A Penny for Your Pain? The Financial Compensation of Social Pain after Exclusion
Research has repeatedly shown that social exclusion is distressful regardless of mitigating circumstances. In three studies we show that financially compensating social exclusion reduces the unpleasant experience and affects subsequent coping. Participants played a game of Cyberball, and either received money when they were excluded or not. Results showed that financially compensating social exclusion reduced self-reported distress and neural activity in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC), a region found active during physical and social pain. Finally, participants played a dictator game with those who included them, excluded them, or with new players. Results showed that financial compensation increased offers to sources of exclusion to the amount that was given to sources of inclusion or new players. Hence, financially compensating exclusion helps those who are hurt and those who exclude.