Non-verbal responses to being ignored: Evidence of cognitive deconstruction?


This study examined people’s non-verbal reactions to being ignored or included during a social interaction. It was hypothesized that external judges could determine, on the basis of non-verbal cues, whether a person was ignored or included. Moreover, we expecteded that people who were ignored would become less non-verbally expressive, which could be indicative of cognitive withdrawal. It was found that persons who had been ignored reported lower average mood scores than included persons. External judges were, on average, also able to distinguish individuals who were ignored from those who were included. In terms of people’s specific non-verbal behaviors, however, the findings are less clear. Even though persons who were ignored engaged less in affiliative behaviors than included persons, they did not display more non-verbal behaviors that are indicative of withdrawal than included persons (e.g., flight). Limitations of the study and future directions are discussed.

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