Left Unheard: Detecting Mood and Aggression Through Ostracism and Trait Mindfulness
Ostracism occurs in the real world but causal investigation of the effect of ostracism on antisocial behavior (i.e., aggression) is typically limited by ethical consideration. This lab-based study (N = 131 Indonesian undergraduates) replicated and extended Chester and DeWall’s (2016) work by: (1) measuring the impact of ostracism on direct physical aggression rather than symbolic form of aggression; (2) investigating the role of trait mindfulness as a potential emotion regulation mechanism to replace the mood-improving qualities in aggression; and (3) employing a non-Western sample. We found that after being involved in the CRTT, ostracized participants mood had recovered at least in terms of negative affect. Aggression might have been seen as justifiable once it was followed by an act of restoring control of to not damage the ostracizer’s reputation afterwards. Moreover, we found that trait mindfulness could buffer negative reactions to ostracism by reducing aggressiveness once the negative affect was higher. As a whole, this study may provide a useful framework on whether and when the mechanism of mood improvement as well as individual differences in mindfulness could be incorporated into the intervention strategies for preventing ostracism-related aggression before escalating to violence.
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