Construal Level and Social Exclusion: Concrete Thinking Impedes Recovery from Social Exclusion

Social exclusion is a painful experience. Recent research has shown, however, that coping with exclusion can be facilitated by favorable conditions. In the current research, we investigated whether construal level affects recovery from social exclusion. We hypothesized that an abstract vs. concrete mindset would moderate coping with exclusion. Indeed, lower compared to higher concrete thinking (Study 1) and abstract compared to concrete thinking (Study 2) bolstered the basic need of belonging when excluded. Priming of abstract thinking, moreover, increased participants’ sense of belonging both in response to exclusion and inclusion relative to no priming (Study 3). Our results are the first to establish a relationship between construal level and social exclusion, thereby suggesting an alleviating “abstraction discount” effect for the consequences of social exclusion.

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APA-Format Citation

Pfundmair, M., Lermer, E., Frey, D., & Aydin, N. (2015). Construal level and social exclusion: Concrete thinking impedes recovery from social exclusion. The Journal of social psychology, 155(4), 338-355.