Defined broadly, social rejection refers to one's perceived reduction of social acceptance, group inclusion, or sense of belonging. Social psychologists study real, imagined, and implied rejection in a variety of forms and contexts. Explicit rejection, exclusion, and ostracism are different kinds of rejection than can occur within groups or dyadic relationships of a romantic or platonic nature. Rejection typically produces negative immediate effects and leads to either antisocial or prosocial behavior, depending on the context of subsequent interactions.


Even though philosophers, writers, and laypeople have contemplated the nature of social rejection for centuries, social scientists had not formulated cohesive theories about social rejection and acceptance until relatively recently. In the 1950s, psychologists such as Stanley Schachter began examining the motivations that underlie social contact, and Abraham ...

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