PSYC 3430 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Collectivism, Ostracism
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Chapter 3 –Inclusion and Identity
The need to belong
•Roy Baumeister and Mark Leary argued that humans have need to belong “a pervasive
drive to form and maintain at least a minimum quantity of lasting, positive and impactful
interpersonal relationships”. They likened the need to belong to other basic needs such as
hunger or thirst.
•Henry Thoreay disagreed with Aristotle. He believes spending time alone, away from
others, can be a rejuvenating, pleasurable experience.
•But most people when isolated find there is psychological costs that come along with it.
•87.3% of Americans reported that they lived with other people, including family
members, partners and roommates.
•People also satisfy their need to belong at least temporarily by joining in larger
collectives and categories.
•Social capital: describes how rich you are in terms of interpersonal. A person with
considerable social capital is well connected to other people across a wide variety of
contexts, and these connections provide the means for him or her to accomplish both
personal and collective outcomes.
•Loneliness is not the same as being alone, for in some situations people are not trouble
by isolation or a relative sparseness of relations with others
oEmotional loneliness: occurs when the problem is a lack of long term, meaningful,
intimate relationship with another person; this type of loneliness might be triggered by
oSocial loneliness: occurs when people feel cut off from their network of friends,
acquaintances and group members.
oBoth types of loneliness create feelings of sadness, depression, emptiness, longing,
shame and self pity.
oMembers of groups with extensive interconnections among all the members were less
lonely than members of groups with less dense networks.
oThose with more connections to others survive environmental disasters, cope more
effectively with traumatic events and live longer lives.
oOnly groups that sustain stable reliable alliances among members can ward off social
loneliness and groups that connect people together in an intimate, meaningful way
reduce feelings of emotional loneliness
oBy measuring loneliness at different times, researchers found that people who were not
initially lonely were more likely to become lonely if they were linked to a lonely
oLoneliness occurred in clusters
oLoneliness also depended on degree of separation: the number of people in the
sequence linking one person to another
oPeople were 52% more likely to be lonely if connected to a lonely person
Inclusion and Exclusion
•Ostracism: excluding one or more individuals from a group by reducing or eliminating
contact with the person usually by ignoring, shunning, or explicitly banishing them
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•Ostracism dates back to the Greeks, who voted to punish a member of the community
•Contemporary forms of ostracism range from formal rejection of a member of a group, to
more subtle interpersonal tactics like “silent treatment” or “cold shoulder”
•Members are not deliberately excluded yet they feel as though they are out of the loop:
that they do not know things that others in the group do, and that the information they are
missing is relevant to the group’s social or task activities.
oThose out of the loop feel negative moods, feel less competent, don’t feel as close
interpersonally to the other group members
•Even nonhuman groups practice ostracism
oA shunned chimp would be forced to live at the periphery of his group, but remain
ever vigilant against straying outside his home groups’ territory—for long male
chimps are usually killed if they are caught by patrolling chimps from neighboring
•Kipling Williams and his colleagues often use “ball toss” method. they arrange for
people in a waiting room to begin some activity such as tossing a ball to one another.
Without knowledge of subject of the study, all others are part of the research team and they
deliberately exclude the real subject from the game
•Other studies use “life alone” method which involves giving people personality tests that
indicate their future would be a solitary one
•Most people respond very negatively to ostracism and exclusion
•The desire to belong is so strong that people respond negatively even when rejected by a
group whose members they dislike intensely
•Kipling Williams temporal need threat model of ostracism calls this initial response to
ostracism the reflexive stage. It is characterized by a flood of negative feelings—pain,
disappointment and distress. This period of negative emotions and confusion is followed
by reflective stage. Where you review the experience, search for explanation, and figure out
a strategy. Resignation stage: alienation, helplessness, loss of self worth and depression.
•Fight-or flight response: a physiological and psychological response to stressful events
characterized by the activation of the sympathetic nervous system that readies the
individual to counter the threat (fight) or to escape the threat (flight).
oSome people facing exclusion fight their way back into the group or they avoid
further rejection by seeking membership elsewhere. (flight response).
oThose who display the fight response may confront group members directly
attempt to force their way into group, insist that the group exclude someone else.
They become less helpful toward others and more competitive overall
oSome people lose temper and may harm group in some way. This type of reaction
is more likely when the exclusion is overt, unwarranted and unexpected. People who
are blindsided by rejection are more likely to fight back.
oThose who display flight response attempt to withdraw physically or
psychologically from the situation. Rather than tolerate the inattention, those who
withdraw inhibit their relational tendencies, keep to themselves or seek acceptance
by some other group.
oWithdrawal can exacerbate social isolation, for those who too frequently exit
rejection threatening situations may be viewed as unfriendly, unapproachable and
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detached by their peers. May also trigger shutdown in behavioral and emotional
reactivity in rare cases.
•Shelly Taylor--Tend and befriend response: a physiological, psychological and
interpersonal response to stressful events characterized by increased nurturing, protective
and supportive behaviors (tending) and initiating and strengthening relationships with other
oThose who tend and befriend rather than fight and flee seek social reconnection:
they are more sensitive to social cues, more willing to work hard for the group and
even tend to unconsciously mimic the actions of those around them
oThose who have recently been excluded or who feel lonely are far more attentive
to and more likely to remember accurately the details of a group’s interaction: they
are searching for social cues that will help them find a way to gain acceptance to the
oWilliams and colleagues demonstrated the earnest of the excluded in the ball toss
situation. Excluded participants when later asked how much they liked the other two
group members, rated their partners more negatively when they had been ostracized.
Women were more likely to blame themselves for their ostracism, but not men.
These sex differences are consistent with differences between men and women first
identified by Taylor when she proposed her tend and befriend response to stress: men
are more likely to display a fight or flight response whereas women are more likely
to tend and befriend.
•But others are angered when excluded, and these individuals are the ones who are more
likely to engage in antisocial behavior, including aggression. These angry excluded people
interpret neutral or even accepting actions as negative and tend to feel as if they whole
group has ostracized them when the have been rejected only by one or two of the members.
oLowell Gaertner demonstrated this tendency to blame the entire group by
arranging for four person groups to take a “noise tolerance” test that would require
them to listen to painfully loud noise. Three of the four were actually part of the
research team, however, and one of them was trained to reject the real subject. In
high entitativity condition of the experiment, all researcher’s confederates wore same
type of sweatshirt which indicated they were part of same sport teams. In other
condition, participants were dressed differently from one another. Before the session,
experimenter said he only needed three people, so that one would be excluded from
session. In control condition experimenter randomly chose subject to exclude but in
exclusion condition, one of the fake group members pointed out someone in the
group to be excluded and that person was removed. Experimenter explained to this
individual who was excluded that they need his help to run experiment. They had the
job of setting volume level for the noise test. Very few turned up the volume to seek
revenge for excluding them out of the group. Those in the rejection/ high entitativity
condition did however act more aggressively in increasing the volume.
•Mark Leary and colleagues examined 15 cases of post 1995 shootings in schools and
found that these terrible acts of violence were tied together by common thread: rejection. It
was individuals who did not belong to any groups or take part in social activities. They
were often described as loners.
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