Gerold Mikula, Klaus R. Scherer, and Ursula Athenstaedt
The role of injustice in the elicitation of differential emotional reactions
Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin 24. 7 (Jul 1998): 769-783


Data from a large-scale study on emotional experiences in 37 countries were used to examine correlates of emotion-antecedent events being judged as unfair or unjust. 2,921 students (mean age 21.8 yrs) reported situations in which they had experienced joy, anger, fear, sadness, disgust, shame, and guilt, and described their situation appraisals and reactions. Anger-producing events were most frequently perceived as very unfair, followed by disgust, sadness, fear, guilt, and shame. The results showed strong main effects of the perception of injustice for all negative emotions. Events experienced as unjust were described as more immoral, more obstructive to plans and goals, and having more negative effects on personal relationships. In addition, events regarded as unjust elicited feelings that were longer in duration and more intense. It is concluded that perceived injustice plays a powerful role in the elicitation of many different negative emotions and may serve as a mediating variable in emotion-antecedent appraisal.



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