Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Kip Williams

Kip Williams

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  • SPN Mentor

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

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

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: 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:

To see a current list of all published articles using Cyberball, go here:

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 ( 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).

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.

Primary Interests:

  • 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:

Online Studies:

Note from the Network: The holder of this profile has certified having all necessary rights, licenses, and authorization to post the files listed below. Visitors are welcome to copy or use any files for noncommercial or journalistic purposes provided they credit the profile holder and cite this page as the source.

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Journal Articles:

Other Publications:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Williams, K. D. (2007). Ostracism. Annual Review of Psychology, 58, 425-452.

Courses Taught:

Kip Williams
Department of Psychological Sciences
Purdue University
703 Third Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2081
United States

  • Phone: (765) 494-0845
  • Fax: (765) 496-1264

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