withdrawal) during the socioevaluative stress situation, high nAFF and low sanAFF incongruence predicted vagal withdrawal in the socially ambiguous situation, and sanAFF predicted vagal advance during socially supported recovery from stress. We suggest that assessing reactions to motive-relevant stress situations represents a profitable approach for investigating the differential effects of implicit and explicit motives.
KeywordsImplicit need for affiliation Explicit need for affiliation Heart rate variability Response Surface analysis Polyvagal theory
We would like to thank Christine Altstötter-Gleich and Anette Hiemisch for valuable comments on an earlier version of this article.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in the current study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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