Kevin Betts


Attributions About Ostracism During the Completion of a Cognitive Task

Previous research examining the effects of ostracism shows that several fundamental human needs are negatively affected.  Among others, the sense of belonging, control, self-esteem, and meaningful existence are swayed most easily.  In a cognitive analogue to previous studies, subjects were asked to work in groups of three (two confederates and one real subject) on two crossword puzzles.  Depending upon the condition, confederates actively ostracized the real subject in either both trials, only the first trial, or neither trial.  This design allowed us to investigate several previously unanswered questions experimentally, including 1) are these effects manipulated by the length of time ostracized, and following from this, 2) is it possible to undo the effects of ostracism?  Our results, obtained via standard survey and video analysis procedures, show that subjects ostracized only during the first trial were as negatively affected as those ostracized throughout both trials.  This suggests that in the short-term, it is not possible to undo the deleterious effects of ostracism.

Faculty Mentor: Christine M. Smith

Page last modified July 14, 2009