You can be a loser at the game of social ostracism

Now you can play Cyberball — a computer game that psychology researchers use to study the effects of social ostracism and hurt feelings. Normally, the game is played by test subjects who are hooked up to some kind of brain scanning system and who are told that they are playing against other test subjects in other rooms. In reality, they (and now you!) are playing against a computer program that is designed to exclude you and make you feel unwelcome. Why would someone design such a thing? For science! Of course. (Via Rowan Hooper)


  1. Um, I don’t feel so good after playing that a few times.  The others are … mean.  They wouldn’t even look at me, and I throw so well.  And catch.  But one of them catches left-handed and throws right, which makes him (it?) intriguing.

    I’m left feeling somewhat empty, but happy and contented that they have to exist forever on the internet.  May they goddamn rot.

  2. Anonymous user who wouldn’t throw it to science fan here: I only clicked the same user over and over again because this game has no scores or challenges, and is altogether quite atrocious. The interest just wasn’t there.

    Yours truly,
    Washington Irving

  3. Excellent. They totally let me win, allowing me to have the least number of catches in the allowed time. I felt so appreciated and loved!

  4. If I hadn’t known in advance that it was a social study, I would have just thought the game was bugged. 

  5. Well, now that I’ve got the ball, I’m going to get some breakfast.  Make those bastards wait.

  6. Cyberball is totally amazing.  Though its not fun at all, what it reveals about human nature is profound.  I just finished editing a feature doc called Reject, that follows the scientists including Kip Williams, Naomi Eisenberger, Matthew Lieberman, Nathan DeWall, and Ethan Kross as they reveal the deep impact of social rejection.

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