Creating hate, eliminating hate: Some timely insights

July 11th A1.03
Ira Roseman (Rutgers University) & Agneta Fischer (University of Amsterdam)

In a time of rising populism and anti-immigrant emotions around the world, this symposium discusses processes leading to the elicitation of hatred, and processes that can contribute to its reduction or elimination. Ira Roseman, Amanda Steele, and Ashley Goodvin present research on antecedents and responses characteristic of interpersonal dislike, anger, contempt, and hatred. They then discuss how particular beliefs and emotions, integrated within narratives of transformation, account for data on positive evaluations of Donald Trump. Stephen Reicher presents an analysis of how hatred is mobilized within accounts of virtuous resentment. Donald Trump’s speeches and material from an ISIS publication depict in-groups being undermined by unscrupulous others, whose destruction is necessary to maintain a moral order. Sabina Cehajic-Clancy presents her research showing that ingroups more than outgroups are perceived as moral. One way to restore positive intergroup relations is to present exemplars of outgroup moral action, which can regulate ingroup emotions and help overcome hatred toward the outgroup. Katherine Aumer discusses research comparing what people believe would eliminate their hatred for a person, to what has actually reduced hatred. Time away, distance, and forgiving the target are cited as most important methods; getting revenge and forgetting the incident were reported least important. Agneta Fischer, lead author of a recent integrative article on hate, will serve as discussant. Thus our symposium will present varying perspectives identifying factors that can elicit hatred, as well as factors that can help overcome it—a timely current topic.

The social cognition of regulating negative intergroup emotions

Sabina Cehajic-Clancy & Michal Bilewicz

In this talk, I will present our recent research proposing shared perceptions of morality (perceiving out-groups as capable of moral conduct) is an essential social cognition for regulating intergroup relations in conflict or post-conflict societies. First, I will provide evidence that morality is a characteristic consistently ascribed to in-groups and not to out-groups leading to the formation of essentialized perceptions that out-groups are immoral. Then I will offer a systematic review of our research on moral exemplars grounded in the idea that shared perceptions of morality is vital not only in understanding but ultimately re-creating intergroup relations through targeting specific negative group-based emotions such as hatred. Finally, I will discuss practical implications of our research, such as its role in history education and education policies in conflict and post-conflict environments.

Out of the darkness: Appraisals, responses, and narratives of hatred and related emotions

Ira Roseman, Amanda Steele & Ashley Goodvin

Press coverage of Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the 2016 Republican convention noted his very dark depiction of the state of the country, despite evidence of american prosperity. Trump emphasized crime, terrorism, international humiliation, and a culture of corruption. Each problem was blamed on someone: e.g., Bbarack obams, “crooked” Hillary clinton, the “dishonest,” “disgusting” media, immigrants, and minorities. Trump asserted that he (and only he) could solve these problems, making America great again by attacking those responsible. We review findings from a study specifying phenomenology, behaviors, and goals that are differentially characteristic of interpersonal dislike, anger, contempt, and hatred. Wthen examine Trump’s speeches, tweets, and other communications to see which emotions are elicited and communicated by their content. We connect emotions in trump’s messages to a theory of ideological structure and attachment (Roseman, 1994, 2017) that specifies a common structure of many strongly-held systems of belief. The theory proposes that transitions from very negative to very positive states can elicit political as well as religious and romantic passion. Varying emotions (e.g., fear and shame, as well as anger, contempt, and hatred) represent and intensify the negative origin and potential negative outcome path, while positive emotions (e.g., hope, pride, joy, love) represent the and intensify positive alternative. This theory and supporting data explain significant variance in 2016 vote choice, and may help account for the continuing intense devotion of trump supporters.

On the virtues of hate: Analysing the mobilisation discourse of Donald Trump and ISIS

Stephen Reicher

In this talk, I shall examine the ways in which political actors mobilise hate against others. I shall argue that, while external observers focus on the negative aspects of such narratives – death, destruction and violence – this ignores the way in which this is embedded in construction of virtue. That is, speakers construct a virtuous and important ingroup whose position has been undermined by an unscrupulous other, and that the destruction of the other is necessary to reimpose a virtuous order. These, then, are narratives of hope and redemption and that is the basis of their appeal. In particular I shall focus on the role of resentment in hate narratives. That is, speakers invoke a sense of entitlement and loss which then legitimates the obliteration of those who have taken what group members deserve. These argument will be illustrated using speeches of Donald Trump and the English language ISIS publication Dabiq.

Eliminating Hate: What we think will work vs. What does work

Katherine Aumer & Anne Cathrine Krebs Bahn

In order to better understand effective methods of ending one’s hate a sample of 270 people from the university subject pool answered a survey concerning their current and past feelings of hate. Of the participants who completed the survey, 87 discussed their current hate for someone and what they believed would be necessary to end their hate towards their target of hate. The remaining 183 discussed a previous hate for someone and what they found to be the most effective method for them for ending their hate towards their target. Of the participants who currently hate a person, they believed that the most effective method of ending their hate would be if the target of their hate went away (35%), asked for forgiveness (24%), if they could get revenge (14%), if they could forget the incident (13%), and if they forgave the target of their hate (13%). In contrast, for those who no longer hate their target, they reported overwhelmingly that time spent away and physical distance from the target (44%) and forgiving their target (39%) were the most effective methods of ending their hate. Having the target ask for forgiveness (9%), forgetting the incident (6%), and getting revenge (3%) were reported to be the least effective methods of ending one’s hate for those who no longer hated their target. Hate may serve to informs us of potential threats to our well-being, thus removal of the target of our hate and our own forgiveness may serve to eliminate the threat.