- Regulating deviance with emotions: Emotional expressions as signals of acceptance and rejection
- Award date
- 13 November 2015
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
An individual group member’s deviant behavior can provoke strong emotional reactions from other group members. I have investigated the role of such emotional reactions in regulating deviance by investigating how the deviant is influenced by these emotional reactions. The idea that angry reactions signal rejection, and that happy reactions signal acceptance is introduced to predict this influence. In the first empirical chapter, I find that happy are implicitly associated with acceptance, and that angry expressions are associated with rejection. In the second empirical chapter, I investigated the mathematical relation between the number of angry reactions and the extent to which a deviant feels rejected, and found that every single angry reaction to deviance increases the extent to which the deviant feels rejected. In the last empirical chapter, I find that angry reactions to deviance can elicit lasting conformity if (a) re-acceptance is desirable and (b) conformity is instrumental in gaining re-acceptance. Together, these findings indicate that group members influence each other through the emotional reactions to each others' behavior, and that the emotional reactions that deviance provokes helps regulate deviance in groups. Based on these findings, I propose an extended theoretical model in which emotional reactions to deviance influence the deviant's behavior through two simultaneous motives, retaliation and reconnection. I discuss new insights that follow from this model, as well as more general implications that follow from my dissertation as a whole, for theorizing about the social functions of emotions in general, and in groups specifically.
- Research conducted at: Universiteit van Amsterdam
Series: Kurt Lewin Institute dissertation series 2015-16
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