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Title:The Role of Standards of Reference in the Experience of Anger
Author(s):Turner, Terence James
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Ortony, Andrew,
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Social
Psychology, Experimental
Psychology, Personality
Abstract:This thesis focussed on anger directed at friends and acquaintances who have violated certain standards of conduct. It sought to determine how the intensity of anger is determined in such cases, and did this by examining the role of two standards of reference to which the actions of the friend (or acquaintance) could have been compared: what she or he could have done in the situation (a factual standard), and what he or she should have done (a normative standard). Deviations from normative standards give rise to judgments that the person's actions were morally or socially wrong, while deviations from factual standards usually elicit surprise.
Theories proposed by Kahneman and Miller (1986), and by Ortony, Clore, and Collins (in press) suggest that deviations from both these standards intensify anger (and a number of other emotions). However, the four experiments of the thesis support the conclusion that it is only departures from normative standards that have this effect on the intensity of anger. Deviations from factual standards do not have a direct causal effect on anger, and only correlate with the intensity of anger when they are associated with deviations from normative standards.
The studies suggest further than only deviations from standards that are definitional of an emotion always act to intensify that emotion directly. If this contention is correct, a deviation from a factual standard, and the attendant surprise, does not act to intensify all emotions as has been suggested by many psychologists, from Paulhan (1887/1930) writing a century ago, to contemporary theorists such as Kahneman and Miller (1986), Mandler (1984), and Ortony et al. (in press). Instead, its direct intensifying effect is limited to emotions, such as disappointment and relief, in which deviations from factual standards are required for the emotion to occur at all. Similarly, deviations from normative standards may have a direct intensifying effect only on those emotions, such as anger, remorse, resentment, indignation, and contempt, for which such deviations are part of the definition of the emotion.
Issue Date:1987
Description:142 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1987.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8803223
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1987

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