Individual talks: Specific emotions

July 11th Room 1

A Contextual Goal-Based Theory of Envy and its Outcomes 

Yochi Cohen-Charash, Manny F. Gonzalez, Elliott C. Larson, Soohyun (Ashley) Lee & Paige Alenick

The recent flourishing of envy research is accompanied by several debates. For example, whereas some view envy as a unitary construct, others view it as multi-type emotion. Similarly, some suggest that the hostility in envy inherently leads to undesirable outcomes, while others have found that envy, despite being hostile, can lead to desirable consequences. To reconcile these various views, we rely on goal theories of motivation and offer a contextual goal-based theory of envy. Specifically, envy, defined as a hostile, painful emotion, can lead to an array of reactions that fulfill a diverse range of hierarchically arranged goals. At the highest hierarchical level are the envious individual’s goals to reduce the envy-provoking gap, alleviate the pain, and maintain a competitive advantage. The envious can fulfill these goals by accomplishing one or more lower-order goals, such as self-promoting, other-demoting, or escaping the situation. Each lower-order goal can be attained using one or more proximal strategies, such as working harder, harming the other, or reappraising the situation. This goal hierarchy implies that the envious can simultaneously achieve one or more goals by using various strategies. Which goals are activated and what strategies are employed in any given situation depends on the context, which is shaped by various personal (e.g., self-esteem), situational (e.g., changeability), and emotional (e.g., co-occurring emotions) factors. This theory can increase consistency in the study of envy, reduce the conceptual proliferation currently characterizing the field, and promote new research questions to better understand envy and its management.

Being Moved by Extremist Propaganda 

Helen Landmann, Lena Frischlich & Anette Rohmann

Feelings of being moved (i.e., being moved, overwhelmed, stirred) can be elicited by helping behavior and are thus often discussed very positively (Seibt, Schubert, Zickfeld, & Fiske, 2017). However, these feelings could also have a dark side in that being moved may facilitate radicalization processes. We investigated this dark side of being moved by studying the role of self-sacrifice, which is central for the idea of martyrdom held by suicide bombers, and emotional reactions to propaganda videos. In Study 1 (N = 146), we varied self-sacrifice in vignettes and found that high self-sacrifice elicits feelings of being moved. In Study 2 (N = 39), we showed extremist Islamist and extremist right-wing videos to a student sample. The intensity of being moved by the extremist video predicted how persuasive the propaganda videos were rated. In line with the significance quest theory (Kruglanski et al., 2014), search for meaning predicted how intensely someone was moved by the extremist videos. Hence, being moved seems to be a relevant process that is elicited when people are confronted with recruitment videos. Different moving features, such as the metaphor of self-sacrifice, are used to elicit this process thus enhancing the persuasiveness of the propaganda.

Bored to the Bone: A Meta-Analysis of Individual Differences Associated with Boredom 

Manuel Gonzalez

Research on boredom – an unpleasant emotion that occurs in response to understimulating or unmeaningful activity (Eastwood, Frischen, Fenske, & Smilek, 2012; van Tilburg & Igou, 2012) – has risen in recent years. While boredom research is still young, scholars have already taken strides toward distinguishing boredom from various related constructs (e.g., anger, sadness, low engagement, and burnout; Reijseger et al., 2013; van Tilburg & Igou, 2017) and clarifying boredom’s experiential content (Bench & Lench, 2013; van Tilburg & Igou, 2012). Furthermore, there has been a proliferation of theoretical perspectives regarding the nature of boredom, resulting in recent pushes toward an integrated framework by which to study boredom (e.g., Westgate & Wilson, 2018). It is thus important at this time to systematically organizes the extant empirical research on boredom and evaluate boredom’s nomological network. In the current presentation, I will focus on predictors of boredom and discuss the results of a meta-analytic investigation on the relationship between boredom and various individual differences, including personality traits (e.g., the Big Five) and psychological disorders (e.g., depression, attention deficit hyperactive disorder). Given that researchers have conceptualized boredom in multiple ways, I will consider different conceptualizations of boredom, specifically, as an episodic emotion, a chronic state, and a trait. Doing so will allow researchers to better understand the individual differences associated with boredom, which will shed light on the underlying psychological mechanisms associated with it.