322 Social Exclusion & Prosocial Behavior

Researched by Twenge, Jean. M., Ciarocco, Natalie. J., Baumeister, Roy. F., DeWall, C. Nathan., & Bartels, J. Michael. (2007).

Written by Bethany Wellman, M.S.

What happens when we feel our social belonging is threatened or taken away?

Social psychologist Jean Twenge and colleagues engaged 260 participants across seven experiments to study the impact of social exclusion on prosocial behaviors, such as being helpful, respectful, and kind. In each experiment, after an assessment, one group was “socially excluded” by being told in their future they would likely be alone, compared to each of the other groups told they’d likely enjoy rich personal relationships (future belonging), be accident prone (misfortunate), or (given no predictions).

Overall, when participants were in the excluded group, there was substantial reductions in their prosocial behavior. The excluded participants did such things as donated less money, did not volunteer further, were less helpful after a mishap, and cooperated less in a game. Rejection hurts. When socially excluded, the participants had reduced feelings of empathy, the key factor in their acting less prosocial.  The exclusion did not impact their mood, self-esteem, belongingness, trust, control, or self-awareness.

Be generous and inclusive of others, it encourages cooperation, helpfulness, and especially other’s empathy. To decrease stress and increase other’s as well as our own emotional well-being, reach out to, respect everyone.


Twenge, J. M., Ciarocco, N. J., Baumeister, R. F., DeWall, C. N., & Bartels, J. M. (2007). Social Exclusion Decreases Prosocial Behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology92(1), 56-66.

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