Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in General Experimental Psychology



First Reader/Committee Chair

Donna M. Garcia


Social exclusion is a psychologically stressful experience that impairs people’s ability to control specific behaviors or events. In the current study, I attempted to reconcile competing predictions regarding whether exclusion is especially harmful to control, or self-regulate, when it is attributed to individual- or group-based characteristics of a person. Per the self-evaluation maintenance (SEM) model, social exclusion should be most detrimental to self-regulation when it is directed at a person’s unique traits, or individual self. In contrast, social identity theory (SIT) predicts that exclusion is especially damaging when it is directed at a person’s group membership. I examined whether the seemingly contradictory predictions made by SEM and SIT are because they relate to different circumstances concerning the fairness of the exclusion experience. Most research regarding individual-based exclusion involves situations in which the exclusion seems fair, or deserved, whereas research regarding group-based exclusion focuses on discrimination, or unfair exclusion. An online exclusion paradigm (i.e., “College Survivor”) was used to examine the role of fairness. During the Survivor game, Latina women experienced either individual- or group-based exclusion that was either fair or unfair. Afterwards, participants were asked to taste and rate three bowls of chocolate that were ostensibly manufactured in three countries that used different recipes. The findings demonstrated that participants consumed the most calories (i.e., showed the greatest loss of self-control) when exclusion was fair and directed towards their individual selves, or when exclusion was unfair and directed towards their group selves.