Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Psychological Sciences

First Advisor

Janice R. Kelly

Committee Chair

Janice R. Kelly

Committee Member 1

Kipling D. Williams

Committee Member 2

Margo J. Monteith

Committee Member 3

James Tyler


The current work explored whether an incidence of exclusion is experienced differently depending on the activity from which one is excluded. Specifically, we investigated whether exclusion from gender stereotypic vs. counter-stereotypic activities affects both how threatening the experience is and beliefs about gender stereotypes. The effects of exclusion activity on need threat and beliefs about gender stereotypes were explored in a series of four studies using multiple methods: participants relived exclusion or inclusion instances from their real lives (Study 1), imagined exclusion or inclusion scenarios (Study 2), were excluded from a virtual ball toss game (Study 3), and were included or excluded using a live confederate paradigm (Study 4). We tested opposing hypotheses. Work by Crocker and Major suggests that exclusion from counter-stereotypic activities may not be particularly threatening, as one can attribute the experience to the external cause of others' prejudice. However work by Branscombe and colleagues suggests that exclusion from counter-stereotypic activities may be particularly threatening, as it serves as a reminder that one's group is devalued in society. Evidence from Studies 2 and 4 suggests that exclusion from counter-stereotypic activities, where there are pre-existing negative stereotypes about one's group, is more threatening than exclusion from stereotypic activities. To the extent that individuals associate these particularly negative exclusion experiences with the counter-stereotypic activity, it is possible that they may decide not to further pursue this activity, contributing to gender segregation. This finding provides evidence of a novel moderator of exclusion effects, and demonstrates that not only do the source and targets of ostracism matter, but so too does the activity from which the targets of ostracism are excluded. This effect can be explained in part by individuals' increased likelihood to consider whether other members of their gender ingroup may have had similar experiences when excluded from counter-stereotypic activities. We also found that men's inclusion in counter-stereotypic activities reduces their endorsement of traditional gender stereotypes and beliefs about stereotype persistence. Although future research is necessary, these effects offer potential insights into both the perpetuation of gender segregation across activities and prejudice reduction.