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Emotional Experience and Prosocial Behavior in Observers of Unjust Situations

Description: Five studies tested the emotional experience and prosocial motivations in observers (i.e., third parties) of unjust situations. Studies 1 and 2 found that anger was the most dominant emotion experienced in unjust situations, and that prosocial behavior towards a victim decreased when justice had already been restored by compensation of the victim. Study 3 added that the experience of anger also decreases when justice is restored. Study 4 generalized the effects to different types of compensation. Study 5 switches to the perspective of the victim, showing a larger decrease in the most dominant emotion anger when justice was restored by means of compensation than by punishment. The implications of these findings with regard to third-party emotions and behavior in unjust situations are discussed.

Suggested Citation:
van Doorn, J., Zeelenberg, M., Breugelmans, S. M. (2019). Emotional Experience and Prosocial Behavior in Observers of Unjust Situations [Electronic Version]. Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice, 15(1), 41-59.

Keywords: injustice, emotion, prosocial, compensation, punishment, third party

Date: Aug 13, 2019 | File Size: 344.98 Kb | Downloads: 9

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