Social belonging is an essential human need. Belonging to social groups serves an important role in shaping our social identities. Nonetheless, research indicates that exclusion by ingroup and outgroup members seems equally aversive. The current studies test the hypothesis that unlike more trivial groups (e.g., smoking or computer preferences), highly essentialized groups may lead to differential effects of ingroup versus outgroup rejection. Consistent with this, exclusion and inclusion by racial ingroup members (relative to racial outgroup members) exacerbated the sting of rejection and the glow of inclusion (Study 1). In a second study, direct manipulations of essentialist beliefs about ingroups and outgroups (i.e., political affiliations) led to the same results. These results offer a novel demonstration that essentialized ingroup-outgroup distinctions enhance the sting of social exclusion and the positivity of social inclusion.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology