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Should we really be worried about Social Ostracism?

PSYC1065

Research Methods in Psychology

 

Assessment: Quantitative Lab Report 

Coursework title: Should we really be worried about Social Ostracism? 

Word Count: 

Please note the word count limit of 2000 words does not include Abstract, Title page, List of references, Appendices, Tables or Figures. The abstract should be no more than 120 words.

NB. Use 1.5 or double line spacing an include page numbers

Abstract

Ostracism can impact on individuals’ self-perception, self-esteem, and a sense of belonging.  A needs satisfaction questionnaire allowed participants to recall a time they experienced being ostracised and/or using their phone during a face-to-face conversation. A one-way ANOVA (analysis of variances) and multiple comparisons were completed using a mobile phone as a manipulation. Researchers have evidenced that ostracism has immediate effects on participants being ostracised with individuals who already suffer difficulties with self-perception. This study identified the target condition had the lowest score which indicates that mobile phone use does not directly contribute to being ostracized. Moreover, this study along with the findings of other’s, researchers suggests that individuals are more resilient than thought.

Introduction

Technology is known as an importance for many people in the population. Looking at different types of technologies, a common type is a mobile phone, which has numerous amounts of features for communication, pleasure and, it is also portable. Telecommunications have advanced in the last 20 years, with developments of websites, social networking platforms and, spaces for people to interact. The way modern technology is currently, allows users to interact with others in various ways. This has now become the most effective, reliable, and preferred tool for everyday communication. It is important to recognise, however, that even while technology has now become the most effective, reliable, and preferred tool everyday communication, it is also a persistent source of ostracism. Ostracism is defined as being ignored and excluded, and it frequently occurs without reason or overt unfavorable attention (Jameison et al., 2009; Williams, 2009; Legate et al., 2021). Individuals feel the anguish of ostracism, and according to the temporal framework, need satisfaction, it jeopardises their need for acceptance, self-perception, and esteem.

Although technology poses advantages such as those stated above, Williams’ (2009) viewpoint is that humans have a need to socially interact with one another and refers to the need threat model of ostracism which has three different levels. If individuals feel threatened, such as feeling excluded from an activity or group, their threshold is not being met, that is when people start to feel ostracised. In addition to this, Poulsen et al., (2012) findings discovered that both target and source groups have both felt ostracised. Many reports have only focused on target groups. However, both Nezlek et al., (2012) and Godwin et al., (2014) identified in their studies that ostracism is a very painful event which affects individuals differently although, it is dependent on whether it is an online interaction or in a social setting where a social setting will have a great. Previous work from researchers have usually focused on fundamental threats such as low confidence and self-esteem. In contrast to earlier findings, Jamieson et al., (2010) discovered an interesting area in ostracism which focuses on individuals reacting to the feeling of threat positively.

This experiment will be testing Williams’ (2009) needs threat model along with an adaptation of Hales’ (2018) study using mobile phones as a manipulation on ostracism. It will include three different perspectives of ostracism; targets of ostracism (people being excluded), source ostracism (individuals who are making exclusions) and social inclusion (the remaining group of individuals already part of a social circle) (Poulsen and Kashy, 2012). The purpose of this study was to understand and establish the link between social interactions such as a face-to-face conversation and using a mobile phone. It is important to understand the effects of ostracism on mental health, as this is increasing with social norms and users under the age of 24. It will also seek to understand the long-term terms of ostracism and whether satisfaction and meaningful feelings improve after a period. The reason for the use of the need satisfaction questionnaire is to understand the response of each participant’s recall of a social interaction. It also represents a good representation of the demographic, as users are more likely to have a mobile phone than other age groups and this will allow for valid results. The hypotheses will seek to understand the differences between condition levels and if social induced ostracism is linked to a higher target condition score.                                                                         

Ostracism can affect individuals’ psychological wellbeing and mental health when it first occurs Guzel and Sahin (2018) however, further research needs to be conducted to understand if the psychological effects such as rejection, anger and loneliness is still apparent in a 6- or 12-month period. The objective is to understand the longer-term effects of ostracism on the reflexive stage which is linked to how we react and manage pain when one is threatened and if there are implications. The report presents the method delivered, the experiments results and an analysis of the findings. Need to be explicit and explain the three different independent variables, a reference and definition of what temporal needs threat is, what is the understanding of ostracism.

