Bullies with the blues have only themselves to blame, according to a new study.
Research published in the journal Psychological Science said deliberately ignoring or excluding someone can hurt the ostracizer as much as their victim.
“By causing harm to others, the perpetrators may be thwarting their own basic psychological needs to feel in control and to feel connected to others,” the researchers found.
Richard Ryan of the University of Rochester, with graduate student Nicole Legate, explored this by having participants play a ball-throwing computer game.
One group, the ostracizer group, was told not to throw the ball to a certain player; the compliance group was told to throw the ball around equally. A neutral group was allowed to throw the ball to whomever they wanted.
“Participants in the ostracizer condition reported worse mood, which seemed to be the result of a diminished sense of independence and a lack of connectedness with others,” the researchers found.
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