Journal article

Social acceptance and rejection: The sweet and the bitter

DeWall C, Bushman B ...see all

Current Directions in Psychological Science, vol. 20, issue 4 (2011) pp. 256-260

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People have a fundamental need for positive and lasting relationships. In this article, we provide an overview of social psychological research on the topic of social acceptance and rejection. After defining these terms, we describe the need to belong and how it enabled early humans to fulfill their survival and reproductive goals. Next, we review research on the effects of social rejection on emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and biological responses. We also describe research on the neural correlates of social rejection. We offer a theoretical account to explain when and why social rejection produces desirable and undesirable outcomes. We then review evidence regarding how people cope with the pain of social rejection. We conclude by identifying factors associated with heightened and diminished responses to social rejection.

Author-supplied keywords

  • baby
  • deep down even the
  • for the same thing
  • most hardened criminal is
  • need to belong
  • social acceptance
  • social exclusion
  • social rejection
  • starving
  • that motivates the innocent

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  • C. N. DeWall

  • B. J. Bushman

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