Publication Date

January 2013


Being the target of social exclusion produces a number of negative consequences, including deficits in cognitive functioning related to self-regulation and general cognition. While such effects have been acknowledged, there is a lack of literature examining the influence of social exclusion on both neural and behavioral indices of self-regulatory action monitoring processes during task performance. Accordingly, the current study utilized event-related brain potentials (ERPs) to investigate the influence of social exclusion, created through the use of the Cyberball paradigm, on neural and behavioral indices of self-regulatory action monitoring processes implemented during the execution of a modified flanker task. Specifically, the study examined the error-related negativity (ERN), a neural index of self-regulation following performance errors, and post-error response accuracy, a behavioral indicator of the ability to correct behavior. Results indicated that participants who were excluded during the Cyberball paradigm showed subsequent decreases in both ERN amplitude and post-error response accuracy following social exclusion. Conversely, participants who were not excluded during Cyberball evidenced greater ERN amplitude and improved post-error response accuracy following the Cyberball interaction. These findings suggest that self-regulatory action monitoring processes, including the ability to effectively detect and correct performance errors during task execution, are compromised following the experience of being excluded from a social interaction.



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