Neural Effects of Varying Levels of Social Re-Inclusion After Varying Periods of Social Exclusion

Jessica White, '15, Jason R. Themanson

Research output: Other contribution


This thesis studied the effects of social ostracism on individuals. Specifically, how conditions of exclusion and various levels of re-inclusion affect participant's responses in terms of social pain and neural activation due to exclusion. Participants played a Cyberball paradigm (Williams et aI., 2000), developed to include and exclude the participant. Participants were assigned a varying condition of exclusion and then re-inclusion during the computerized social interaction. Event-related brain potentials in response to the game were measured via electroencephalography. It was hypothesized that the degree of exclusion would influence P3b and N2 neural activation elicited in response to the exclusion, and that complete exclusion would cause different patterns of neural activation and greater exclusion-related social distress compared to partial exclusion. Additionally, it was thought that partially excluded and then completely re-included participants would record lower P3 and N2 neural activation than those partially re-included, and in complete exclusion, level of re-inclusion would not alter recorded level of reported social distress. Dependent measures were neural activation and survey responses. Our results showed that neural activity is affected by the degree and condition of exclusion occurring during ongoing social interactions, with partial re-inclusion resulting in greater neural conflict and attentional allocation. Results will contribute to understanding the effects of ostracism, as well as provide information as to whether specific levels of social reinclusion alleviate social pain caused by exclusion.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2015


  • Psychology

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