Methods

Participants

223 participants took part in the study (200 females, 21 males and 2 that preferred not to say). The mean age range was (M: 23 years, SD: 5.93). Sample level demographic information was provided, participants were randomly allocated to one of the three conditions.

Design
Please include this section here.

Materials

A short 20-item questionnaire on fundamental needs using a likert type scale model to record the answers (see Appendix B), with a dependent variable of needs satisfaction and 3 independent levels (social and target ostracism and social inclusion). The study was between subjects and data was collected under group testing conditions; questions were derived from an original study by (Hales et al., 2018).

Procedure

Individuals were asked to read the document and give consent to the experiment after, they were given access to complete an online questionnaire. This was individually carried out and participants were told to read a set of questions followed by a response scale scoring 1 for disagree and 10 for agree (needs satisfaction scale). All participants were debriefed on the research and thanked for the participation; this study has had ethical approval.

Results

There was a statistically significant difference between groups as demonstrated by the one-way ANOVA F (2,220) = 150.81, p = < .001. A Levene’s test indicated that there was a significance in the way the data was dispersed. Therefore, the assumption of homogeneity has been met. A Bonferroni correction was applied to account for the multiple comparisons. An independent t post hoc test found the relationship between participants in the social inclusion group (M= 4.80, SD= .65) was higher than the target group t(159.80) = 13.90, p = <.001, (M= 3.30, SD= .73). Finally, participants in the source ostracism group also scored higher than the target group t(141.85) = -3.97, p = <.001, (M= 3.77, SD= .60). Overall, this suggests that the feeling of belonging to a group is perceived to have a lesser effect on self-esteem and participants being targeted are significantly impacted by this.

Discussion

The main purpose of this study was to confirm and understand which condition was more affected by ostracism under the conditions of using a mobile phone during a conversation. The findings reported showed that participants in the target group responded in a negative way, which impacted on their need’s satisfaction due to a mobile phone being present. However, this score was low which suggests that the majority of the participants were not being ostracised and felt included in a conversation (see Appendix A). It is understandable that the participants in the target group scored lower, which satisfies and supports the hypothesis. The possibilities of why the social inclusion group was high is that individuals have recalled a time where they either did not feel ostracized or a mobile phone being present did not cause an impact to their needs. This suggests that overall ostracism, is a condition that although has a negative effect on some individual’s needs and cognition. For most of the participants, they felt that part of the conversations that took place did not hurt as much as what other studies have researched.

The results between in-groups had differences with most participants being women, however this result may not provide the most accurate demonstration as there is not an equal ratio of women to men. Participants scored lowest in the target group with a slightly higher result in the source condition. This could be as many people have phones it has become part of the normal routine and instead, having a phone means your included in a social setting as interpreted by the one-way ANOVA with social inclusion scoring the highest.

The effects of ostracism on participants are similar to the results found in this study as it demonstrates that what is currently understood on the uses of mobiles phones causes interpersonal pain only when used at inappropriate times (Buelow et al., 2015; Hales et al., 2018). In addition to this. Ren et al., (2020) explains an interesting outcome that individuals that have experienced being ostracised voluntarily wish to seek privacy. In turn, this further aggravates changes in their behaviour such as withdrawal and isolation following this, leads to loneliness. As participants recalled a negative memory to the event, they are reporting finding ways of becoming inclusive which would result in lower ostracism levels. The key issue with this explanation is that individuals who suffer with existing mental health conditions are more likely to become hostile and display anger and aggression which is natural since they have experienced pain. Over time this has a psychological effect on that person since their needs have been threatened. The studies would have been more interesting if a follow up was conducted after a period of time to determine the true effects on psychological needs and, to understand if ostracism is a real threat long term.

Most studies in the field of ostracism have mainly focused on the immediate effects of using a cyberball paradigm (a game used to induce ostracism) or a mobile phone as a manipulation. A mobile phone may not be an applicable tool to use as a manipulation as research has found that university students developed addicted behaviour traits from excessive use of their phone as it released a dopamine rush (Basu et al., 2018). In relation to the reflexive stage explained by Williams, Waldeck et al., (2015) raises an interesting point where some of the participants were able to handle ostracism at the reflexive stage meaning that they were less sensitive to the event and therefore overtime built a resilience by self-regulation (focusing on one’s own thought). There is a limited amount of research on the long-term effects of ostracism especially on the reflexive stage.

