Ostracism via virtual chat room - Effects on basic needs, anger and pain

Ana Paula Gonçalves Donate, Lucas Murrins Marques, Olivia Morgan Lapenta, Manish Kumar Asthana, David Amodio, Paulo Sérgio Boggio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ostracism is characterized by a social pain provoked by being excluded and ignored. In order to address the effects of social ostracism in virtual non-physical interactions, we developed a more realistic paradigm as an alternative to Cyberball and assessed its effects on participant’s expression of basic social needs, emotional experience and painful feeling. The chat room consisted of controlled social dialogue interactions between participants and two other (confederate) chat room partners. Exclusion was manipulated by varying the number of messages a participant received (15% and 33% in exclusion and inclusion, respectively). Analysis of participant (N = 54) responses revealed that exclusion induced a lower experience of basic-need states and greater anger, compared with included participants. In addition, excluded participants reported higher levels of two specific self-pain feelings, namely tortured and hurt. Our findings suggest that this procedure is effective in inducing social ostracism in a realistic and yet highly controlled experimental procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0184215
JournalPloS one
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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