Does the Prospect of Fulfilling Belonging Affect Social Responses to Rejection? A Conceptual Replication Attempt


Historically, one of the biggest paradoxes in the rejection literature was that rejected people sometimes behaved antisocially and at other times prosocially. Researchers responded to this paradox by demonstrating that the prospect of fulfilling belonging predicted these varied responses. A close inspection of the foundational studies, however, revealed small sample sizes relative to today’s standards. Hence, we conducted a conceptual replication of the prospect of fulfilling belonging hypothesis using a high-powered 2-day preregistered study. On Day 1, we manipulated the prospect of fulfilling belonging through a profile exchange with a confederate. On Day 2, we manipulated rejection using a recall paradigm and then measured prosocial and antisocial responses toward the confederate. Rejected participants who expected the confederate to fulfill belonging showed similar levels of prosocial and antisocial responses compared with those who did not. These results suggest that the prospect of fulfilling belonging hypothesis needs further refinement.

Social Psychological and Personality Science