The Social Power of Regret: The Effect of Social Appraisal and Anticipated Emotions on Fair and Unfair Allocations in Resource Dilemmas.

Journal of experimental psychology. General

PubMedID: 25384163

van der Schalk J, Kuppens T, Bruder M, Manstead AS. The Social Power of Regret: The Effect of Social Appraisal and Anticipated Emotions on Fair and Unfair Allocations in Resource Dilemmas. J Exp Psychol Gen. 2014;.
We investigated how another person's emotions about resource allocation decisions influence observers' resource allocations by influencing the emotions that observers anticipate feeling if they were to act in the same way. Participants were exposed to an exemplar who made a fair or unfair division in an economic game and expressed pride or regret about this decision. Participants then made their own resource allocation decisions. Exemplar regret about acting fairly decreased the incidence of fair behavior (Studies 1A and 1B). Likewise, exemplar regret about acting unfairly increased the incidence of fair behavior (Study 2). The effect of others' emotions on observers' behavior was mediated by the observers' anticipated emotions. We discuss our findings in light of the view that social appraisal and anticipated emotions are important tools for social learning and may contribute to the formation and maintenance of social norms about greed and fairness. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).