The transfer of social exclusion and inclusion functions through derived stimulus relations

Anita Munnelly, Georgina Martin, Charlotte Dack, Ann Zedginidze, Louise McHugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
192 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Previous studies have found that social exclusion can cause distress to those excluded. One method used to study social exclusion is through a virtual ball-toss game known as Cyberball. In this game, participants may be excluded from or included in the ball-toss game and typically report lower feelings of self-esteem, control, belonging, and meaningful existence following exclusion. Experiments 1 and 2 sought to explore the transfer of feelings of exclusion and inclusion through stimulus equivalence classes. In both experiments, participants were trained to form two three-member equivalence classes (e.g., A1-B1, B1-C1; A2-B2, B2-C2) and were tested with novel stimulus combinations (A1-C1, C1-A1, A2-C2, C2-A2). Thereafter, participants were exposed to the Cyberball exclusion and inclusion games. In these games, one stimulus (C1) from one equivalence class was assigned as the Cyberball inclusion game name, whereas one stimulus (C2) from the other equivalence class was assigned as the Cyberball exclusion game name. In Experiment 2, participants were only exposed to the Cyberball exclusion game. During a subsequent transfer test, participants were asked to rate how included in or excluded from they thought they would be in other online games, corresponding to members of both equivalence classes. Participant reported that they felt they would be excluded from online games if the games were members of the same equivalence class as C2. In contrast, participants reported that they felt they would be included in online games if the games were members of the same equivalence class as C1. Results indicated the transfer of feelings of inclusion (Experiment 1) and feelings of exclusion (Experiments 1 and 2) through equivalence classes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-280
JournalLearning and Behavior
Volume42
Issue number3
Early online date19 Jun 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014

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