Examining the Effects of Ostracism on Neural and Behavioral Indices of Cognitive Self-Regulation

Aaron Ball, '11, Jason R. Themanson

Research output: Other contribution


The impact of ostracism on a target individual produces a number of negative consequences, including deficits in cognitive functioning related to self-regulation and general cognition. While such effects have been acknowledged, there is a lack of literature regarding the effect of ostracism on action monitoring in particular. Action monitoring is a self-regulatory process in which participants ensure the accuracy of their responses to a task or situation, the authors hypothesized that it would be adversely affected by an experience of ostracism. The goal of the current study was to utilize event-related brain potentials to examine the relationship of these two factors. The authors hypothesized that upon experiencing an event of ostracism, participants would exhibit a decrease in action monitoring capability, observable through both neural and behavioral measures. Specifically, the authors predicted that participants who experienced ostracism would exhibit decreased error-related negativity (ERN) amplitude, as well as decreased post-error response accuracy and a slowing of response time during subsequent execution of the flanker task. Results indicated that participants who experienced social exclusion exhibited decreases in both ERN amplitude and post-error accuracy in a flanker task. These findings provide both neural and behavioral support for the experimenter’s hypothesis that the action monitoring ability of ostracized individuals is compromised by their experience of social exclusion.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2011


  • Psychology

Cite this