Research in Social Neuroscience: How Perceived Social Isolation, Ostracism, and Romantic Rejection Affect Our Brain

  • Stephanie CacioppoEmail author
  • John T. Cacioppo


Social exclusion has been defined broadly as the experience of being kept apart from others physically or emotionally. Our basic premise regarding the psychological study of social exclusion is that the brain is the key organ for forming, monitoring, maintaining, repairing, and replacing the salutary connections with others that Homo sapiens, as a social species, need to survive, reproduce, and leave a genetic legacy. Therefore, we focus here on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies of the neural correlates of perceptions of social isolation (i.e., loneliness), ostracism, and romantic rejection. Although this research suggests that the neural correlates may vary for these three forms of social exclusion, we discuss methodological and statistical issues that need to be addressed to determine the unique and common neural substrates across various forms of social exclusion.


Romantic rejection Social isolation Loneliness Ostracism Social exclusion fMRI Electrical neuroimaging Neural markers Social threat Implicit attention 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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