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    Ostracism via virtual chat room – effects on basic needs, anger and pain



    Summary: In a study conducted on ostracism in a virtual chat room, it was found that people who were excluded had a lower experience of basic-need states and greater anger, when it was compared with included participants

    Source: PLoS One.

    Most of us are not very acquainted with the term ostracism, though we all have at times or been the victim of the phenomena. To put it in simple words, ostracism is grossly characterized by a social pain that is provoked by being excluded and ignored. The individual often feels sad, dejected or neglected when he or she is ostracized.

    In order to observe and understand the effects of social ostracism in virtual non-physical interactions, the Department of Social Psychology of University of Amsterdam have developed a very realistic paradigm. It was introduced as an alternative to Cyberball and it has successfully assessed its effects on participant’s expression of emotional experience, basic social needs, and painful feelings.

    The chat room, where the collection of data was done, consisted of controlled social dialogue interactions between participants and two others (confederates), who were the chat room partners. Exclusion was manipulated and controlled by varying the number of messages a participant received during the term of observation. A total of 45 participants were included in the study, and analysis of participant responses have revealed that exclusion induced a lower experience of basic-need states and greater anger, when it was compared with included participants. In addition to these findings, it was found that excluded participants reported the experience of higher levels of two specific self-pain feelings, namely tortured and hurt.

    The research findings thereby suggest that this procedure is effective in inducing social ostracism in a realistic and yet highly controlled experimental procedure.

    Published: PLoS One.

    Contact: Ana Paula Gonçalves Donate, Universidade Federal de São Paulo.

    Details: Image source Unsplash


    Hi, I’m Aarti, My Psychoanalytical approach towards my clients is to empower them to better their lives through improving their relationship with themselves. I believe shame and guilt is a common barrier to change. I aim to guide my clients through re authoring their narratives where shame, guilt, and other problems have less power and take up less space.

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