Ostracism in the Context of the Social Impact Theory: The Effect of Numbers of Source and Target on Four Fundamental Needs
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Ostracism refers to being ignored, excluded by other individuals or groups (Williams, 2007a). Although it was claimed that the devastating immediate reactions to ostracism are universal and independent from individual differences and situational variables, some of the studies do not support this assertion (Williams, 2001; Williams & Zadro, 2005). According to social impact theory (Latane, 1981), both the number of sources and targets have a decisive role on the effect of sources on target. If the process of ostracism could be framed as a social impact process, then the number of sources and targets also could be considered as moderators which would have an effect on immediate reactions of ostracism. In the first experiment of the current study, the impact of ostracism on needs was examined in relation to having an incremental effect with each additional person who ostracized the participant. The impact of ostracism was investigated in relation to having a diminished incremental effect with each additional target person being ostracized in second experiment. Ostracism was manipulated by Get Acquainted Paradigm. The dependent variables were need threats. Participants reported only linear incremental need threat depending on both the number ostracizing sources and the number of ostracized targets.