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Drawing on theories of development, motivation, and personality we examined children's and adolescents' emotional and cognitive perception of, and explained their behavioral reactions to, ostracism in two experimental studies. In Study one, 93 fourth- and eighth-graders (49 girls) were either socially included or excluded within a virtual ball-tossing game (cyberball). Results demonstrated that ostracism causes negative emotions and a selective memory for social events, similarly for children and adolescents, which verifies the usefulness of cyberball beyond self-reports. In Study two, 97 fourth- to ninth-graders (43 girls) behaviorally reacted to the previously induced ostracism episode within a modified paradigm (cyberball-R). Multinomial logistic regression demonstrated that psychosocial differences between participants displaying prosocial, avoidant, and antisocial reactions followed the expected pattern, which provides initial evidence concerning moderators that prevent children and adolescents from receiving further aggression. © 2013 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Original publication




Journal article


Social Influence

Publication Date





217 - 236