When ostracism leads to aggression

The moderating effects of control deprivation

Wayne A. Warburton*, Kipling D. Williams, David R. Cairns

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

290 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We hypothesized that increasing or decreasing levels of control in an ostracized individual could moderate aggressive responding to ostracism. Participants were either ostracized or included in a spontaneous game of toss, and then exposed to a series of blasts of aversive noise, the onsets over which they had either control or no control. Aggression was defined as the amount of hot sauce participants allocated to a stranger, knowing the stranger did not like hot foods, but would have to consume the entire sample. Ostracized participants without control allocated more than four times as much sauce as any other group; ostracized participants who experienced restored control were no more aggressive than either of the groups who were included. Aggressive responding to ostracism may depend on the degree to which control needs are threatened in the target, and is discussed in terms of Williams's (2001) needs threat model of ostracism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-220
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume42
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006

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