- Predicting pleasure at others’ misfortune: Morality trumps sociability
and competence in driving deservingness and schadenfreude
- Authors: Marco Brambilla; Paolo Riva
Pages: 243 - 253
Abstract: Schadenfreude occurs when people feel pleasure at others’ misfortunes. Previous research suggested that individuals feel such a malicious pleasure when the misfortune befalls social targets perceived as highly competent but lacking human warmth. Two experiments explored whether the two components of warmth (i.e., sociability and morality) have distinct roles in driving schadenfreude. Study 1 (N = 128) compared a competent but immoral individual to a competent but unsociable person and found that people felt more schadenfreude when a misfortune befell an individual lacking morality. Study 2 (N = 199) confirmed the primary role of morality in driving schadenfreude by manipulating not only morality and sociability, but also competence. Moreover, both experiments showed that social targets lacking moral qualities elicited higher levels of schadenfreude because their misfortunes were perceived as deserved. Overall, our findings suggest that morality has a primary role over other basic dimensions of person perception (i.e., sociability and competence) in driving schadenfreude.
Issue No: Vol. 41, No. 2 (2017)
- Approach–avoidance of facial affect is moderated by the presence of an
- Authors: S. B. Renard; P. J. de Jong; G. H. M. Pijnenborg
Pages: 265 - 272
Abstract: This study examined whether approach–avoidance related behaviour elicited by facial affect is moderated by the presence of an observer-irrelevant trigger that may influence the observer’s attributions of the actor’s emotion. Participants were shown happy, disgusted, and neutral facial expressions. Half of these were presented with a plausible trigger of the expression (a drink). Approach–avoidance related behaviour was indexed explicitly through a questionnaire (measuring intentions) and implicitly through a manikin version of the affective Simon task (measuring automatic behavioural tendencies). In the absence of an observer-irrelevant trigger, participants expressed the intention to avoid disgusted and approach happy facial expressions. Participants also showed a stronger approach tendency towards happy than towards disgusted facial expressions. The presence of the observer-irrelevant trigger had a moderating effect, decreasing the intention to approach happy and to avoid disgusted expressions. The trigger had no moderating effect on the approach–avoidance tendencies. Thus the influence of an observer-irrelevant trigger appears to reflect more of a controlled than automatic process.
Issue No: Vol. 41, No. 2 (2017)
- Aberrations in emotional processing of violence-dependent stimuli are the
core features of sadism
- Authors: Janko Međedović
Pages: 273 - 283
Abstract: Psychopathy and sadism are personality traits that share emotional deficits and propensity towards violence. However, sadism should be based on additional affective aberrations: pleasant emotional responses to hurting others or witnessing others in pain. In Study 1 (N = 116) emotional responses to violent and peaceful images and their associations with the subclinical trait sadism are analyzed. The results showed that elevated positive emotions when observing violent stimuli and negative emotions as a reaction to peaceful stimuli predicted sadism, even when variance of psychopathy was controlled in the analysis. In Study 2 (N = 156) implicit associations between violence-dependent stimuli (measured by IAT task) and terms describing positive and negative emotions are analyzed. Again, lower negative associations to violent stimuli predicted sadism, together with psychopathic trait of callous affect. The obtained results provide additional clarification of emotional processes in subclinical sadism.
Issue No: Vol. 41, No. 2 (2017)
- What motivates deviant behavior in the workplace? An examination of the
mechanisms by which procedural injustice affects deviance
- Authors: Jesse S. Michel; Michael B. Hargis
Pages: 51 - 68
Abstract: This research examines the motivational and social-cognitive processes underlying the procedural injustice and deviance relationship. Based on psychological need and self-determination theories, it was hypothesized that intrinsic motivation would mediate the relationship between procedural injustice and deviance. Based on the general aggression model and social-cognitive theory, it was hypothesized that this positive indirect effect would be moderated by dispositional aggression. Two studies were conducted, including multi-wave and multi-source data, to test these relationships through mediation and moderated mediation procedures. Results supported both hypotheses: intrinsic motivation mediated the procedural injustice and deviance relationship; and this positive indirect effect was moderated by dispositional aggression, such that higher levels of aggression increased the magnitude of the indirect effect. Results were consistent across multiple measures of intrinsic motivation, aggression, and deviance (self- and other-report). Theoretical and practical contributions include support for a process-based theory of deviant behavior in the workplace and organizational interventions aimed at enriching one’s job to develop greater feelings of intrinsic motivation.
