The Endearing Pain: Exclusion Selectively Alters Person Perception

Michael Philipp (2011). The Endearing Pain: Exclusion Selectively Alters Person Perception PhD Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Michael Philipp
Thesis Title The Endearing Pain: Exclusion Selectively Alters Person Perception
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-11
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Total pages 91
Total black and white pages 91
Language eng
Subjects 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Abstract/Summary People are finely attuned to detect cues of social exclusion and are motivated to reestablish social connections when inclusion is threatened. Yet, excluded persons should not be indiscriminate in their choices of affiliation partners. First, the excluded person must decide to either make reparations toward the sources of exclusion or seek inclusion elsewhere. Second, excluded people must be more wary of exploitive social exchanges (e.g., deception) since they are no longer subject to group norms that entitled them to fair treatment and protection from strangers. Therefore, the excluded person must recalibrate his or her representations of social others to adequately deal with these challenges. The present thesis investigates some of the ways that social exclusion changes social perceptions and preferences. Experiment 1 tested how exclusion affects victims' perceptions of those who exclude them. The experiment used a computerised ball-tossing task with two other ostensibly human players who either included or excluded participants. Participants then rated the dispositions of the ostensible players on five dispositional indices. Sources of exclusion were perceived as more socially powerful compared with sources of inclusion. Moreover, the psychological threat of exclusion was found to mediate perceptions of social power, such that participants who felt more psychological threat perceived the sources as more powerful compared to those who felt less psychological threat. Experiment 2 tested whether excluded people advertise their own social affordances preferentially to more affiliative social interaction partners. The experiment used a writing task to induce feelings of exclusion (or not). Participants then viewed faces of smiling people. Two types of smile were shown: smiles that spontaneously occurred during a pleasant experience (i.e., genuine) and smiles that were posed at the request of the experimenter (i.e., posed). Facial electromyography recorded participants’ facial muscles during the viewing session. Feelings of exclusion induced participants to selectively smile more to the genuine smiles (but not posed smiles) compared to control participants. This suggests that feelings of exclusion induce people to bias their affiliative gestures toward more affiliative-looking others. Experiments 3 and 4 tested whether exclusion via the computerised ball-tossing task affected victims' preferences for their sources of exclusion. In Experiment 3 participants were first included by one ingroup and one outgroup member and then excluded by a different ingroup and outgroup member. In Experiment 4 participants were first included by either a pair of ingroup (or outgroup) members before being excluded by a  vi different pair of outgroup (or ingroup) members. Results showed that exclusion increased positivity toward sources of exclusion from a more valued ingroup. Sources of exclusion from a valued ingroup were even evaluated more positively than sources of inclusion from the same valued ingroup. Finally, Experiment 5 aimed to replicate and extend the findings of Experiments 3 and 4 by examining whether victims' enhanced evaluations of ingroup excluders predicted a desire to further associate with the excluders. Although participants did report being affected by the exclusion manipulation, the results revealed no evaluative preferences for sources of inclusion or exclusion. Moreover, excluded participants did not express a relative preference in associating with ingroup or outgroup sources of exclusion. Taken together, the findings of this thesis suggest that the effects of social exclusion on person perception adaptively guide excluded persons to preferentially attend to affiliative cues and social affordances in others. Although re-establishing social connections is critical to alleviate the threat caused by exclusion, if affiliation is advertised indiscriminately an excluded person risks further alienating valued relationships or, worse, exploitation by untrustworthy strangers. Restoration of belongingness needs is therefore best served by bestowing the excluded person with a sensitivity (and preference for) social features that will best satiate threats to social connections.
Keyword ostracism, social exclusion, social perception, implicit preference, facial mimicry, electromyography

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Created: Mon, 27 Feb 2012, 14:34:39 EST by Michael Philipp on behalf of Library - Information Access Service