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With Dr. Vivian Zayas, I am currently researching the social regulatory functions of emotion and the involuntary excluder effect, a cognitive bias that leads individuals to perceive included persons as excluders themselves.


We recently presented a poster at the 2019 Society of Personality and Social Psychology conference in Portland, Oregon on the psychological consequences of being included when another is excluded. We designed a novel in-person paradigm to examine the extent to which the IEE emerges over time in three-person interactions where two participants are implicitly included or rejected by a confederate after an equitable, inclusive interaction. Replicating previous work (Critcher & Zayas, 2014), we found that the excluded assumed the included would exclude them later, when the included reported no such intention. The excluded also believed that the included liked them less than they liked the excluder. Although past work showed no such preference, the included indeed reported liking the excluder more than the excluded. They also experienced enhanced mood and feelings of belonging, control, and meaningful existence. Further, the included did not report any increased awkwardness after being "caught-in-the-middle." Thus, despite the included’s reported intentions to be inclusive, the psychological benefits gained from being included may sow the seeds for future exclusion.

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