Waldeck et al., (2015) findings discovered that people who were ostracised felt the effects for an increased length of time than other participant’s, due to the source of the ostracism being someone meaningful to them. This links to what I was not able to test in the study is, if the person being ostracised is for example a family member or a partner, would the results be significantly higher in the target condition as they would have an emotional connection to the other? I think it would depend on the context for example, what the conversation was about and who was the receiver. For example, what the conversation was about and who was the received; for instance, a friend versus a family member. Studies would need to be repeated a numerous number of times with different factors such as a using immediate family members, ex partner’s, social society groups, to then compare this to mobile phone use to clarify if the main culprit is a technological device.

Hales et al., (2021) found a cause of concern for individual’s mental health due to the global pandemic. The results suggested that participants were relatively resilient to extreme stress and conditions beyond their control. The main factor in the study explains that changes of social trends and social norms determines whether that person is affected by ostracism. This may mean that ostracism could be identified as not the contributing factor of feeling rejected and ignored. In fact, as humans we were able to adapt to the current situations and utilised a variety of methods to communicate, which you would think would lead to people feeling left out. Explain how there are 3 different hypotheses.

Conclusion

Ostracism is an interesting topic with a wide range of theories and views. A definite conclusion is that people experience negative effects associated with being ostracized. A most recent finding (Hales et al., 2021) concluded that humans are more resilient and adaptive to the point where they would choose to avoid the situation. The recommendations for future research would be to conduct a further study using Williams 2009 model as assessing the fundamental needs during a longer period such as 6 or 12 months. Another possible area to look at is participants aged over 65 as this age group usually have the least amount of social interaction and would ostracism still have an effect. Lastly, evidence looking into methods to remedy ostracism such as animals would be interesting to discover the findings.

References 

Basu, S., Garg, S., Singh, M. M., & Kohli, C. (2018). Addiction-like behavior associated with mobile phone usage among medical students in Delhi. Indian journal of psychological medicine40(5), 446-451.

Buelow, M. T., Okdie, B. M., Brunell, A. B., & Trost, Z. (2015). Stuck in a moment and you cannot get out of it: The lingering effects of ostracism on cognition and satisfaction of basic needs. Personality and Individual Differences76, 39-43.

Godwin, A., MacNevin, G., Zadro, L., Iannuzzelli, R., Weston, S., Gonsalkorale, K., & Devine, P. (2014). Are all ostracism experiences equal? A comparison of the autobiographical recall, Cyberball, and O-Cam paradigms. Behavior Research Methods, 46, 660–667.

Güzel, H. Y., & Şahin, D. N. (2018). The effect of ostracism on the accessibility of uncertainty-related thoughts. Archives of Neuropsychiatry55(2), 183.

Hales, A.H., Dvir, M., Wesselmann, E.D., Kruger, D.J., and Finkenauer, C. (2018). Cell phone-induced ostracism threatens fundamental needs. The Journal of Social Psychology, 158, 460-473.

Hales, A. H., Wood, N. R., & Williams, K. D. (2021). Navigating COVID-19: Insights from research on social ostracism. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations24(2), 306-310.

Jamieson, J. P., Harkins, S. G., & Williams, K. D. (2010). Need threat can motivate performance after ostracism. Personality and social psychology bulletin36(5), 690-702.

Legate, N., Weinstein, N., & Ryan, R. M. (2021). Ostracism in Real Life: Evidence That Ostracizing Others Has Costs, Even When It Feels Justified. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 1-13.

Nezlek, J. B., Wesselmann, E. D., Wheeler, L., & Williams, K. D. (2012). Ostracism in everyday life. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 16, 91–104.

Poulsen, J. R., & Kashy, D. A. (2012). Two sides of the ostracism coin: How sources and targets of social exclusion perceive themselves and one another. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 15(4), 457–470.

Ren, D., Wesselmann, E. D., & Williams, K. D. (2018). Hurt people hurt people: ostracism and aggression. Current opinion in psychology19, 34–38.

