My interests lie broadly in group processes and social influence. My specific research topics include ostracism, social loafing and social compensation, stealing thunder, Internet research, and psychology and law.
OSTRACISM: I am working primarily on ostracism-being ignored and excluded-and how it affects individuals and groups. Our studies indicate that the initial reaction to ostracism is pain, which is similarly felt by all individuals regardless of personality or social/situational factors. Ostracism then instigates actions aimed at recovering thwarted needs of belonging, self-esteem, control, and meaningful existence. Our thinking is that control and existence-fortification can lead to anti-social behaviors, belonging and self-esteem-fortification often leads to social attentiveness and pro-social behaviors. However, a possible dysfunctional consequence of enhancing one's inclusionary status is heightened social susceptibility. We are currently investigating the effects of ostracism on social susceptibility, pro-social behaviors, and aggression. I am pleased to provide you complimentary one-time access to my Annual Reviews article as a PDF file (see link below), for your own personal use. Any further/multiple distribution, publication, or commercial usage of this copyrighted material would require submission of a permission request addressed to the Annual Reviews Permissions Department, email permissions@AnnualReviews.org.
I also wrote a book on ostracism: Williams, K. D. (2001). Ostracism: The power of silence. New York: Guilford Publications. You can purchase this on Amazon.com.
CYBERBALL. I have a free downloadable program called "Cyberball" that can be used in research on ostracism, social exclusion, rejection, bullying, discrimination, etc. Click the Cyberball link: http://www1.psych.purdue.edu/~willia55/Announce/cyberball.htm. The newest version, Cyberball 4.0, the development which was overseen by David Yeager, is written in HTML5, and works on all platforms. This can also be reached at: https://cyberball.wikispaces.com/.
To see a current list of all published articles using Cyberball, go here: http://www1.psych.purdue.edu/~willia55/Announce/Cyberball_Articles.htm
OSTRACISM ONLINE. My colleagues and I have developed a new paradigm with which to examine the impact of ostracism. This new paradigm is a social media (FaceBook-like) platform, that is freely available to researchers. It's URL is http://smpo.github.io/socialmedia/
Wolf, W., Levordashka, A., Ruff, J., Kraaijeveld, S., & Williams, K. D. (in press). Ostracism Online: A social media ostracism paradigm. Behavioral Research Methods.
REJECT (film). There is a film documentary that just came called REJECT. It was directed and produced by New York director Ruth Thomas-Suh. This is her first documentary.
This film features several social psychologists: me and our lab's work at Purdue, Ethan Kross and his work at the University of Michigan, Naomi Eisenberger and Matt Lieberman and their brain science at UCLA, Nathan DeWall and his work at the Univ of Kentucky, and Ronald Rohner and his life's work on acceptance and rejection at UConn. It very much promotes psychological science as a way to discover and inform public policy on the effects of ostracism, rejection, and exclusion, particularly in our schools.
SOCIAL PAIN. Ostracism, like betrayal, humiliation, and interpersonal loss, causes pain. Recent researchers and theorists have argued compellingly that social pain built upon the neural architecture of physical pain, which evolved first. We are currently examining important differences between social and physical pain. One such difference is that social pain can be re-lived over and over again, causing pain on each remembered instance. Physical pain can be recalled as being painful, but is not painful to relive. Four experiments demonstrate this difference in a recent Psychological Science article, "When Hurt Won't Heal: Exploring the Capacity to Relive Social and Physical Pain" (Chen, Williams, Fitness, & Newton, 2008).
SYDNEY SYMPOSIUM OF SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY. I frequently co-convened (with Joseph Forgas, Bill von Hippel, and others) the annual Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology series (www.sydneysymposium.unsw.edu.au). The last few that I was involved in include the 2004 Symposium on "The Social Outcast: Ostracism, Social Exclusion, Rejection, and Bullying" (with Joe Forgas and Bill von Hippel) and the 2009 Symposium "Social Conflict and Aggression" (with Joe Forgas and Arie Kruglanski). I enthusiastically support this symposium and urge you all to participate if you get a chance.
PSYCHOLOGY AND LAW. I have a long-standing interest in psychological processes that occur before, during, and after a trial. In addition to teaching psych & law, I have testified numerous times as an eyewitness expert, and more recently on ostracism in the workplace. I have examined prejudicial judge's instructions, eyewitness accuracy and confidence, stealing thunder-a social influence tactic, and most recently, the ability of mock-jurors to discount obvious confidence inflation when an eyewitness's in trial confidence far exceeds their initial identification confidence. See our recent article, "'I had a confidence epiphany!': Obstacles to combating post-identification confidence inflation" (Jones, Williams, & Brewer, N.; Law & Human Behavior, 2008).
EDITOR OF SOCIAL INFLUENCE.
Consider submitting your social influence experiments to SOCIAL INFLUENCE. Article length must be 5000 words or fewer, we like behavioral measures, and we strive to get you an editorial decision within 3 weeks. SOCIAL INFLUENCE covers the range of social influence: psychology, political psychology, consumer psychology, communication science, sociology, and related disciplines.
