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Abstract

How do you feel when people around you start conversing in a language you do not understand? In addition to feeling ostracized, you may also wonder if they are talking about you. Participants were either talked to or not talked to in three different language conditions: English, English-Chinese, and Chinese. Participants experienced more distress when being ostracized than included by English, but they found inclusion more distressing than ostracism by English-Chinese. Additionally, more paranoid attributions were made by participants who were included, rather than ostracized by those speaking an unfamiliar language. This study is the first to show that, under some exceptional circumstances, it is worse to be included than ostracized.

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