Cat burglar who steals hearts: Online cat video moderates the effect of ostracism on ingratiation

Lai Tsz YAN

Research output: ThesisMaster's Theses


Objectives: Substantial amount of studies showed that ostracism can induce various responses, including increased belonging threats and ingratiation. Aiming to reduce the possible adverse behavioral consequences caused by ostracism, this research aims to examine a potential moderator: “emotional affiliation with cats through online video”. Methods: 243 participants were randomly assigned in this 2X2 design study (inclusion vs. exclusion – by recalling a past event; cat vs. neutral -by watching a 2.5 mins online video), were then requested to complete the Need Threat Scale Questionnaire and the 24-Item Measure of Ingratiatory Behaviors in Organizational Setting (MIBOS). Results: Significant interaction effect was found, but only applied to non-pet owners as they were not habituated to animals. Findings indicated that ostracized non-pet owners who watched an online cat video indicated less ingratiation rating than those who watched a rock video. While there was a trend showing that cat videos mitigated belongingness threats as well, differences were not significant. Conclusions: Findings in the current research supported that digital pet therapy can be a cost-effective intervention for specific ostracized targets. Future studies may extend to children and elderly or examine the moderating effect of cat videos on other need fortification behaviors or maladaptive behaviors such as aggression and impaired self-regulation. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationMaster of Social Sciences
Awarding Institution
  • The Education University of Hong Kong
  • POON, Kai Tak 潘啟德, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Social exclusion
  • Social rejection
  • Ostracism
  • Need threats
  • Belongingness
  • Cat affiliation
  • Online cat video
  • Need fortification behavior
  • Ingratiation
  • Temporal need-threat model
  • Reflexive stage
  • Reflective stage
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Thesis (M.Soc.Sc(Psy))--The Education University of Hong Kong, 2018.


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