Issue No: Vol. 41, No. 1 (2017)
- Can’t get you out of my mind: empathy, distress, and recurring
thoughts about a person in need
- Authors: Eric L. Stocks; Belén López-Pérez; Luis V. Oceja
Pages: 84 - 95
Abstract: Research suggests that empathic concern and distress give rise to different patterns of helping behavior. It has been proposed that this difference is caused by the effects of these emotions on recurrent thoughts about the person in need. However, no research has directly investigated this potential explanation. To remedy this, we tested the hypotheses that distress, but not empathic concern, is associated with both anticipated recurring thoughts (Study 1) and experienced recurring thoughts (Study 2) about a victim. We also tested the hypothesis that distress is associated with thoughts about the victim, whereas empathic concern is associated with thoughts about the victim’s situation (Study 3), which is potentially a consequence of the motives associated with each emotion. Lastly, we assessed the causal relations between distress, empathic concern, and recurrent thoughts (Study 4). Overall, results demonstrate a distinctive, and important, pattern of associations among empathic concern, distress, and different forms of recurrent thoughts about the emotion-eliciting stimulus.
Issue No: Vol. 41, No. 1 (2017)
- Perceived effects of other people’s emotion regulation on their
vicarious emotional response
- Authors: Belén López-Pérez; Janice Sanchez; Brian Parkinson
Pages: 113 - 121
Abstract: Across two studies, we investigated how friends’ typically used emotion regulation strategies (rumination or reappraisal) influence judgements about their vicarious emotions (sympathy, tenderness, and personal distress) when presented with a photograph of a suffering toddler. Results of both studies demonstrated that participants reporting on a ruminative friend indicated that their friend would feel greater personal distress and less tenderness and would perceive the toddler as experiencing more need and pain than participants reporting on a reappraising friend. These results are consistent with the behavioural trajectories associated with rumination and reappraisal, and are discussed in light of their implications for interpersonal emotion regulation.
Issue No: Vol. 41, No. 1 (2017)
- Do generation and regulation of emotions interact? Examination of their
relationships in young adults
- Authors: Melanie M. Cochrane; Colette M. Smart; Mauricio A. Garcia-Barrera
Abstract: Emotions can be generated in response to inherently emotional perceptual properties of a stimulus (‘bottom up’) and in response to cognitive interpretations of an event (‘top down’). Similarly, emotion regulation (ER) strategies may deploy bottom-up or top-down processes, however the specific nature of these processes remains unclear. In this study we sought to replicate and extend previous studies that have investigated the interaction between ER and emotion generation. Specifically, we examined the relationship between both methods of emotion generation and ER in a sample of 75 undergraduate students who completed self-report questionnaires and a behavioral task of ER. We attempted to extend previous research by testing whether the positive effect of cognitive reappraisal on top-down generated emotions was specific to reappraisal or true of multiple ER strategies. Overall there was a main effect of generation such that top-down generated emotion was better regulated by cognitive reappraisal, expressive suppression, and appraisal strategies. We also found a main effect of ER such that cognitive reappraisal was perceived as the most successful ER strategy. We argue that ER is a state-dependent process that includes dynamic cycles between emotion generation and regulation processes. We further discuss expressive suppression as a top-down emotion regulation strategy in the context of our study despite debated literature.
- Emotions associated with counterfactual comparisons drive decision-making
in Footbridge-type moral dilemmas
- Authors: Alessandra Tasso; Michela Sarlo; Lorella Lotto
Abstract: Based on the dual-process theory of moral judgment, it has been suggested that in Footbridge-type dilemmas the anticipation of the emotional consequences of causing intentional harm might contribute to the decision of rejecting utilitarian resolutions. However, no empirical data have been reported on the emotions felt by participants after their decisions, and the role played by emotions in Trolley-type dilemmas remains to be determined. The present study investigated the specific emotions engaged both after decision choices and after the generation of the counterfactual scenario in Trolley- and Footbridge-type dilemmas. The results support the idea that in Footbridge-type dilemmas decision-making is driven by the attempt to minimize the aversive emotional state evoked by the decision outcome. A greater increase in emotional intensity was found overall for Footbridge-type than Trolley-type dilemmas after the counterfactual generation following typical (non-utilitarian) choices, with guilt, regret, and shame being the emotions that increased most. Critically, in Footbridge-type dilemmas only, typical choices were predicted by the increase in regret intensity experienced after counterfactual generation.
