|Type of paper:||Research paper|
|Categories:||Students Child development Social psychology Human behavior|
The research titled Online Ostracism Affects Children Differently from Adolescents and Adults (Abrams et al., 2011) was conducted to examine the previously whether and how inclusion and ostracism affect children, adolescents, and adults. The study incorporates four questions which relate to the four needs that are equally threatened by ostracism among children, adolescents, and adults. The first question focuses on the specific need that is affected by the exclusion of the participant. For instance, the authors indicate that children are likely to experience stronger esteem nee threat when they are ostracized by their peers while adolescents between 13-14 years are more likely to experience need to belong threats as they have a stronger focus on peer acceptance as compared to children. The second question focuses on whether the need threat is dependent on the notion that the person had been previously included. The authors noted that this question had not been addressed in earlier research. The third question focused on how the need threats related to the mood of the participant. The final question investigates whether ostracism from in- and out-group members has corresponding negative impacts on children and adolescents as previous studies indicated that exclusion is equally hurtful irrespective of whether either in-group or out-group members initiate the exclusion.
The participants of this study included Sixty-eight males and ninety-eight females. Forty-one of the total participants were 8- to 9-year-olds. Seventy-nine of the remaining number were 13-14-year-olds while the remainder were introductory psychological students with a mean age of 20 years. Even though the authors attempted to incorporate both genders into the research, female participants (34) were more than male participants (12) among the psychological students. The participants took part and completed the Cyberball game in a university or school computer room with the procedure introduced for children between 8-9-year-olds.
The design of the methodology incorporated the four needs. Three trials that consisted of first inclusion, second inclusion, and ostracism were administered to the participants in every age group. Conditioning included random assignment of age group and sequence. Furthermore, the factor of gender excluder varied within the random assignment since the Cyberball game was designed for both adults and children. The old version of the game is displayed in a small area of the computer screen which may have been difficult for some children to view while another version of the game is set in a larger version that fits the whole screen. The first version presents vague figures who are meant to be the players while the new version depicts players using the participant's name. This technique is intended to reduce the chances of possible inference that the other players are not real people. The use of names also made it easier for the authors to include the gender names of the participants.
The three trials were presented in the sequence of inclusion-ostracism-inclusion, or ostracism-inclusion-inclusion to facilitate the integration of all participants. The study incorporated 12 tosses of the players among three players in such a way that each participant received the ball four times across each trial. At the end of the trial, the researchers presented a manipulation check by displaying questions that assess the four needs as well as their enjoyment. The results were illustrated using icons instead of the numeric scale as the 8-9-year-olds quickly understood the symbols. The figures ranged to denote a lot (1) to not at all (5). The questions generally asked the participants if they enjoyed the game and how they felt during the game. The responses mirrored the assessment of each need. The question 'I felt good about myself' measured self-esteem, control was measured by the question 'I felt in charge during the game,' belongingness was measured by the question 'I felt like the odd one out,' and meaningful existence was measured through the question 'I felt invisible.' The mood of the participants was measured with the item, 'I enjoyed playing the game.'
The results illustrated in the study indicate that Ostracism strongly threatened esteem, belonging, meaning, and control needs. The research stated that ostracism lowered the mood among the 8-9-year-olds, 13- to 14-year-olds as well as adults. Furthermore, the results showed that participants did not have any problems with the procedure or the response formats that were employed in the study. The authors explain that the process incorporates more control as well as precision in the evaluation of the effect of ostracism on the participants. According to the journal, esteem needs were generally affected less than the other needs, and the impact of exclusion on esteem needs was more significant among 8-9-year-olds as compared to the other age groups. The need to belong was greatly affected by the 13-14-year-olds' acts as a suggestion that the established social relationships help to build self-esteem, which reduces the threat of ostracism on esteem needs.
The article also noted that the sequence of ostracism has different impacts on primary needs. The authors explain that being isolated from the outset highlights belongingness while being excluded after inclusion emphasizes meaning. This notion may affect the coping response that often includes efforts to be included if ostracism or attempts to find a reason for the exclusion if ostracism occurs after inclusion. Irrespective of the reason for ostracism, all the participants regardless of age, recorded a depressed mood. The need threats, however, related differently to the moods of the participants across the different age groups. For instance, the need threat that was linked to the prediction of attitude among children and adolescents was associated with meaning or esteem instead of control or belonging threat. This notion is in line with the suggestion that adults may be able to distinguish their enjoyment of the game from the need states that are brought up by the game as compared to adolescents and children.
