Get out or stay out: How the social exclusion process affects actors, but not targets

Frank T. Doolaard*, Gert Jan Lelieveld, Marret K. Noordewier, Ilja van Beest, Eric van Dijk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
83 Downloads (Pure)


It is well documented that when people (targets) are socially excluded by others (actors) they feel hurt. To understand social exclusion, however, we argue it is crucial to look not only at the end state of exclusion (do targets end up excluded or included?) but also at the process (how are targets excluded?). In four studies we differentiated between two processes of exclusion: being removed from a group and being denied access into a group. Results indicate that actors' exclusion behavior was influenced by the process: Actors were more likely to deny others access into the group than to remove members from the group. The data suggest that actors may do so because they consider inclusion of group members to be the norm, while group norms do not prescribe the inclusion of prospective members. For targets being denied access and being removed from a group was equally distressing. We conclude that the process of exclusion is critical to understand when actors exclude others, but does not affect excluded targets' feelings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103946
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Actors
  • Exclusion process
  • LIFE
  • NEED
  • Ostracism
  • PLAY
  • Prospective members
  • Rejection
  • Social exclusion


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