- We are not alone: The meaning motive, religiosity, and belief in
- Authors: Clay Routledge; Andrew A. Abeyta; Christina Roylance
Abstract: We tested the proposals that paranormal beliefs about extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) are motivated, in part, by the need for meaning and that this existential motive helps explain the inverse relationship between religiosity and ETI beliefs. In Study 1, we experimentally establish that the motive to find meaning in life increases ETI beliefs. In Study 2, we replicate previous research demonstrating that low religiosity is associated with greater ETI beliefs. In Studies 3–4 we tested and found support for a model linking low religiosity to low presence of meaning, high search for meaning, and greater ETI beliefs. In all, our findings offer a motivational account of why people endorse paranormal beliefs about intelligent alien beings observing and influencing the lives of humans.
- Emotion dysregulation and threat-related attention bias variability
- Authors: Joseph R. Bardeen; Thomas A. Daniel; J. Benjamin Hinnant; Holly K. Orcutt
Abstract: Although theory suggests that a bias for attending to threat information (ABT) may be a biobehavioral process underlying the transdiagnostic vulnerability factor of emotion dysregulation, there is a paucity of empirical evidence showing direct associations between emotion dysregulation and ABT. The purpose of the present study was to examine the relation between ABT and emotion dysregulation. Participants (N = 200) completed a battery of self-report questionnaires and a modified dot-probe task with both neutral and threat stimuli and four stimulus presentation durations. Task response times were used to examine traditionally calculated ABT scores, as well as attention bias variability (ABV). As predicted, those with greater emotion dysregulation exhibited greater ABV. Importantly, emotion dysregulation was not associated with response time variability on trials for which only neutral stimuli were presented, thus increasing confidence that emotion dysregulation-related ABV is specific to the presence of threat stimuli and not merely a function of general variability in response times. Results suggest that those with greater emotion dysregulation exhibit attentional dyscontrol in the presence of perceived threat that is characterized by dynamic shifts between vigilance and avoidance.
- Personality and its links to quality of life: Mediating effects of emotion
regulation and self-efficacy beliefs
- Authors: Cornelia Pocnet; Marc Dupuis; Anne Congard; Daniela Jopp
Abstract: We investigated the relationship between personality and quality of life (QoL) considering emotion regulation and self-efficacy beliefs as mediating factors. A total of 409 participants from the French-speaking regions of Switzerland and from France completed questionnaires on personality, emotion regulation, self-efficacy beliefs, and QoL. Our findings revealed that specific personality traits have significant direct and indirect effects on QoL, mediated by emotion regulation and self-efficacy. Particularly, neuroticism was strongly and negatively related to emotion regulation and QoL, but not significantly linked to self-efficacy, whereas extraversion and conscientiousness were positively associated with all variables. This is the first study to demonstrate that both emotion regulation and self-efficacy are important mechanisms that link specific personality traits to QoL, suggesting that they channel and modulate the personality effects. However, more work is needed to understand these relationships in more detail (e.g., how the personality traits concurrently influence each other as well as emotion regulation and self-efficacy).
- A cleansing fire: Moral outrage alleviates guilt and buffers threats to
one’s moral identity
- Authors: Zachary K. Rothschild; Lucas A. Keefer
Abstract: Why do people express moral outrage? While this sentiment often stems from a perceived violation of some moral principle, we test the counter-intuitive possibility that moral outrage at third-party transgressions is sometimes a means of reducing guilt over one’s own moral failings and restoring a moral identity. We tested this guilt-driven account of outrage in five studies examining outrage at corporate labor exploitation and environmental destruction. Study 1 showed that personal guilt uniquely predicted moral outrage at corporate harm-doing and support for retributive punishment. Ingroup (vs. outgroup) wrongdoing elicited outrage at corporations through increased guilt, while the opportunity to express outrage reduced guilt (Study 2) and restored perceived personal morality (Study 3). Study 4 tested whether effects were due merely to downward social comparison and Study 5 showed that guilt-driven outrage was attenuated by an affirmation of moral identity in an unrelated context.