- Aggression, Conflict, Peace
- Close Relationships
- Group Processes
- Intergroup Relations
- Internet and Virtual Psychology
- Interpersonal Processes
- Law and Public Policy
- Persuasion, Social Influence
Research Group or Laboratory:
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- Brewer, N., & Williams, K. D. (Eds.). (2005). Psychology and law: An empirical perspective. New York: Guilford Press.
- Forgas, J. P., Kruglanski, A., & Williams, K. D. (Eds.). (2011). The psychology of social conflict and aggression. New York: Psychology Press.
- Williams, K. D. (2001). Ostracism: The power of silence. New York: Guilford Publications.
- Williams, K. D., Forgas, J. P., & von Hippel, W. (Eds.). (2005). The social outcast: Ostracism, social exclusion, rejection, and bullying. New York: Psychology Press.
- Chen, Z., & Williams, K. D. (2012). Imagined future social pain hurts more now than imagined future physical pain. European Journal of Social Psychology: Special issue on Mental Time Travel, 42, 314-317.
- Chen, Z., Williams, K. D., Fitness, J., & Newton, N. (2008). When hurt will not heal: Exploring the capacity to relive social and physical pain. Psychological Science, 19, 789-795.
- DeWall, C. N, Twenge, J. M., Bushman, B., Im, C., & Williams, K. (2010). A little acceptance goes a long way: Applying social impact theory to the rejection-aggression link. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1, 168-174.
- Eisenberger, N. I., Lieberman, M. D., & Williams, K. D. (2003). Does rejection hurt? An fMRI study of social exclusion. Science, 302, 290-292.
- Gonsalkorale, K., & Williams, K. D. (2007). The KKK won't let me play: Ostracism even by a despised outgroup hurts. European Journal of Social Psychology, 37, 1176-1186.
- Goodwin, S. A., Williams, K. D., & Carter-Sowell, A. R. (2010). The psychological sting of stigma: The costs of attributing ostracism to racism. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46, 612-618.
- Hawes, D. J., Zadro, L., Fink, E., Richardson, R., O’Moore, K., Griffiths, B., Dadds, M. R., & Williams, K. D. (in press). The effects of peer ostracism on children’s cognitive processes. The European Journal of Developmental Psychology.
- Jamieson, J., Harkins, S. G., & Williams, K. D. (2010). Need threat can motivate performance after ostracism. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 690-702.
- Nezlek, J., B., Wesselmann, E., Wheeler, L., & Williams, K. D. (in press). Ostracism in everyday life. Group Dynamics.
- Oaten, M. R., Williams, K. D., Jones, A., & Zadro, L. (2008). The effects of ostracism on self-regulation in the socially anxious. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 27, 471-504.
- Prislin, R., Sawicki, V., & Williams, K. D. (2011). New majorities' abuse of power: Effects of perceived control and social support. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 14, 489-504.
- Riva, P., Wirth, J. H., & Williams, K. D. (2011). The consequences of pain: The social and physical pain overlap on psychological responses. European Journal of Social Psychology, 41, 681-687.
- Sacco, D., Wirth, J. H., Hugenberg, K., Chen, Z., & Williams, K. D. (2011). The world in black and white: Ostracism enhances the categorical perception of social information. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 836-842.
- Saylor, C. F., Nida, S. A., Williams, K. D., Taylor, L. A., Smyth, W., Twyman, K. A., Macias, M. M., & Spratt, E. G. (in press). Bullying and Ostracism Screening Scales (BOSS): Development and applications. Children's Health Care.
- Schaafsma, J., & Williams, K.D. (2012). Exclusion, intergroup hostility, and religious fundamentalism, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2012.02.015
- Van Beest, I., & Williams, K. D. (2011). “Why hast thou forsaken me?”: The effect of thinking about being ostracized by God on well-being and prosocial behavior. Social Psychology and Personality Science, 2, 379-386.
- Van Beest, I., Williams, K. D., & van Dijk, E. (2011). Cyberbomb: Effects of being ostracized from a death game. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 14, 581-596.
- Wesselmann, E. D., Bagg, D., & Williams, K. D. (2009). "I feel your pain”: The effects of observing ostracism on the ostracism detection system. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 1308-1311.
- Wesselmann, E. D., Cardoso, F., Slater, S., & Williams, K. D. (2012). “To be looked at as though air”: Civil attention matters. Psychological Science, 23, 166-168.
- Williams, K. D. (2011). The pain of exclusion. Scientific American Mind, January/February, 30-37.
- Wirth, J. H., Lynam, D. R., & Williams, K. D. (2010). When social pain isn’t automatic: Personality disorder traits buffer ostracism’s immediate negative impact. Journal of Personality Research, 44, 397-401.
- Williams, K. D. (2009). Ostracism: A temporal need-threat model. In M. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 41, (pp. 279-314). NY: Academic Press.
- Williams, K. D. (2007). Ostracism. Annual Review of Psychology, 58, 425-452.
- Wirth, J. H., Feldberg, F., Schouten, K., van den Hooff, B., & Williams, K. (2012). Using virtual game environments to study group behavior. In A. B. Hollingshead & M. S. Poole (Eds.), Research methods for studying groups: A behind-the-scenes guide (pp. 173-198). NY: Taylor & Francis/Routledge.
Department of Psychological Sciences
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