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How People Respond To Interpersonal Rejections

3107 words - 12 pages

The desire for positive social relationships is one of the most fundamental and universal human needs. This need has a deep root in evolutionary history in relation to mating and natural selection and this can exert a powerful impact on contemporary human psychological processes (Baumeister & Leary 1995). Failure to satisfy these needs can bear devastating consequences on the psychological well being of an individual. These needs might not be satisfied as rejection, isolation, and ostracism occurs on a daily basis to people. Although being ignored and excluded is a pervasive circumstance present throughout history across species, and humans of all ages and cultures i.e the use of Ostracism (the feeling of isolation and exclusion) has been observed in modern cultures (Woods 1978) Schools and academic institutions (Heron 1987) and interpersonal relationships (Williams 2000). Although ostracism can be seen as a social norm the effect this can have on an individual has the potential of being detrimental to individuals including extreme feelings of hurt. Individuals can respond to rejection in different ways ranging from psychologically to behaviourally. Both psychological and behavioural responses to interpersonal rejection posit theories based on the various paradigms used to stimulate ostracism in experimental settings resulting in s the creation of models by the likes of Williams (2007) and Leary (2009).
It is vitally important to recognise just how important the element of feeling accepted is to human survival in order to understand why rejection can cause detrimental effects to psychological wellbeing. Maslow in 1943 developed the hierarchy of needs, which accumulates varying components from physiological aspects (breathing, food, etc.) to Love and belonging (friendship, family, sexual intimacy) and Esteem (respect by others, confidence etc.). With the evaluation of the hierarchy of needs it represents that positive interpersonal relationships are at the core of existence just as much as physiological needs. Since the basis of human existence is supported by the hierarchy of needs its important to discuss what happens when aspects of this is non-existent i.e interpersonal relationships.
Research that has developed is extensive as to how ostracism has and is being used to marginalize individuals and groups and the consequences this can have on the individual and society. The primary research of Ostracism began with studies that provided a foundation by studying how individuals react to being ostracised by a few others which provided sources for understanding how minorities would feel if they were to be marginalized by a dominant society (Carter-Sowell 2008). The primary research within ostracism was central to psychological and emotional responses. One of the first paradigms developed was the ball toss paradigm by Williams and Sommer in 1997. This experiment stimulated the victim to feel ostracized because the participants would toss the...

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