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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2009 Feb;96(2):415-431. doi: 10.1037/a0012958.

Motivations for prevention or promotion following social exclusion: being rejected versus being ignored.

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Department of Psychology, Northwestern University.
Department of Psychology, California State University.
Department of Psychology, University of Georgia.


Social exclusion evokes powerful motivations and emotions. The present studies examined how these motivations and emotions might differ following exclusion that is explicit, active, and direct (i.e., when one is rejected) versus implicit, passive, and indirect (i.e., when one is ignored). It was hypothesized that being rejected should produce a sense of social loss and lead to more prevention-focused responses, including withdrawal from social contact, thoughts about actions one should not have taken, and increased feelings of agitation. In contrast, being ignored should produce a sense of failure to achieve social gain and lead to more promotion-focused responses, including reengagement in social contact, thoughts about actions one should have taken, and increased feelings of dejection. These hypotheses were supported across 4 studies in which people recalled or underwent experiences of being rejected or ignored. Past research on active versus passive exclusion is reexamined and found to be consistent with these hypotheses as well.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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