Understanding common and diverse forms of social exclusion
In modern times, social relationships afford various psychological benefits such as social identity, self-esteem, a sense of meaning, and valuable social support in times of stress. This chapter reviews the research on various types of social exclusion and highlights some of the new ways in which researchers are applying these concepts to understand diverse types of negative interpersonal situations. The conceptual definition of rejection can be extended to involve discriminatory behaviors that make someone feel they are unwanted, either interpersonally or at the societal level. Researchers have theorized that people find subtle forms of ostracism aversive because humans have likely evolved to be sensitive to any cue that their social relationships are in danger; these cues help calibrate one’s expectations for social inclusion and motivate attention toward social threats. The chapter concludes with some broader questions and ideas relevant to future directions in both theory-building and research on social-exclusion related phenomena.