- Predicting pleasure at others’ misfortune: Morality trumps sociability
and competence in driving deservingness and schadenfreude
- Authors: Marco Brambilla; Paolo Riva
Pages: 243 - 253
Abstract: 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: 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: 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)
- “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”: Motivation towards
closure and effort investment in the performance of cognitive tasks
- Authors: Sindhuja Sankaran; Ewa Szumowska; Małgorzata Kossowska
Abstract: Abstract Previous studies have demonstrated that the need for closure (NFC), which refers to an individual’s aversion toward uncertainty and the desire to quickly reduce it, leads to reluctance to invest effort in judgments and decision making. However, we argue that NFC may lead to either an increase or a decrease in effort depending on the availability of easy vs. difficult means to achieve closure and perceived importance of the task goal. We found that when closure could be achieved via both less and more demanding means, NFC was associated with decreased effort unless the task was perceived as important (Study 1). However, when attaining closure was possible via demanding means only, NFC was associated with increased effort, regardless of the task importance (Study 2). Moreover, NFC was related to choosing a more instrumental strategy for the goal of closure, even if this strategy required effort (Study 3). The results are discussed in the light of cognitive energetics theory.
- On the emotions associated with violations of three moral codes
(community, autonomy, divinity)
- Authors: Dolichan Kollareth; James A. Russell
Abstract: Abstract According to CAD theory, different moral domains are associated with different emotions: (C) community violations with contempt, (A) autonomy violations with anger, and (D) divinity violations with disgust. Do people from different cultural groups make the same associations? Three studies (Ns = 120, 240, 240) tested the CAD theory. Participants from three cultural groups—North Americans, North Indians, and South Indians—associated emotions (with words or facial expressions) with vignettes of moral violations. Across all three cultures, moral violations were associated with more than one emotion: all negative rather than positive, anger for most, and disgust for violations involving sex and pathogens. CAD faired poorly, with C and A collapsing, and D limited to sex and pathogens.
- Individual differences in hedonic capacity, depressed mood, and affective
states predict emotional reactivity
- Authors: Abhishek Saxena; Katherine R. Luking; Deanna M. Barch; David Pagliaccio
Abstract: Abstract Identifying factors that contribute to inter-individual differences in emotional reactivity is central to understanding the basic mechanisms that give rise to adaptive emotion reactivity and to disruptions that may occur in psychopathology. The current study related emotional reactivity in an unselected young adult sample (N = 101) to individual difference factors relevant to emotional functioning and mood pathology, specifically anhedonia, depressed mood, and current affective state. To assess emotional reactivity, participants rated their emotional responses to 100 pictures from the International Affective Picture System. Increased self-reported anhedonia (i.e. reduced hedonic capacity) predicted blunted emotional reactivity to both positive and negative images, relative to neutral images, while elevated depressed mood predicted potentiated emotional reactivity to negative vs. neutral images. Anhedonia also accounted for far greater variance in emotional reactivity than depressed mood. Further, more positive affective state predicted potentiated reactivity to positive versus neutral images while more negative affective state predicted potentiated reactivity to negative versus neutral images beyond effects of anhedonia and depressed mood. The current study identified separable effects of anhedonia, depressed mood, and current affect on emotional reactivity.
- “Tears of joy” and “tears and joy?” personal accounts of
dimorphous and mixed expressions of emotion
- Authors: Oriana R. Aragón
Abstract: Abstract In this investigation two distinct theoretical frameworks were applied to personal accounts of experiencing both smiles and crying, informally referred to as “tears of joy.” Dimorphous theory posits that such expressions arise from a positive or negative appraisal, and a single corresponding emotional experience. In contrast, mixed emotions theoretically arise from simultaneous positive and negative appraisals, positive and negative emotions, which might also culminate in two expressions of emotion. Across three experimental studies participants were exposed to a positive story, or a story with mixed positive and negative aspects. Participants reported on their appraisals, emotions, and personal accounts of their expressions. Explicit, freely-written, and implicit measures, as well as participants’ own explanations for their reported smiling and crying all converged on patterns supporting both dimorphous and mixed expressions of emotion. Data suggest the subjective experience of both “tears of joy” and “tears and joy.”
- Change in physical and psychological health over time in patients with
cardiovascular disease: on the benefits of being self-determined,
physically active, and eating well
- Authors: Camille Guertin; Luc G. Pelletier; Claudie Émond; Gilles Lalande
Abstract: Abstract This study tested a longitudinal model examining the roles of motivation and perceived competence in the prediction of physical activity (PA) and healthy eating (HE) in individuals with cardiovascular diseases, and the effects of adopting these behaviors on individuals’ health. Participants completed measures of global motivation (baseline), contextual motivation and perceived competence for PA and HE (3 months), and self-reports of PA and HE behaviors (6 months). Physiological indicators and life satisfaction were assessed at the baseline and at 12 months. Structural equation modeling supported that individuals with self-determined motivation (SDM) were more likely to feel competent in changing their lifestyle and to engage in moderate and strenuous (vs. mild) exercise and HE behaviors, which had beneficial effects on individuals’ physiological and psychological health. This research confirms the respective roles of SDM and perceived competence in the health behavior change process and emphasizes the key function of SDM in the adherence of healthy behaviors over time.
- 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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.