Laboratory-based research with university students demonstrates that ostracism is reflexively painful, depletes fundamental needs, and is highly resistant to variations in situational context or individual differences. Employing a representative sample of 614 US White and African American adults, we sought to (1) demonstrate the utility of using Cyberball on a broader non-college sample, and examine (2) whether attributing ostracism to racial prejudice mediates recovery. Participants in an Internet version of Cyberball were either included or ostracized by two other players (both White or both Black), and reported their level of distress before and after making attributions for treatment during the game. Overall, reflexive needs were threatened by ostracism, but more so for Blacks. Whites attributed ostracism to racism when the other players were Black. Blacks attributed ostracism to racism when the other players were White or Black. Within a few minutes, participants reported feeling less distress, but attributing ostracism to racial prejudice impeded their recovery. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.