Neural and Behavioral Effects of Social Exclusion on Self-Regulatory Control

Anna C. Moczynski, '16, Jason R. Themanson

Research output: Other contribution


Research indicates that social exclusion has negative effects across behavioral and emotional domains. Recent studies found that exclusionary events diminish levels of neural activity and task accuracy, suggesting that processes used for self-regulation during social events and cognitive tasks share a neural framework. The current study implements a time-estimation task as the cognitive performance outcome measure, providing insights on how social exclusion affects self-regulation during a cognitive task with ongoing feedback. Recognizing the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) as being involved in self regulation, this study examines two indices of ACC activation --- the feedback related negativity (FRN) and the N2 --- following a social event created by the Cyberball paradigm. Results revealed that social exclusion affected behavioral activity such that task accuracy and reaction times did not improve on the second cognitive task for excluded participants whereas these performance variables did improve for included participants. We found a negative relationship between neural behavior during the social task and neural behavior on the subsequent cognitive task. These findings provide evidence for social exclusion's disruptive effect on self-regulatory resources.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2016


  • Psychology

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