14 Pages

Social ostracism as a factor motivating interest in extreme groups

WithKipling D. Williams, Andrew H. Hales, Corinna Michels

This chapter focuses on social exclusion as one particular psychological variable that plays a role in preparing people to embrace extremist ideologies. Ostracism is a painful event that threatens the need for belonging, self-esteem, control, and meaningful existence. Ostracism has been documented to trigger a number of unpleasant and troubling outcomes; people who are ostracized experience literal pain, negative affect, threat to fundamental needs, and aggression. The chapter introduces the temporal Need-Threat Model of Ostracism as a framework for considering the interplay between social exclusion and extremism. It considers three attributes of extreme groups that might make them particularly attractive to people who have been ostracized. These include: extreme groups are better able to resolve the uncertainty that is aroused when someone is ostracized; extreme groups are more entitative; and extreme groups are more able to make a noticeable impact.