Social exclusion and the deconstructed state: time perception, meaninglessness, lethargy, lack of emotion, and self-awareness.

Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, California 92182-4611, USA.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Impact Factor: 5.08). 10/2003; 85(3):409-23. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.85.3.409
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The authors hypothesize that socially excluded individuals enter a defensive state of cognitive deconstruction that avoids meaningful thought, emotion, and self-awareness, and is characterized by lethargy and altered time flow. Social rejection led to an overestimation of time intervals, a focus on the present rather than the future, and a failure to delay gratification (Experiment 1). Rejected participants were more likely to agree that "Life is meaningless" (Experiment 2). Excluded participants wrote fewer words and displayed slower reaction times (Experiments 3 and 4). They chose fewer emotion words in an implicit emotion task (Experiment 5), replicating the lack of emotion on explicit measures (Experiments 1-3 and 6). Excluded participants also tried to escape from self-awareness by facing away from a mirror (Experiment 6).

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