Twenty one female Illinois Wesleyan students participated in an experiment examining changes in brain activity following social ostracism in a chat-room environment. More specifically theta EEG activity was recorded from three frontal areas (the Fz, F3, and F4 sites) and theta power and frequency were compared during three phases: inclusion, exclusion, and re-inclusion. The social ostracism paradigm was successful in creating a feeling of exclusion in participants. Participants had a lower level of interest, participation, and enjoyment during the exclusion phase than the inclusion and re-inclusion phases. Participants also typed fewer lines during the exclusion phase than in the other phases. The results of this ongoing study show a trend in the EEG data collected from the three areas. An increase in theta power was seen in the right frontal (F4) area, which is opposite to decreased theta power seen in the left frontal (F3) and midline (Fz) data seen between the inclusion and exclusion phase. These changes in EEG activity suggest that social ostracism effected participants emotionally and cognitively and decreased their feeling of inclusion in the chat-room and that different brain areas play different roles in the processing of social rejection.



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