Abstract

The effects of social exclusion on prosocial and antisocial behaviors are unclear. Although some studies suggest that exclusion increases prosocial behavior, others indicate exclusion decreases prosocial behavior and may even lead to antisocial aggression. Based on these mixed findings, we propose that when exclusion leads to feeling disliked, sadness and prosocial behavior may result; yet when people believe the excluders do not respect them, anger and aggression may be the outcome. Indeed, this study provides evidence for this pattern. Our results further support the idea that social exclusion decreases prosocial behavior, but when excluded people felt disliked, they became sadder, which resulted in more prosocial behavior. These findings suggest that a more nuanced approach is needed to explain the disparate findings in social exclusion research and offer a possible avenue worthy of further exploration: the perception of the exclusion experience.

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