Social rejection hurts, causing aggression even against innocent people. How can the sting of social rejection be reduced? Based on social impact theory, the authors predicted that aggression would decrease as a power function of the number of people accepting the participant. In Experiment 1, participants included by 0, 1, 2, or 3 players in an online ball-tossing game could aggress against an innocent stranger by requiring him or her to eat very spicy hot sauce. In Experiment 2, participants socially accepted by 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4 other people could aggress against an innocent stranger by administering loud noise. In both experiments, aggression and unpleasant emotions decreased as a power function according to the number of people accepting the participants, with each additional acceptor having a decreasing incremental effect. Acceptance from others numbs the pain of social rejection, making rejected people less likely to lash out against innocent others.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Social Psychological and Personality Science|
|State||Published - 2010|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Institute for the Study of Disadvantage and Disability awarded a student research honorarium to the second author. This work was funded in part by the National Science Foundation (0519209) (K.D. Williams).
- interpersonal processes
- social exclusion
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Clinical Psychology