- On feeling humiliated
- The experience of humiliation in interpersonal, intragroup, and intergroup contexts
- Award date
- 27 January 2017
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Humiliation is an intensely negative and complex emotion. This dissertation focused on the determinants, strength, emotion relations, and consequences of feelings of humiliation in different contexts. In an interpersonal context (Chapter 2), we found that negative audience behaviour (laughter) during a humiliating episode increased reported humiliation. At the same time, positive audience behaviour (social support) did not decrease humiliation. In Chapter 3 we studied humiliation during initiation rituals in student fraternities. Contrary to the often assumed affiliative function of degrading practices (i.e., hazing) during such rituals, we found evidence that humiliation during initiations leads to more distance between group members. In an intergroup context (Chapter 4), we showed that reported humiliation caused by a defeat of the in-group predicted aggressive action tendencies towards an out-group that was not involved in the humiliating defeat. We also found evidence indicating that people who strongly glorify their in-group are more prone to feel humiliated about a past defeat of their in-group. This humiliation, in turn, predicts feelings of hate towards an out-group and an inclination to respond aggressively towards this out-group.
Taken together the studies in this dissertation show that humiliation is an emotion that is particularly prone to reinforcement by other people’s negative behaviour and, at the same time, has strong potential to evoke antisocial behaviour in the victim toward others. Thus, unlike other negative emotions, humiliation is clearly dysfunctional when it comes to the formation and maintenance of good relationships, whether this is between individuals, within a group or between groups.
- Kurt Lewin Institute dissertation series ; 2016-13
Thesis (complete) (Embargo up to and including 27 January 2019)
Chapter 2: When laughing hurts: humiliation, audience behaviour, and the self (Embargo up to and including 27 January 2019)
Chapter 4: Group-based humiliation and intergroup aggression: The role of perceived in-group status (Embargo up to and including 27 January 2019)
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