Scientific Report


1. Research in the area of ostracism, exclusion, and rejection is at an all-time high. We are now past the point of simple demonstrations and replications, and are now examining the processes, mediators, and moderators. The goal of this workshop was to bring together the top researchers working on ostracism, exclusion, and rejection, who work on these topics from varying levels of analysis, to determine (a) where we stand, (b) where we agree, (c) where we disagree, and (d) future directions for as yet unexplored research. Many of these researchers had not met personally, yet were interested in the same topics and are aware of the others’ research contributions. This gave these researchers a chance to meet, and to forge collaborations for the future. 


2. While no specific tangible outcome was envisioned, an edited handbook on ostracism and exclusion (Williams & Nida) will draw from many of the participants of this conference.


3. It is probably too early to tell if such a "breakthrough" occurred, but there were certainly (a) good discussions about what would be necessary to further the claim of pain-overlap theory (that physical pain and social pain are highly similar and use the same brain regions), (b) indications of interesting and important applications of the theoretical work leading to this conference (including assessment of adolescent histories with ostracism and bullying, and downstream consequences of ostracism in the workplace).


4. The inclusion of Doug Fry, an anthropologist, provided an "aha" moment for many participants as they discovered the role of (partial or anticipated) ostracism in early hunter-gather groups in our evolutionary past.


1. We organized the conference by first providing broad theoretical models of ostracism, exclusion, and rejection. Then we moved from micro-level research and theory (neuro, physiological, genetic) examinations, to intrapersonal levels (effects on cognition, motivation, and emotion), to interpersonal levels (effects on interactions with others), to societal levels (intergroup relations, impact on youth, impact on employees, impact on marginalized religions and societies). 


2.  Presenters gave 30-minute talks, followed by lively discussions. An innovation from typical conferences, we were delighted to screen of an upcoming documentary, REJECT, and listen to the director Ruth Thomas-Suh (New York). This film combines real-life narratives of ostracism, exclusion, and rejection with the science (many of whom were in the audience) aimed at understanding these phenomena. This film triggered much discussion, and provided useful connections throughout the week.


3. I thought it went very well, and felt the Lorentz staff helped us immensely at every stage of the workshop.


Scientific organizers:

Ilja van Beest (Tilburg University, Netherlands)

Kipling D. Williams (Purdue University, USA)