Selma Rudert, University of Basel, Division of Social Psychology

Uninvolved observers may judge ostracism in different ways: On the one hand, they can sympathize with the target, perceive ostracism as unacceptable and punish the ostracizers as a consequence. On the other hand, observers may also perceive ostracism as justified, for instance because the target has behaved negatively before being excluded, and additionally punish the target as a consequence. We investigate which situational aspects influence observer’s moral judgment and  about social exclusion and how this moral judgement subsequently affects observers’ behavior. Participants observed alleged group interactions in which one member of the group was ostracized by the others (e.g., in a chat room or a group-working task) and then evaluated the group members, whether ostracism was acceptable in this situation, or decide whether they want to punish  the target or the ostracizing group. We find that observers primarily use knowledge about the situation (e.g., whether the target had deviated from a norm before or not) to form moral judgments and that their subsequent punishing behavior also follows from this moral judgement. However, if observers lack background information, they may also form their morel judgment based on easily available cues and heuristics such as similarities between the members of the observed group or facial characteristics. This is critical, given that an observer’s decision whether to help or to ignore or additionally punish the ostracized person can strongly impact recovery and well-being of ostracism victims


Lunedì 21 maggio 2018, ore 12.00

UNIMIB – Sala Lauree del Dipartimento di Psicologia, U6 (3° piano)

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Per informazioni:

Dott. Paolo Riva