Ren, D., Wesselmann, E. D., & van Beest, I. (2021). Seeking Solitude After Being Ostracized: A Replication and Beyond. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin47(3), 426–440. 

Vorderer, P., & Schneider, F. M. (2016). Social media and ostracism. In Ostracism, exclusion, and rejection (pp. 250-267). Routledge.

Waldeck, D. B. S., Tyndall, I., & Chmiel, N. (2015). Resilience to ostracism: A qualitative inquiry. The Qualitative Report20(10), 1646-1670.

Williams, K. D. (2009). Ostracism: A temporal need-threat model. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 41, 275–314. Elsevier Academic Press.

Appendices

Appendix A: Histogram of condition scores

Appendix B: 20 Item Need Satisfaction Questionnaire

Before participating in the study, please provide the following demographic information

Gender

o Male

o Female

o Other ________________________________________________

o Prefer not to say

Age (in years)

________________________________________________________________

Please describe, in as much detail as possible, a time when you were having a serious

conversation with a friend and while you were talking they gave you their full attention. What

were you feeling at that time? Again, please describe this in as much detail as you can

remember; really try to relive that experience.

________________________________________________________________

Please describe, in as much detail as possible, a time when you were having a serious

conversation with a friend and while you were talking they were checking their smart-phone

during the conversation. What were you feeling at that time? Again, please describe this in as

much detail as you can remember; really try to relive that experience.

________________________________________________________________

Please describe, in as much detail as possible, a time when you were having a serious

conversation with a friend and while they were talking you were checking your smart-phone

during the conversation. What were you feeling at that time? Again, please describe this in as

much detail as you can remember; really try to relive that experience.

For each of the following statements, please select the response option that best

represent the feelings you were experiencing during the situation you just described

I felt disconnected

o 1. Not at all

o 2.

o 3.

o 4.

o 5. Extremely

I felt rejected

o 1. Not at all

o 2.

o 3.

o 4.

o 5. Extremely

I felt like an outsider

o 1. Not at all

o 2.

o 3.

o 4.

o 5. Extremely

 

I felt like I belonged to a group

o 1. Not at all

o 2.

o 3.

o 4.

o 5. Extremely

I felt like other people interacted with me a lot

o 1. Not at all

o 2.

o 3.

o 4.

o 5. Extremely

I felt good about myself

o 1. Not at all

o 2.

o 3.

o 4.

o 5. Extremely

 

I felt like I belonged to a group

o 1. Not at all

o 2.

o 3.

o 4.

o 5. Extremely

I felt like other people interacted with me a lot

o 1. Not at all

o 2.

o 3.

o 4.

o 5. Extremely

I felt good about myself

o 1. Not at all

o 2.

o 3.

o 4.

  o 5. Extremely

 

My self-esteem was high

o 1. Not at all

o 2.

o 3.

o 4.

o 5. Extremely

I felt liked

o 1. Not at all

o 2.

o 3.

o 4.

o 5. Extremely

I felt insecure

o 1. Not at all

o 2.

o 3.

o 4.

o 5. Extremely

 

felt satisfied

o 1. Not at all

o 2.

o 3.

o 4.

o 5. Extremely

I felt invisible

o 1. Not at all

o 2.

o 3.

o 4.

o 5. Extremely

I felt meaningless

o 1. Not at all

o 2.

o 3.

o 4.

o 5. Extremely

 

I felt non-existent

o 1. Not at all

o 2.

o 3.

o 4.

o 5. Extremely

I felt important

o 1. Not at all

o 2.

o 3.

o 4.

o 5. Extremely

I felt useful

o 1. Not at all

o 2.

o 3.

o 4.

o 5. Extremely

 

I felt powerful

o 1. Not at all

o 2.

o 3.

o 4.

o 5. Extremely

I felt in control

o 1. Not at all

o 2.

o 3.

o 4.

o 5. Extremely

I felt I had the ability to significantly alter events

o 1. Not at all

o 2.

o 3.

o 4.

o 5. Extremely

 

I felt unable to influence the actions of others

o 1. Not at all

o 2.

o 3.

o 4.

o 5. Extremely

I felt as though other people influenced everything

o 1. Not at all

o 2.

o 3.

o 4.

o 5. Extremely


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