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Social Psychology chapter 8

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Most people fear social rejection—and for good reason. There appears to be physiological consequences to being rejected. For example, people who recalled past rejections felt the room
they were in was significantly colder (Zhong & Leonardelli) and those excluded during a ball-tossing game rated hot soup and hot coffee as significantly more desirable than did control participants. apparently, one symptom of social exclusion is the physical sensation of being cold. In addition, some experiments indicate that symptoms of rejection are associated with physiological responses, and brain activity, related to pain. For example, participants excluded from a ball-tossing game while their brains were being scanned in an fMRI showed
increased activity in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and right anterior insula, areas of the brain involved in the experience of pain. However, if they had been given a dose of Tylenol prior to the playing the game, these regions did not show heightened activity. Although rejection can clearly be painful, social contact can reduce the physical symptoms of social
rejection. For example, the fMRI of happily married women who held the hand of their
husbands while they anticipated a shock to their ankle showed significantly reduced
anticipatory pain responses than did women who held the hand of a stranger (Coan, et al.).
Why might there be a link between the experience of physical pain and the experience of social rejection? One explanation involving evolutionary theory argues that in our ancient past
reliance on the group was a matter of survival. Therefore, social rejection severely reduced a person's ability to reproduce and survive. Those predisposed to take inclusion and exclusion very seriously passed on their genes to the next generation. Thus, according to this explanation, we are wired to keenly feel even minor instances of rejection because of the survival advantage acceptance provided in our long ago past.

anticipation of rejection can have a major impact on intellectual performance