In adults, experiences of social exclusion have been shown to not only adversely affect mood and threaten primary needs, but also to disrupt cognitive processes. The aim of this study was to provide an initial test of the effects of social exclusion on cognitive processes in children (N = 55; aged 8-12 years). Ostracism was simulated experimentally using the Cyberball paradigm-a computer-based ball-throwing game that participants believed they were playing with two peers over the internet. Following this, participants were administered subtests from the Working Memory Test Battery for Children. Girls who were ostensibly ignored during the game demonstrated poorer cognitive performance than those who were included by their co-players, while boys did not. Findings are discussed in relation to those previously reported in adult research and evidence of gender-specific correlates of relational aggression in children and adolescents.
- Social exclusion