Kawamoto et al. (2015)

Kawamoto, T.(川本大史), Nittono, H., & Ura, M.(浦光博) (2015).
Trait rejection sensitivity is associated with vigilance and defensive response rather than detection of social rejection cues.
Frontiers in Psychology.
doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01516
Prior studies suggest that psychological difficulties arise from higher trait rejection sensitivity (RS)—heightened vigilance and differential detection of social rejection cues and defensive response to. On the other hand, from an evolutionary perspective, rapid and efficient detection of social rejection cues can be considered beneficial. We conducted a survey and an electrophysiological experiment to reconcile this seeming contradiction. We compared the effects of RS and rejection detection capability (RDC) on perceived interpersonal experiences (Study 1) and on neurocognitive processes in response to cues of social rejection (disgusted faces; Study 2). We found that RS and RDC were not significantly related, although RS was positively related to perceived social rejection experiences and RDC was positively related to perceived social inclusion experiences. Event-related brain potentials (ERPs) revealed that higher RS was related to cognitive avoidance (i.e., P1) and heightened motivated attention (i.e., late positive potential: LPP), but not to facial expression encoding (i.e., N170) toward disgusted faces. On the other hand, higher RDC was related to heightened N170 amplitude, but not to P1 and LPP amplitudes. These findings imply that sensitivity to rejection is apparently distinct from the ability to detect social rejection cues and instead reflects intense vigilance and defensive response to those cues. We discussed an alternative explanation of the relationship between RS and RDC from a signal detection perspective.