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)

18 Responses to “You can be a loser at the game of social ostracism”

  1. GawainLavers says:

    Oh man, I’m going to be own this game.  I’ve been practicing my whole life!

  2. Peter says:

    I don’t want to play your dumb game anyway!

  3. mindysan33 says:

    Oh, I already played that for reals in middle school a million years ago.  I’m done with that thanks…

  4. peregrinus says:

    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.

  5. scatterfingers says:

    Sounds like Reddit to me.

  6. David McKee says:

    Paper here, I think:’s%20jesp%20paper.pdf

  7. Masquirina says:

    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

  8. so they sign onto facebook and do what?

  9. Boundegar says:

    I don’t know why they wouldn’t share.  T_T

  10. Chanfan says:

    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!

  11. sweetcraspy says:

    Alternately, you can keep the ball.

  12. BirdBot says:

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

  13. Salamalecs says:

    A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?

  14. howaboutthisdangit says:

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

  15. Peter Brauer says:

    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.

  16. Faring says:

    How do I upgrade to the titanium running back?

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