Social exclusion and the deconstructed state: time perception, meaninglessness, lethargy, lack of emotion, and self-awareness

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2003 Sep;85(3):409-23. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.85.3.409.

Abstract

The authors hypothesize that socially excluded individuals enter a defensive state of cognitive deconstruction that avoids meaningful thought, emotion, and self-awareness, and is characterized by lethargy and altered time flow. Social rejection led to an overestimation of time intervals, a focus on the present rather than the future, and a failure to delay gratification (Experiment 1). Rejected participants were more likely to agree that "Life is meaningless" (Experiment 2). Excluded participants wrote fewer words and displayed slower reaction times (Experiments 3 and 4). They chose fewer emotion words in an implicit emotion task (Experiment 5), replicating the lack of emotion on explicit measures (Experiments 1-3 and 6). Excluded participants also tried to escape from self-awareness by facing away from a mirror (Experiment 6).

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Defense Mechanisms
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Orientation / physiology
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Rejection, Psychology
  • Self Concept*
  • Sleep Stages / physiology*
  • Social Alienation / psychology*
  • Students / psychology
  • Time Perception / physiology*