Interpersonal effects of strategic and spontaneous guilt communication in trust games

Cognition and Emotion 32 (6):1382-1390 (2018)
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Abstract

A social partner’s emotions communicate important information about their motives and intentions. However, people may discount emotional information that they believe their partner has regulated with the strategic intention of exerting social influence. Across two studies, we investigated interpersonal effects of communicated guilt and perceived strategic regulation in trust games. Results showed that communicated guilt mitigated negative effects of trust violations on interpersonal judgements and behaviour. Further, perceived strategic regulation reduced guilt’s positive effects. These findings suggest that people take emotion-regulation motives into account when responding to emotion communication.

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