Emotional Reactions to Facial Expressions in Social Anxiety: A Meta-Analysis of Self-Reports

Yogev Kivity*, Jonathan D. Huppert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The current meta-analysis reviews 24 studies on self-reported emotional reactions to facial expressions (social rejection, social acceptance, and neutral) in socially anxious versus nonanxious individuals. We hypothesized that socially anxious individuals would perceive all face types as less approachable, more negative, and more arousing. After correcting for biases, results showed that socially anxious individuals, compared to controls, reported lower approachability to all types of expressions and higher arousal in response to neutral expressions. Variances among effects usually could not be explained by the proposed moderators. This suggests that current conceptualizations of social anxiety should take into account the willingness to approach social stimuli rather than global measures of emotion or arousal.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)367-375
Number of pages9
JournalEmotion Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2015.


  • approachability
  • arousal
  • emotion
  • facial expressions
  • social anxiety
  • valence


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