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Ghosting, enabled by social media, is still just version of ostracism

Psychological Sciences

Saturday, July 6th, 2019

Ghosting (noun): breaking off a relationship (often an intimate relationship) by stopping all communication and contact with the partner without any apparent warning or justification. Wikipedia

Purdue psychological sciences researcher Dr. Kipling Williams recently spoke to Parade Magazine about ‘ghosting,’ which is ostracism that is enabled by technology and social media.

“Any form of ostracism registers in the brain as pain, the very same way a burn or a cut might register,” says Williams, whose research concludes that even brief episodes of ostracism involving strangers or people we dislike activates the brain’s pain centers, incites sadness and anger, increases stress, lowers self-esteem and robs us of a sense of control.

Dr. Kipling Williams, speaking about ostracism in Parade Magazine

About Kip Williams

Kipling Williams, professor of psychological sciences, researches ostracism and how receiving the cold shoulder or silent treatment can affect people. He has studied ostracism for more than 20 years, focusing on how to measure the impact of rejection, its connection to physical pain, and aggressive behavior. Williams is one of the experts featured in the documentary “Reject.” 

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