- Motivating emotional intelligence: A reinforcement sensitivity theory
- Authors: Alison M. Bacon; Philip J. Corr
Abstract: Trait emotional intelligence (trait EI) is generally associated with positive outcomes and can inform clinical and social interventions. We investigated the sub-factors of trait EI: Wellbeing, Self-control, Emotionality, and Sociability, in the context of the reinforcement sensitivity theory (RST) of motivation. In Study 1, participants (N = 247) completed Carver and White’s (J Personal Soc Psychol 67:319–333; Carver, White, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 67:319–333, 1994) BIS/BAS scales and a measure of trait EI. All EI sub-factors were positively associated with BAS Drive and negatively with BIS. Study 2 (N = 382) employed a new questionnaire based on revised RST (Corr and Cooper, Psychol Assess 28:1427–1440; Corr, Cooper, Psychological Assessment 28:1427–1440, 2016). All trait EI factors were positively associated with BAS Goal-Drive Persistence and Reward Interest, and negatively with the BIS. Self-control showed negative associations with BAS Impulsivity and was the only factor not to correlate with BAS Reward Reactivity. Results suggest that high trait EI individuals are goal driven, sensitive to reward and lower in avoidance motivation and negative emotion. This motivational basis to trait EI further explicates its structure.
- Compassionate goals and affect in social situations
- Authors: Amy Canevello; Jennifer Crocker
Abstract: Optimal social interactions can leave people feeling socially connected and at ease, which has clear implications for health and psychological well-being. Yet, not all social interactions leave people feelings at ease and connected. What explains this variability? We draw from the egosystem–ecosystem theory of social motivation (Crocker and Canevello 2008) to suggest that compassionate goals to support others explain some of this variability. We explored the nature of this association across four studies and varying social contexts. Across studies, compassionate goals predicted greater feelings of ease and connection. Results also indicate that a cooperative mindset may be one mechanism underlying this association: Findings suggest a temporal sequence in which compassionate goals lead to cooperative mindsets, which then lead to feeling at ease and connected. Thus, these studies suggest that people’s compassionate goals lead to their sense of interpersonal ease and connection, which may ultimately have implications for their sense of belonging.
- The important role of the context in which achievement goals are adopted:
an experimental test
- Authors: Moti Benita; Noa Shane; Orit Elgali; Guy Roth
Abstract: Two experimental studies using Elliot, Murayama, and Pekrun’s (Journal of Educational Psychology 103(3):632–648, 2011) differentiation between self-goals and task-goals, were conducted to examine the relative influence of achievement goals and motivational contexts on behavioral and emotional engagement. In Study 1, 133 college students were prompted to adopt self-goals (intrapersonal standards) or other-goals (performance standards) in one of two motivational contexts (autonomy-supportive or autonomy-suppressive) while playing a computer game. In Study 2, 129 college students performed the same assignment, this time adopting either other-goals or task-goals (absolute standards). Study 1 indicated that autonomy-support facilitated behavioral and emotional engagement in autonomy suppressive contexts, but self-goals merely promoted emotional engagement relative to other-goals. Study 2 replicated Study 1’s findings by showing that autonomy support promoted self-reported behavioral engagement and task-goals promoted emotional engagement but further revealed that only when task-goals were adopted in an autonomy-supportive context did they promote better behavioral engagement than other-goals. Thus, Study 2 highlighted the importance of the context in which the achievement goals were adopted (i.e., autonomy-supportive versus suppressive) as an important determinant of the outcome.
