Causal Uncertainty and Social Rejection
I conducted three studies to investigate the impact of causal uncertainty on people's reactions to social rejection using three different social rejection research paradigms. In Study 1, I used the future-life paradigm, where participants completed a personality test and then were provided with feedback that in the future either they likely will end up with few, if any, meaningful social relationships (exclusion), or they will have many such relationships (inclusion). In Study 2, I used the autobiographical recall paradigm where participants recalled a time when either they were socially excluded or included. In Study 3, I used a group task wherein participants ostensibly exchange information about themselves with other people in their experimental session but later learn that none of the other participants wanted to work with them (exclusion) or that all of them did (inclusion). In each study, the dependent variables were basic need fulfillment and negative affect. Across all three studies, higher levels of causal uncertainty were associated with lower levels of both need fulfilment and mood, but the predicted interaction between causal uncertainty and the rejection manipulation was not significant.