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Pfundmair, Michaela; Aydin, Nilüfer; Du, Hongfei; Yeung, Susanna; Frey, Dieter; Graupmann, Verena (2015): Exclude Me If You Can – Cultural Effects on the Outcomes of Social Exclusion. In: Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, Vol. 46, No. 4: pp. 579-596
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Abstract

We examined how individualistic versus collectivistic cultural backgrounds affected the psychological experience of social exclusion. We found that Turkish, Chinese, and Indian participants (collectivistic background) differed in their experience of social exclusion from German participants (individualistic background): German participants experienced lower fulfillment of psychological needs in response to social exclusion, whereas Turkish, Chinese, and Indian participants were affected to a lesser extent (Turkey, India, Hong Kong) or not at all (mainland China) by social exclusion manipulations. Testing two different explanatory mechanisms in Study 3, we found that the difference in dealing with social exclusion was not associated with activating social representations in participants with collectivistic background but with exclusion being associated with more threat in participants with individualistic background. In Study 4, cultural differences emerged also on the physiological level: German participants’ heart rates were increased when excluded, whereas Chinese participants showed no change in heart rate during exclusion. The results are discussed regarding their implications for the role of self-construal and culture when dealing with the threat of social exclusion.