|Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology 2004
(Sponsored by: University of New South Wales, Macquarie University, and the Australian Research Council)
The social outcast:
Ostracism, social exclusion, rejection, and bullying
(in preparation, Psychology Press)
Time: March 15-18, 2004
For our 7th Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology, this symposium will focus on the ubiquitous and powerful effects of rejection, social exclusion, ostracism, and bullying. Human beings are an intrinsically gregarious species. Most of our evolutionary success is no doubt due to our highly developed ability to cooperate and interact with each other. It is thus not suprising that instances of interpersonal rejection and social exclusion would have an enormously detrimental impact on the individual. Until 10 years ago, however, social psychology regarded rejection and social exclusion as merely outcomes to be avoided, but we knew very little about their antecedents and consequences, and about the processes involved when they occurred.
Understanding how people relate to each other, why they choose to exclude others, and how and why individuals and groups respond as they do to acts of rejection and exclusion has never been of greater importance than today. Acts of exclusion have been linked to depression, alienation, suicide, and mass killings. Marginalization leads people to seek stronger bonds with fringe elements, thus creating more opportunities for anti-social behaviors.
The main objective of this symposium is to explore the powerful consequences of social exclusion, at the neurophysiological, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral levels. Based on our presentations and discussions during the symposia, our aim is to produce an edited book, as we have for the past six symposia.
Several chapters in the book will put forward grand integrative models and theories that try to encapsulate the experience of rejection and exclusion. As sweeping as these conceptualizations are, we also recognize that some individuals are more susceptible to acts of exclusion than others, and several chapters will explore and explain these individual differences. Once excluded, individuals perceive and respond to their social environments differently, leading them to interpret and attend to particular information that may help them cope, or often, that may perpetuate their state of exclusion. The book will also discuss the nature and antecedents of adaptive and maladaptive reactions to social exclusion. Finally, we will report several research programs aimed at extricating the links between social exclusion and pro-social or anti-social behavior.
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