Tag Archives: social exclusion

Google+ Invitations: We all want one. Why?

By Erica Zaiser

Those who pay attention to the online world will probably know that Google+ fever is sweeping the blogosphere. Everyone wants an invite to the “Facebook killer” and invites are pretty hard to come by. If you are lucky enough to have one, you can brag about being in the group early and if not, you are left wondering what is going on in there and will you ever get to be a part of it. Invites are in such demand they are even popping up for sale on ebay for as much as $100.

What is the rush and why are we all clamouring to jump on board the Google+ ship when we don’t even know what it’s all about? Well for one, we humans love to belong to groups. And what could be better than belonging to Google+, a group which is entirely based on the ability to form groups. Because Google+ is by invitation only, the boundaries are less permeable than Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and the other social networking sites; anyone can join those simply by signing up. Permeability of boundaries has been linked to group identification in numerous psychology studies. Members of groups with highly permeable boundaries have reduced ingroup identification. So a person who is on Facebook just won’t feel as passionate about being a “Facebook user” as someone who is part of Google+.  Google+ users on the other hand, feel strongly about their membership and are spreading their new ingroup love, which automatically makes Google+ seem pretty cool and exclusive.

We are now willing to buy our way into a group that four days ago didn’t even exist because if there is one thing people hate, it’s being excluded.  By releasing the new social networking site as invite only, Google has created something we want to be part of but most just can’t. In a review of research on social exclusion, Dewall and colleagues (2010) highlight how being left out can cause numerous behavioural and emotional problems. Social exclusion can lead to increased aggression, decrease pro-social behaviour, and even induce actual physical pain. Hopefully more invites will open up before those who are being excluded start suffering the negative effects of social exclusion. And yes, I am still waiting for my invite too.

Read more: Belongingness as a Core Personality Trait: How Social Exclusion Influences Social Functioning and Personality Expression

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Money can’t buy friends but it may help you cope without them

Money

By Erica Zaiser

With the recent economic crisis many may be finding it harder to keep up with the Joneses. Undoubtedly, losing a job and its potential impact on one’s finances is highly stressful in and of itself, but many people may feel added pressure from the need to maintain their social status despite economic loss.

People will go to great lengths to retain their place in a group because being socially ostracized can be a highly stressful and often traumatic experience. Ostracism has been linked to a number of psychological responses as well as actually physical pain.  The bad news is that, according to a recent study, when people feel socially ostracized their desire for money only increases because money represents power and status (Zhou, Vohs, & Baumeister, 2009). The good news is that the same research suggests that just the simple act of counting money (as opposed to blank paper) can lessen the negative feelings associated with social exclusion, even when it is someone else’s money. Even more, counting money can actually lessen perceptions of physical pain. Conversely, when people are reminded of having spent or losing money they report feeling higher levels of mental distress as well as physical pain.

One explanation for this is that counting money reminds us of money, which is a potential social resource for coping and gaining status. Thus, as we lose friends we want to increase our financial resources and conversely, as we lose financial security we are more distraught by losing friends. In this way financial and social resources may act as a type of psychological currency that allows you to “buy” confidence and feelings of efficacy, which are linked to both psychological and physical pain.

So during these hard financial times, if you find you can no longer keep up with the Joneses financially, you may want to try being friends with them instead.

square-eye Read more about the effects of ostracism:  Williams, K.D. (2007). Ostracism: The kiss of social death. Social and Personality Compass1, 236–247.

Zhou, Xinyue, Kathleen D. Vohs, and Roy F. Baumeister (2009), “The Symbolic Power of
Money: Reminders of Money Alter Social Distress and Physical Pain,” Psychological
Science.

square-eye Zhou, X. , Vohs K. D., Baumeister, R. (2009). The symbolic power of money: Reminders of money alter social distress and physical  pain, Psychological Science, 20, 700-706.

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