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 journalArticlepeer-review

    320 Citations (Scopus)


    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
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006


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