How emotion communication guides reciprocity: establishing cooperation through disappointment and anger

Maarten Wubben, D (David) De Cremer, E van Dijk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Emotions fulfill many social functions, but data on their essential function of establishing cooperation are lacking. We investigated how communicating anger and disappointment guides reciprocal cooperative behavior. Although anger may force cooperation by announcing retaliation, we predicted that communicating disappointment was less likely to backfire. A laboratory study in which participants played against the reciprocal strategy of tit-for-tat showed that communicated disappointment established more cooperation than did anger. This effect also carried over to future cooperation decisions. Partners communicating disappointment evoked less anger, were evaluated more positively and as forgiving rather than retaliatory. Communication of disappointment thus appears conducive to establishing mutually beneficial relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)987-990
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume45
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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