research methods article

research methods article - Journal of Personality and...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Social Exclusion Decreases Prosocial Behavior Jean M. Twenge San Diego State University Roy F. Baumeister and C. Nathan DeWall Florida State University Natalie J. Ciarocco Florida Atlantic University J. Michael Bartels San Diego State University In 7 experiments, the authors manipulated social exclusion by telling people that they would end up alone later in life or that other participants had rejected them. Social exclusion caused a substantial reduction in prosocial behavior. Socially excluded people donated less money to a student fund, were unwilling to volunteer for further lab experiments, were less helpful after a mishap, and cooperated less in a mixed-motive game with another student. The results did not vary by cost to the self or by recipient of the help, and results remained significant when the experimenter was unaware of condition. The effect was mediated by feelings of empathy for another person but was not mediated by mood, state self-esteem, belongingness, trust, control, or self-awareness. The implication is that rejection temporarily interferes with emotional responses, thereby impairing the capacity for empathic understanding of others, and as a result, any inclination to help or cooperate with them is undermined. Keywords: helping, prosocial behavior, social exclusion, social rejection, empathy Prosocial behavior is performed to benefit others, rather than to benefit the self. It often entails risk or cost to the self, such as when one gives resources to others, waits in line, asks for or pays a fair price, or risks one’s life in battle. Yet it is not irrational or self-destructive to perform such acts because, in the long run, belonging to the group provides immense benefits. There are no known societies in which most of the people prefer to live in social isolation, such as in solitary cabins in the woods. Instead, people always prefer to live with each other in social groups and within a cultural framework. Culture improves the biological outcomes (survival and reproduction) of individuals, so people do what is required to belong to it. Most cultures encourage and even require prosocial behavior because it is vital to the system. Therefore, human beings often perform the prosocial acts that are encouraged by their culture because such acts enable them to belong to it and to enjoy its rewards. But what happens when belongingness is withdrawn or threatened? Prosocial behavior is not unlike delay of gratification (e.g., Mischel, 1974), in which current virtue is to be rewarded later—and if the delayed rewards are perceived as unreliable, there is much less reason to be good now. In the same way, a threat to one’s sense of belongingness may reduce one’s willingness to perform prosocial acts.
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 11/14/2011 for the course PSYC 2012 taught by Professor Michellestock during the Fall '11 term at GWU.

Page1 / 11

research methods article - Journal of Personality and...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online