Being "in" with the in-crowd: The effects of social exclusion and inclusion are enhanced by the perceived essentialism of ingroups and outgroups

Michael Jason Bernstein, Donald F. Sacco, Steven G. Young, Kurt Hugenberg, Eric Cook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

69 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)999-1009
Number of pages11
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume36
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 11 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology

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