The effect of shame on anger at others: awareness of the emotion-causing events matters

Cognition and Emotion 33 (4):696-708 (2019)
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ABSTRACTNumerous studies have found that shame increases individuals’ anger at others. However, according to recent theories about the social function of shame and anger at others, it is possible that shame controls individuals’ anger at others in specific conditions. We replicated previous findings that shame increased individuals’ anger at others’ unfairness, when others were not aware of the individual’s experience of shameful events. We also found for the first time that shame controlled or even decreased individuals’ anger at others’ unfairness, when others were aware of the individual’s experience of shameful events. The results were consistent when shame was induced by either a recall paradigm or an imagination paradigm, and in either the ultimatum game or the dictator game. This suggests that shame strategically controls individuals’ anger at others to demonstrate that they are willing to benefit others, when facing the risk of social exclusion. Our findings highlight the interpersonal function of...



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