Social exclusion and selective memory: How the need to belong influences memory for social events

Wendi L. Gardner*, Cynthia L. Pickett, Marilynn B. Brewer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

367 Scopus citations

Abstract

The need to belong has been forwarded as a pervasive human motive, influencing a range of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral responses. The current research explored the influence of belongingness needs on the selective retention of social information. Just as physical hunger results in selective memory for food-relevant stimuli, it was hypothesized that social hunger, aroused when belongingness needs were unmet, would result in selective memory for socially relevant stimuli. In two studies, the authors used a simulated computer chat room to present brief acceptance or rejection experiences to participants. Participants then read a diary containing both social and individual events. In both, rejection experiences resulted in selective memory for the explicitly social events of the diary. The implication of these results for the existence and consequences of a basic need to belong are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)486-496
Number of pages11
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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