The effects of ostracism and cultural worldviews on antisocial behavior: using terror management theory as a means to assuage adverse interpersonal communication
Masterson, Catherine P.
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Research on ostracism demonstrates that following an ostracism event, victims may act antisocially towards others (Twenge, Baumeister, Tice, & Stucke, 2001). The current study focuses on examining a method to mitigate such negative interpersonal effects (i.e., antisocial behaviors) following ostracism. Terror management theory suggests, and research corroborates, that one’s cultural worldview alleviates this terror that is produced by thinking of one’s own death. Furthermore, research demonstrates that ostracism leads to similar experiences of terror that is produced when one thinks of one’s own death. Given that ostracism can produce similar feelings of terror, as experienced when one thinks of one’s own death, we argue that reflecting one’s cultural worldviews could absolve antisocial behavior following an ostracism event, similar to how it absolves terror when death is made salient. In order to test our hypotheses, an experiment was conducted in which ostracism and cultural worldviews were varied. Results did not reveal significant main effects or interaction effects. Limitations are identified and the findings are discussed in consideration of ostracism and terror management theory research. The current study procedures were carefully reviewed in light of the null findings.