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Abstract

Previous research has shown that ostracism even by outgroup members is aversive. In this study we examined whether ostracism by a particular type of outgroup, a despised outgroup, was sufficient to inflict emotional distress. We manipulated ostracism using Cyberball, an on-line ball toss game. Ostracized participants reported lower levels of belonging, self-esteem, control, and meaningful existence, and more negative mood, than included participants. Moreover, ostracism by despised outgroup members was no less aversive than ostracism by rival outgroup or ingroup members. Participants differentiated between the groups, however; ostracized individuals reported greater outgroup negativity than included participants only when their co-players were members of the despised outgroup. We interpret these results as evidence for the powerful impact of ostracism and the potential importance of distinguishing between qualitatively different outgroups. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.