E-ISSN 1309-4866
Research Article
The Effect of Ostracism on the Accessibility of Uncertainty-Related Thoughts
1 Hacettepe Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi, Psikoloji Anabilim Dalı, Ankara, Türkiye  
Arch Neuropsychiatry ; : -
DOI: 10.5152/npa.2017.19342
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Key Words: Ostracism, uncertainty management, accessibility of uncertainty-related thoughts, lexical decision task

Introduction: Humans have a need to belong a group to survive. For this reason, people have enhanced cognitive abilities to detect cues about rejection. Thus, rejection from our group is a threatening situation like feeling personal uncertainty. According to temporal need threat model, ostracism may lead to personal uncertainty and situational ambiguity. Since being ostracized threatens people’s need to understand their world and to control how they should behave, it confronts people with personal uncertainty. According to our knowledge, there is no experiment providing a direct empirical evidence of this proposition about the role of uncertainty in ostracism. Thus, the goal of the present study was to assess the accessibility of uncertainty-related thoughts following ostracism manipulation.


Methods: Participants played Cyberball game in order to manipulate ostracism and then after/before the game they completed a distracter task. Next, all participants completed the lexical decision task, which was used to measure the accessibility of uncertainty-related thoughts.


Results: The results of this study revealed that ostracized participants reacted faster to uncertainty-related words than to abstract words. As expected, we did not find any significant difference between uncertainty-related and abstract response latencies in the inclusion condition.



Conclusion: Based on these results we might conclude that being ostracized leads to an increase in uncertainty accessibility. If this interpretation is correct this would suggest that our findings provide an empirical support for the proposition by temporal need threat model that uncertainty concerns may be a key antecedent of reactions to being ostracized.

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