When does anger evoke self-interest and fairness motives? The moderating effects of perceived responsibility for needs


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Abstract

Research has repeatedly demonstrated that anger evokes both self-interest and fairness motives, but it is unclear what factors determine the evocation of these motives. We examined the idea that the type of relationship, indexed by the perceived responsibility for a partner's needs, moderates the effect of anger on self-interest and fairness motives by constructing the following hypotheses: Participants will be motivated to protect their self-interests when they feel anger toward an other who they perceive has the responsibility for needs, while this will not be the case when they feel anger toward an other who they do not perceive has a responsibility for needs (Hypothesis 1), and participants will be motivated to restore fairness regardless of whether the target of anger has a responsibility for needs or not (Hypothesis 2). The Japanese participants in this study rated their anger experiences in terms of the intensity of angry feelings, the perception of responsibility of the other for their own needs, the closeness of the relationship prior to the experience of anger, and the motives that were evoked. Regression analysis supported both hypotheses, implying that concerns related to self-interest in close relationships reflect the desire for the maintenance of these relationships.

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