- How expected evaluation influences creativity: Regulatory focus as
- Authors: Jia Wang; Ling Wang; Ru-De Liu; Hui-Zhen Dong
Abstract: Two studies investigated the effect of expected evaluation and regulatory focus on individuals’ creative performance. In both studies, first, the type of evaluation (informational versus controlling) was manipulated, and then regulatory focus was measured as an individual difference (in Study 1) or induced as a state using a pencil-and-paper maze task (in Study 2). Results provided evidence that participants who expect an informational evaluation were more likely to adopt an eager strategy; whereas participants who expected a controlling evaluation were more likely to adopt a vigilant strategy. Furthermore, participants in promotion-informational and prevention-controlling groups (regulatory fit conditions) performed more creatively than those in promotion-controlling and prevention-informational groups (regulatory non-fit conditions). In sum, the present findings contribute to a better understanding of how external evaluations and basic motivational orientations influence creative performance.
- Emotion regulation strategy selection in daily life: The role of social
context and goals
- Authors: Tammy English; Ihno A. Lee; Oliver P. John; James J. Gross
Abstract: Recent studies have begun to document the diversity of ways people regulate their emotions. However, one unanswered question is why people regulate their emotions as they do in everyday life. In the present research, we examined how social context and goals influence strategy selection in daily high points and low points. As expected, suppression was particularly tied to social features of context: it was used more when others were present, especially non-close partners, and when people had instrumental goals, especially more interpersonal ones (e.g., avoid conflict). Distraction and reappraisal were used more when regulating for hedonic reasons (e.g., to feel better), but these strategies were also linked to certain instrumental goals (e.g., getting work done). When contra-hedonic regulation occurred, it primarily took the form of dampening positive emotion during high points. Suppression was more likely to be used for contra-hedonic regulation, whereas reappraisal and distraction were used more for pro-hedonic regulation. Overall, these findings highlight the social nature of emotion regulation and underscore the importance of examining regulation in both positive and negative contexts.
- The impact of rewards on empathic accuracy and emotional mimicry
- Authors: Ursula Hess; Christophe Blaison; Stéphane Dandeneau
Abstract: The notion that motivation influences empathic accuracy has been inferred from aspects of the task, the situation or the relationship between interaction partners or between groups. The present research assessed whether monetary reward influences cognitive and affective empathy. In Study 1, cognitive empathy was assessed for 42 participants who decoded briefly (33 ms) presented expressions of sadness and anger. For half the participants, correctly decoded expressions on male faces were rewarded, for the other half correctly decoded expressions on female faces were rewarded. The results showed that rewards increase empathic accuracy for both emotions equally. In Study 2, facial EMG was measured as well to assess emotional mimicry as an index of affective empathy. Study 2 replicated the findings from Study 1 and found a moderation of affective empathy as indexed through facial mimicry for sadness. Thus, simple monetary rewards affect both cognitive and affective empathy.
- When friends exchange negative feedback
- Authors: Stacey R. Finkelstein; Ayelet Fishbach; Yanping Tu
Abstract: In four studies, we document an increase in the amount of negative feedback friends and colleagues exchange as their relationship deepens. We find that both actual and perceived relationship depth increase the amount of negative feedback people seek from and provide to each other, as well as their tendency to invest in a focal (relationship or performance) goal in response to negative feedback. The amount of positive feedback on goal pursuit, by contrast, remains stable as the relationship deepens. We attribute the increase in negative feedback to the different meaning of such feedback for people in deep versus shallow relationships: only in the context of deep relationships does negative feedback signal insufficient resource investment in the focal goal, and hence close friends and colleagues seek, provide, and respond to negative feedback.
- It ain’t over ‘til it’s over: The effect of task completion on the
savoring of success
- Authors: Marina Schall; Thomas Goetz; Sarah E. Martiny; Nathan C. Hall
Abstract: The present research investigated a common yet to date unexamined assumption that individuals are unlikely to savor success when they have not yet fully completed a task. In Study 1 (N = 83), we assessed savoring responses of soccer players who were either winning or were tied at the end of the first half (in progress) and at the end of the match (completed). In Study 2 (N = 121 undergraduates), performance feedback (successful vs. average) and task completion (in progress vs. completed) were manipulated and savoring was assessed. In both studies, successful individuals reported savoring their positive experience less when the task was in progress as compared to completed. Results of a third study (N = 152 undergraduates) showed that lower savoring of success was due to individuals’ focus on and worries about future performance as well as the perception that positive emotions have limited utility. We discuss these findings in terms of the consequences for performance and well-being.