Behavior Research Methods

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 361–373 | Cite as

Ostracism Online: A social media ostracism paradigm

  • Wouter Wolf
  • Ana Levordashka
  • Johanna R. Ruff
  • Steven Kraaijeveld
  • Jan-Matthis Lueckmann
  • Kipling D. Williams
Brief Communication


We describe Ostracism Online, a novel, social media–based ostracism paradigm designed to (1) keep social interaction experimentally controlled, (2) provide researchers with the flexibility to manipulate the properties of the social situation to fit their research purposes, (3) be suitable for online data collection, (4) be convenient for studying subsequent within-group behavior, and (5) be ecologically valid. After collecting data online, we compared the Ostracism Online paradigm with the Cyberball paradigm (Williams & Jarvis Behavior Research Methods, 38, 174–180, 2006) on need-threat and mood questionnaire scores (van Beest & Williams Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 91, 918–928, 2006). We also examined whether ostracized targets of either paradigm would be more likely to conform to their group members than if they had been included. Using a Bayesian analysis of variance to examine the individual effects of the different paradigms and to compare these effects across paradigms, we found analogous effects on need-threat and mood. Perhaps because we examined conformity to the ostracizers (rather than neutral sources), neither paradigm showed effects of ostracism on conformity. We conclude that Ostracism Online is a cost-effective, easy to use, and ecologically valid research tool for studying the psychological and behavioral effects of ostracism.


Ostracism Rejection Exclusion Social media 

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (DOC 93 kb)
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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wouter Wolf
    • 1
    • 3
  • Ana Levordashka
    • 1
    • 4
  • Johanna R. Ruff
    • 1
  • Steven Kraaijeveld
    • 1
  • Jan-Matthis Lueckmann
    • 1
  • Kipling D. Williams
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Social and Organizational PsychologyFree University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Psychological SciencesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  3. 3.Department of Experimental PsychologyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  4. 4.Knowledge Media Research CenterTübingenGermany

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