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“It’s like the whole field missed this centrally important part of human life,” says Mark Leary, Ph D, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University.That’s changed over the last decade and a half, as a growing number of researchers have turned their eyes toward this uncomfortable fact of life.Using his Cyberball model, he found that African- American students experienced the same pain of rejection when they were told that the people rejecting them were members of the Ku Klux Klan, a racist group.In other studies, participants earned money when they were rejected, but not when they were accepted.Ostracized people sometimes become aggressive and can turn to violence.
To study rejection inside an f MRI scanner, the researchers used a technique called Cyberball, which Williams designed following his own experience of being suddenly excluded by two Frisbee players at the park.The brain regions associated with physical pain lit up as the participants viewed photographs of their exes (, 2011).The link between physical and social pain might sound surprising, but it makes biological sense, De Wall says.Clearly, there are good reasons to better understand the effects of being excluded. Just as we have needs for food and water, we also have needs for positive and lasting relationships,” says C.
Nathan De Wall, Ph D, a psychologist at the University of Kentucky.
“This need is deeply rooted in our evolutionary history and has all sorts of consequences for modern psychological processes.” As clever as human beings are, we rely on social groups for survival.