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


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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Available from: Jean M. Twenge, May 07, 2015
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    • "Multiple studies have shown that the sense of belonging, anticipated social support, and received emotional support are all positively associated with meaning in life (Hicks & King, 2009; Hicks, Schlegel, & King, 2010; Krause, 2007; Lambert et al., 2013), whereas social exclusion reliably leads to meaning loss. Several experiments showed that participants assigned to a social exclusion condition (e.g., being excluded in a ball toss game or being ostensibly forgotten by other participants) rated their lives as less meaningful than their counterparts in the control condition (King & Geise, 2011; Stillman et al., 2009; Twenge et al., 2003; van Beest & Williams, 2006; Williams et al., 2000). "
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    ABSTRACT: Multiple studies have shown that the sense of belonging and connectedness contribute to meaning in life, but does meaning also influence social connectedness? The present research examines the reciprocal relationships between meaning and different types of connectedness: intimate, relational, and collective. Analyzing data from a nationally representative longitudinal study (Study 1) with cross-lagged panel models, we found that only collective connectedness was prospectively associated with meaning, whereas meaning was prospectively associated with all three types of connectedness, controlling for life satisfaction. The beneficial effect of meaning extended to behavioral indicators of collective and intimate connectedness (Study 2). Higher levels of meaning in life were prospectively associated with an increased likelihood of joining voluntary associations and getting married, and, for people high in marital satisfaction, with a decreased likelihood of marital separation. Together, these findings suggest that the relationship between social connectedness and meaning in life is bidirectional.
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    • "previous studies, these results suggest that social exclusion did not affect emotion (DeWall & Baumeister, 2006; Twenge, Catanese & Baumeister, 2003). "
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    ABSTRACT: Using three experiments, the present study investigates the impact of social exclusion on attention. Specifically, we investigate whether social exclusion promotes attentional bias to social acceptance cues (smiling faces) or social exclusion cues (angry faces) among an Asian population. The Cyberball game was adopted to manipulate social inclusion or exclusion, and a dot-probe task was used to measure individuals' responses to smiling or angry faces. In Experiments 1 and 2, each trial consisted of either a smiling or angry face that was paired with a neutral face. In Experiment 1, when the stimulus onset-asynchronies (SOA) were 500 ms, the inhibition of return emerged, indirectly indicating that social exclusion promotes sensitivity to social acceptance cues. In Experiment 2, after setting the SOA to 200 ms, we found that social exclusion promotes attentional bias to smiling faces compared to neutral faces. In Experiment 3, both smiling and angry faces were shown during each trial, and we found that social exclusion promotes attentional bias to smiling faces compared to angry faces. Therefore, the present study extends our understanding of the relationship between social exclusion and attention. Overall, it appears that after social exclusion, the desire for social reconnection trumps the desire to avoid social exclusion.
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