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      Ostracism

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      Annual Review of Psychology

      Annual Reviews

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          Abstract

          In this review, I examine the social psychological research on ostracism, social exclusion, and rejection. Being ignored, excluded, and/or rejected signals a threat for which reflexive detection in the form of pain and distress is adaptive for survival. Brief ostracism episodes result in sadness and anger and threaten fundamental needs. Individuals then act to fortify or replenish their thwarted need or needs. Behavioral consequences appear to be split into two general categories: attempts to fortify relational needs (belonging, self-esteem, shared understanding, and trust), which lead generally to prosocial thoughts and behaviors, or attempts to fortify efficacy/existence needs of control and recognition that may be dealt with most efficiently through antisocial thoughts and behaviors. Available research on chronic exposure to ostracism appears to deplete coping resources, resulting in depression and helplessness.

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          Most cited references 58

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          Does rejection hurt? An FMRI study of social exclusion.

          A neuroimaging study examined the neural correlates of social exclusion and tested the hypothesis that the brain bases of social pain are similar to those of physical pain. Participants were scanned while playing a virtual ball-tossing game in which they were ultimately excluded. Paralleling results from physical pain studies, the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) was more active during exclusion than during inclusion and correlated positively with self-reported distress. Right ventral prefrontal cortex (RVPFC) was active during exclusion and correlated negatively with self-reported distress. ACC changes mediated the RVPFC-distress correlation, suggesting that RVPFC regulates the distress of social exclusion by disrupting ACC activity.
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            Why does social exclusion hurt? The relationship between social and physical pain.

            The authors forward the hypothesis that social exclusion is experienced as painful because reactions to rejection are mediated by aspects of the physical pain system. The authors begin by presenting the theory that overlap between social and physical pain was an evolutionary development to aid social animals in responding to threats to inclusion. The authors then review evidence showing that humans demonstrate convergence between the 2 types of pain in thought, emotion, and behavior, and demonstrate, primarily through nonhuman animal research, that social and physical pain share common physiological mechanisms. Finally, the authors explore the implications of social pain theory for rejection-elicited aggression and physical pain disorders.
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              How low can you go? Ostracism by a computer is sufficient to lower self-reported levels of belonging, control, self-esteem, and meaningful existence

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Annual Review of Psychology
                Annu. Rev. Psychol.
                Annual Reviews
                0066-4308
                1545-2085
                January 2007
                January 2007
                : 58
                : 1
                : 425-452
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907; email:
                Article
                10.1146/annurev.psych.58.110405.085641
                16968209
                © 2007

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