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Uncovering The Underlying Factors of ERP Changes In The Cyberball Paradigm: A Systematic Review Investigating The Impact Of Ostracism And Paradigm Characteristics.

The Cyberball is the most commonly employed paradigm for the investigation of the effects of social exclusion, also called ostracism. The analysis of event-related potentials (ERPs), short-term stimulus-induced fluctuations in the EEG signal, has been employed for the identification of time-sensitive neural responses to ostracism-related information. Changes in ERPs during the Cyberball are normally attributed to the effect of ostracism, but it has been argued that characteristics of the paradigm, not ostracism, are the driving force for these changes. To elucidate the origin of the ERP changes in the Cyberball, we systematically reviewed the Cyberball-ERP literature of healthy, adult populations, and evaluated whether the social context of ostracism or characteristics of the paradigm are better suited for the explanation of the found results. Our results show that for many components no clear origin can be identified, but that expectancy violations, not ostracism, best explains the results of the P3 complex. Future research should therefore also employ other paradigms for the research into the effects of ostracism on ERPs.

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