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Original Article

Extremism Leads to Ostracism

Published Online:https://doi.org/10.1027/1864-9335/a000406

Abstract. Ostracism has been shown to increase openness to extreme ideologies and groups. We investigated the consequences of this openness-to-extremity from the perspective of potential ostracizers. Does openness-to-extremity increase one’s prospects of being ostracized by others who are not affiliated with the extreme group? Participants rated willingness to ostracize 40 targets who belong to activist groups that vary in the type of goals/cause they support (prosocial vs. antisocial), and the extremity of their actions (moderate vs. extreme). Mixed-effects modeling showed that people are more willing to ostracize targets whose group engages in extreme actions. This effect was unexpectedly stronger for groups pursuing prosocial causes. It appears openness-to-extremity entails interpersonal cost, and could increase reliance on the extreme group for social connection.

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