University of New Hampshire
Mentor: Edward Lemay, UNH Department of Psychology
Providing Negative Feedback to Highly Insecure People
Individuals who are chronically insecure tend to be sensitive to rejection and threatened by negative feedback. The current research will examine how people respond to such insecure people. We predicted that, given this sensitivity and proneness to threat, that participants will provide exaggerated and inauthentic positive feedback in an effort to avoid negative interactions. Participants will evaluate a piece of poor quality writing—fabricated by experimenter—that is believed to be produced by a fake interaction partner portrayed as either insecure or secure. These evaluations will either be public (viewed by the interaction partner) or private (not viewed by the interaction partner). We predict a two-way interaction between security and observability of evaluations. Participants should provide more positive feedback to insecure partners relative to secure partners when evaluations are observable to the partner, but not when they are private. Such a pattern would suggest that people tend to “walk on eggshells” around insecure people by providing inauthentic positive feedback.