Cyberostracism: effects of being ignored over the Internet

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2000 Nov;79(5):748-62. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.79.5.748.


Ostracism is such a widely used and powerful tactic that the authors tested whether people would be affected by it even under remote and artificial circumstances. In Study 1, 1,486 participants from 62 countries accessed the authors' on-line experiment on the Internet. They were asked to use mental visualization while playing a virtual tossing game with two others (who were actually computer generated and controlled). Despite the minimal nature of their experience, the more participants were ostracized, the more they reported feeling bad, having less control, and losing a sense of belonging. In Study 2, ostracized participants were more likely to conform on a subsequent task. The results are discussed in terms of supporting K. D. Williams's (1997) need threat theory of ostracism.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Female
  • Group Processes
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rejection, Psychology*
  • Research Design
  • Self Concept*
  • Self Disclosure
  • Social Conformity*
  • Social Isolation*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires