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Emotions as guardians of group norms: expressions of anger and disgust drive inferences about autonomy and purity violations.
Cogn Emot. 2019 05; 33(3):563-578.CE

Abstract

Other people's emotional reactions to a third person's behaviour are potentially informative about what is appropriate within a given situation. We investigated whether and how observers' inferences of such injunctive norms are shaped by expressions of anger and disgust. Building on the moral emotions literature, we hypothesised that angry and disgusted expressions produce relative differences in the strength of autonomy-based versus purity-based norm inferences. We report three studies (plus three supplementary studies) using different types of stimuli (vignette-based, video clips) to investigate how emotional reactions shape norms about potential norm violations (eating snacks, drinking alcohol), and contexts (groups of friends, a university, a company). Consistent with our theoretical argument, the results indicate that observers use others' emotional reactions not only to infer whether a particular behaviour is inappropriate, but also why it is inappropriate: because it primarily violates autonomy standards (as suggested relatively more strongly by expressions of anger) or purity standards (as suggested relatively more strongly by expressions of disgust). We conclude that the social functionality of emotions in groups extends to shaping norms based on moral standards.

Authors+Show Affiliations

a Department of Social Psychology , University of Amsterdam , Amsterdam , the Netherlands.a Department of Social Psychology , University of Amsterdam , Amsterdam , the Netherlands.a Department of Social Psychology , University of Amsterdam , Amsterdam , the Netherlands.a Department of Social Psychology , University of Amsterdam , Amsterdam , the Netherlands.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

29774788

Citation

Heerdink, Marc W., et al. "Emotions as Guardians of Group Norms: Expressions of Anger and Disgust Drive Inferences About Autonomy and Purity Violations." Cognition & Emotion, vol. 33, no. 3, 2019, pp. 563-578.
Heerdink MW, Koning LF, van Doorn EA, et al. Emotions as guardians of group norms: expressions of anger and disgust drive inferences about autonomy and purity violations. Cogn Emot. 2019;33(3):563-578.
Heerdink, M. W., Koning, L. F., van Doorn, E. A., & van Kleef, G. A. (2019). Emotions as guardians of group norms: expressions of anger and disgust drive inferences about autonomy and purity violations. Cognition & Emotion, 33(3), 563-578. https://doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2018.1476324
Heerdink MW, et al. Emotions as Guardians of Group Norms: Expressions of Anger and Disgust Drive Inferences About Autonomy and Purity Violations. Cogn Emot. 2019;33(3):563-578. PubMed PMID: 29774788.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Emotions as guardians of group norms: expressions of anger and disgust drive inferences about autonomy and purity violations. AU - Heerdink,Marc W, AU - Koning,Lukas F, AU - van Doorn,Evert A, AU - van Kleef,Gerben A, Y1 - 2018/05/18/ PY - 2018/5/19/pubmed PY - 2020/3/21/medline PY - 2018/5/19/entrez KW - Social norms KW - anger KW - disgust KW - emotional influence KW - moral emotions SP - 563 EP - 578 JF - Cognition & emotion JO - Cogn Emot VL - 33 IS - 3 N2 - Other people's emotional reactions to a third person's behaviour are potentially informative about what is appropriate within a given situation. We investigated whether and how observers' inferences of such injunctive norms are shaped by expressions of anger and disgust. Building on the moral emotions literature, we hypothesised that angry and disgusted expressions produce relative differences in the strength of autonomy-based versus purity-based norm inferences. We report three studies (plus three supplementary studies) using different types of stimuli (vignette-based, video clips) to investigate how emotional reactions shape norms about potential norm violations (eating snacks, drinking alcohol), and contexts (groups of friends, a university, a company). Consistent with our theoretical argument, the results indicate that observers use others' emotional reactions not only to infer whether a particular behaviour is inappropriate, but also why it is inappropriate: because it primarily violates autonomy standards (as suggested relatively more strongly by expressions of anger) or purity standards (as suggested relatively more strongly by expressions of disgust). We conclude that the social functionality of emotions in groups extends to shaping norms based on moral standards. SN - 1464-0600 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/29774788/Emotions_as_guardians_of_group_norms:_expressions_of_anger_and_disgust_drive_inferences_about_autonomy_and_purity_violations_ L2 - https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02699931.2018.1476324 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -