Social support can provide a buffer to the negative consequences of stress. Previous research suggests that stress can promote affiliative and cooperative behaviours in those who are stressed. Here we examined how stress might influence who we choose to affiliate with. We measured preferences for friendships with friendly appearing feminized faces versus less friendly appearing masculinized faces after individuals undertook a stressful laboratory task. Stressed individuals had increased preferences for friendships with people with feminine faces. These data demonstrate that individuals prefer more friendly appearing feminine faced people as friends when stressed than when not stressed. This preference is likely adaptive in directing individuals towards others who are most likely to provide social support when it is needed and so reflect strategic friendship preferences.
- Social support
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology