Ostracism: How Much It Hurts Depends on How You Remember It

Gloria Lau, Michelle L. Moulds*, Rick Richardson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Substantial evidence demonstrates that ostracism has powerful negative effects on psychological well-being. However, little is known about how to ameliorate the negative effects of this ubiquitous social experience. A key preliminary strategy for developing effective methods to reduce the negative impact of ostracism is to examine factors that influence the persistence of these effects. Therefore, the authors examined whether the persistence of these negative effects is dependent on the vantage perspective from which an experience of exclusion is recalled. Using a virtual ball-toss game, being ostracized elicited an immediate aversive effect; furthermore, these effects persisted when individuals recalled the experience from an observer perspective compared with a field perspective. This study shows, for the first time, that the persistence of the debilitating effects of ostracism is influenced by how individuals recall that experience. These results have implications for the development of ameliorative strategies to manage the impact of social exclusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430-434
Number of pages5
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • memory
  • ostracism
  • social exclusion
  • vantage perspective


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