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The Visual Influence of Ostracism

European Journal of Social Psychology

Published online on


Reflecting the fundamental human need to establish and maintain positive connections with others, it has been suggested that an Ostracism Detection System (ODS) is sensitized to targets by which one has been ostracized. Evidence supporting the operation of this system has yet to be provided, however. Accordingly, using binocular rivalry to explore attentional processing, here we considered the extent to which targets previously associated with ostracism dominate visual awareness. Participants initially performed a virtual ball‐tossing game (i.e., Cyberball) in which they were ‘ostracized’ or ‘included’ by the other players. Afterwards, the faces of these players were presented together with houses in a binocular rivalry task. The results revealed that targets associated with ostracism (vs. inclusion) dominated longest in visual awareness.