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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2001 Jan;80(1):86-94.

Anger and advancement versus sadness and subjugation: the effect of negative emotion expressions on social status conferral.

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Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, California 94305-5015, USA.


Four studies examined status conferral (decisions about who should be granted status). The studies show that people confer more status to targets who express anger than to targets who express sadness. In the 1st study, participants supported President Clinton more when they viewed him expressing anger about the Monica Lewinsky scandal than when they saw him expressing sadness about the scandal. This effect was replicated with an unknown politician in Study 2. The 3rd study showed that status conferral in a company was correlated with peers' ratings of the workers' anger. In the final study, participants assigned a higher status position and a higher salary to a job candidate who described himself as angry as opposed to sad. Furthermore, Studies 2-4 showed that anger expressions created the impression that the expresser was competent and that these perceptions mediated the relationship between emotional expressions and status conferral.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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