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    The pain of exclusion

    Rejection can cause people to become more aggressive and dramatically lower IQ scores, according to researchers at Case Western University in Ohio.

    Researchers used two groups of people. In the first group, half of a number of strangers were each told that no one else wanted to work with them; the other half were each told that everyone wanted to work with them. People in the second group took personality tests and were given false feedback: half were told they would wind up alone in life, and the other half were told they would be surrounded by family and friends.

    The rejected ones were given tests for aggression, which increased; for IQ, which dropped by 25 percent, and for analytical reasoning, which dropped 30 percent.

    “People really seem designed to get along with others, and when you’re excluded, this has significant effects,” lead researcher Roy Baumeister commented. “To live in society, people have to have an inner mechanism that regulates their behaviour. Rejection defeats the purpose of this, and people become impulsive and self-destructive. You have to use self-control to analyze a problem—in an IQ test, for example — and instead, you behave impulsively.”

    Notes from Emma Young, “Rejection massively reduces IQ,” New Scientist, March 15, 2002.

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