Facial cues influence how social exclusion is judged

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Plazma Inferno!, Aug 31, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

    Social exclusion – be it at school, work or among friends - is usually a painful experience for those affected. This behavior also often has a considerable effect on third-party observers: Bullying and ostracism with the aim to hurt the victims are seen as particularly unfair and morally unacceptable. However, in some cases, social exclusion is also perceived as justified. Groups are, for example, more likely to ostracize people who cause trouble or arguments in order to restore the harmony in their group.
    Whether uninvolved observers view social exclusion as morally justified or not can be very important for the victim as a possible intervention depends on that judgment. Making such a moral judgment, however, is often difficult and time consuming, which is why observers revert to relatively superficial indicators for guidance. One such indicator is the face of the excluded person.
    In several studies, the team of psychologists from the University of Basel presented different male faces to a total of 480 participants. The facial characteristics had previously been altered using a recently developed method for facial manipulation. The portraits were manipulated to appear warm or cold and competent or incompetent. The participants looked at each portrait for two seconds before spontaneously deciding how acceptable they thought it was for a group to exclude this person.
    In all studies, participants found it more acceptable to socially exclude people whose faces looked cold and incompetent. However, exclusion was found least acceptable when those excluded looked warm and incompetent. A possible explanation for this could be that these people are often perceived as especially in need of protection and therefore excluding them from a group would be particularly cruel.

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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    The pictures in the link seem to suggest a possibility that the researchers have built in an ambiguity between competence and confidence - granted that very confusion is common and will plausibly influence crowd judgments in parallel, but would lead them wrong in certain circumstances of interpretation.
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