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Affiliative Stimuli as Primers to Prosocial Predispositions

  • Gabriela Guerra Leal Souza (a1), Mirtes Garcia Pereira (a2), Jaime Vila (a3), Leticia Oliveira (a2) and Eliane Volchan (a4)...

Affiliative stimuli are pleasant and highly biologically relevant. Affiliative cues are thought to elicit a prosocial predisposition. Here affiliative and neutral pictures were exposed prior to a reaction time task which consisted in responding to a visual target. Half the participants responded with finger-flexion, a movement frequently involved in prosocial activities. The other half responded with finger extension, a less prosocially compatible movement. Results showed that under the exposure to affiliative pictures, as compared to neutral ones, participants who used finger flexion were faster, while those using finger extension were slower. Performance benefits to the task, when flexing the finger, together with performance costs, when extending it, indicate the relevance of movement compatibility to the context. These findings put forward a possible link between affiliative primers and motor preparation to facilitate a repertoire of movements related to prosocial predispositions including finger flexion.

Los estímulos afiliativos son agradables y de gran relevancia biológica. Se cree que las señales afiliativas provocan una predisposición pro-social. En este estudio, fotos afiliativas y neutras fueron presentadas antes de una tarea de tiempo de reacción que consistía en responder a un objetivo/target visual. La mitad de los participantes respondieron utilizando dedo-flexión, un movimiento asociado con frecuencia a actividades pro-sociales. La otra mitad respondió con la extensión del dedo, un movimiento prosocialmente menos compatible. Los resultados mostraron que en la exposición a imágenes afiliativas, en comparación con las neutras, los participantes que usaron flexión del dedo eran más rápidos, mientras que aquellos que usaron extensión del dedo eran más lentos. El rendimiento superior en la tarea, en la flexion del dedo, junto con el perjuicio para el rendimiento en la extensión, son indicativos de la relevancia de la compatibilidad del movimiento con el contexto. Estos resultados presentan una posible relación entre primers afiliativos y la preparación motora que facilita un repertorio de movimientos relacionados con la predisposición prosocial, entre ellos, la flexión de los dedos.

Corresponding author
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Eliane Volchan. Instituto de Biofísica Carlos Chagas Filho, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. Av. Carlos Chagas Filho 373, Cidade Universitária, Rio de Janeiro, 21941-902 (Brazil). E-mail:
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The Spanish Journal of Psychology
  • ISSN: 1138-7416
  • EISSN: 1988-2904
  • URL: /core/journals/spanish-journal-of-psychology
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