Vicarious group-based rejection: creating a potentially dangerous mix of humiliation, powerlessness, and anger.

PloS one

PubMedID: 24759901

Veldhuis TM, Gordijn EH, Veenstra R, Lindenberg S. Vicarious group-based rejection: creating a potentially dangerous mix of humiliation, powerlessness, and anger. PLoS ONE. 2014;9(4):e95421.
Rejection can convey that one is seen as inferior and not worth bothering with. Is it possible for people to feel vicariously rejected in this sense and have reactions that are similar to those following personal rejection, such as feeling humiliated, powerless, and angry? A study on personal rejection was followed by two main studies on vicarious group-based rejection. It was found that merely observing rejection of ingroup members can trigger feelings of humiliation that are equally intense as those experienced in response to personal rejection. Moreover, given that the rejection is explicit, vicariously experienced feelings of humiliation can be accompanied by powerlessness and anger. Potentially, this combination of emotions could be an important source of offensive action against rejecters.