Social motives, attributions and expectations as predictors of the decision to participate in a speed-dating event

  • Jana NikitinEmail author
  • Xianmin Gong
  • Simone Schoch
  • Alexandra M. Freund
Original Paper


Two studies investigated the role of dispositional social approach and avoidance motives (i.e., what people generally desire and fear in social relationships) for the decision to participate in a speed-dating event. In a sample of N = 205 college students (Study 1), approach motives were positively and avoidance motives negatively associated with the decision to participate in a speed-dating event. Focusing on the underlying processes, Study 2 (N = 153) showed that approach and avoidance motives were differentially associated with attributions of acceptance and rejection experienced in a previous speed-dating scenario. The higher participants’ approach motives were, the more they attributed acceptance to internal, stable, and global causes. Conversely, the higher participants’ avoidance motives were, the more they attributed rejection to internal, stable, and global causes. Attributions, in turn, predicted expectations for an upcoming speed-dating event, and positive expectations positively predicted decision for participating in the speed-dating event. Thus, what people generally desire and fear in social relationships influence relationship initiation through differential attributions of previous social success and failure and thereby expectations for the upcoming social events.


Relationship initiation Motivation Attributions Expectations Speed-dating 



This research was supported by Grant 100014_126868/1 (Project “Social Approach and Avoidance Motivation—The Role of Age”) from the Swiss National Science Foundation (PIs: Jana Nikitin and Alexandra M. Freund). Data of Study 1 were collected by Angela Ruckstuhl in the context of her master thesis.

Supplementary material

11031_2019_9762_MOESM1_ESM.docx (132 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 132 KB)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Zurich University of Teacher EducationZurichSwitzerland
  4. 4.University Research Priority Program Dynamics of Healthy AgingUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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