The research also suggests that ostracism has adverse effects irrespective of whether it is from an in-group or out-group. The absence of intergroup effects suggestions is contrary to the previous assumption that children are more affected by gender in-group ostracism as they tend to have stronger gender in-group biases, and henceforth they place a high rank on inclusion by their gender in-group. This notion also suggests that sensitivity to ostracism is mostly high when the excluders are known members of a specific gender in-group than when they are unknown members. The study also indicates that it is easy to restore the needs of children, adults, and adolescents to baseline levels through inclusion experience.
This journal is directed to other researchers in the field of psychology. This notion is further highlighted by the incorporation of complex psychological terms and description of results that the general public cannot easily understand. One of the biggest strengths of this study is that the authors have developed an innovative process to identify the different effects of ostracism on children, adults as well as adolescents that is easy enough to be understood by children who are involved in the research.
The number of participants used in this study has contributed to a reduction in the chances of bias in the study. Simundic (2013) defines bias as the deviation from the truth in regards to data collection, analysis, interpretation, and publication. The increased number of random participants reduce the chances of bias as they are large enough to represent the intended population. Moreover, the results from studying a sample can be generalized to the entire population (Pannucci & Wilkins, 2010). However, the focus of the study on ethnically homogeneous sample population may cause unintentional bias as the population under study is heterogeneous and incorporates multiple races. Thus, the research provides analysis on one particular group and not the general population.
The content applied in the research contributed to the high validity of the study. According to Taherdoost (2016), content validity can be defined as the degree to which the contents in a study reflect the content universe to which the research is generalized. Since this study focused on the effects of ostracism on an individual, the reference material used in this study helped to highlight the research gap while at the same time providing useful information that complemented the research. Thus, the data that is provided by this research adequately covers the general area that the study intended to investigate. In addition, the study also covers face validity as it applies procedures which ensure that all participants will be able to understand and use the process without any problems.
The consistency in measurement applied in the study increases the reliability of the study. Reliability can be identified as dependability and trust in data collection as it facilitates collection of data in a scientifically sound manner (Swanson, 2014). Therefore, the ability of the study to consistently apply the same measurements increased the accuracy as well as the dependability of the study, thus increasing reliability. However, the fact that the study does not involve direct interaction with real people during the procedure may challenge the concept of the validity of the study as the cyber interaction between participants and machines may be different from the direct interaction between real people.
The research incorporates the logos appeal to relate to the intended targets. The analysis uses various analyses to emphasize its objectives. For instance, the authors quote from Abrams & Christian (2007) and Abrams, Hogg, and Marques (2005) when explaining that there are reasons why people may be omitted from social relationships (Abrams et al., 2011). In terms of statistical analysis, the study uses various graphs to illustrate the results of their procedures. This approach is excellent as the authors can appeal to the reasoning aspect of their fellow intellectuals for discussions or further research. The research also indicates areas that require further investigation by future researchers to obtain complementary deductions of the effects of ostracism on an individual. For instance, the authors suggest that future researchers should focus on people's dynamic response to exclusion as a function of their social development as well as social context.
Abrams, D., Weick, M., Thomas, D., Colbe, H., & Franklin, K. M. (2011). Online ostracism affects children differently from adolescents and adults. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 29(1), 110-123. doi:10.1348/026151010x494089
Pannucci, C. J., & Wilkins, E. G. (2010). Identifying and Avoiding Bias in Research. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 126(2), 619-625. doi:10.1097/prs.0b013e3181de24bc
Swanson, E. (2014). Validity, Reliability, and the Questionable Role of Psychometrics in Plastic Surgery. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Global Open, 2(6), 161. doi:10.1097/gox.0000000000000103
Taherdoost, H. (2016). Validity and Reliability of the Research Instrument; How to Test the Validation of a Questionnaire/Survey in a Research. SSRN Electronic Journal, 5(3), 28-36. doi:10.2139/ssrn.3205040
Simundic, A. (2013). Bias in research. Biochem Med (Zagreb), 23(1), 12-15. doi: 10.11613/BM.2013.003
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