Hate: Theory and implications for intimate relationships

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Abstract

We expand on Rempel and Burris’ (Pers Relat 12:297-313, 2005) conceptualization of hate in light of recent theory and research suggesting that emotions and motives represent two distinct but interconnected systems. Prototypical emotional states generate a quick response when there is little time to react, but, with more processing time, the “emotivational” trajectory inherent in the emotion will influence behavioral responses. With still more time, conscious motivational deliberation will further refine response options. Although directly relevant research is limited, neurological, survey, prototype, and experimental data all support a motivational conceptualization of hate in which the core goal is the desire to harm a target. In close relationships, the desire to harm (i.e., the hate process) can be impulsive (emotivational) or deliberate, fleeting or prolonged, infrequent or recurring, modest or intense, suppressed or expressed, a means to some other end or an end in itself, and labeled or not labeled as “hate." We discuss how the interaction of these various components can significantly influence the impact of the hate experience within intimate relationships. Finally, we suggest a number of strategies to reduce hate that are focused on decreasing the motivational desire to harm.

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Rempel, J. K., & Sutherland, S. (2016). Hate: Theory and implications for intimate relationships. In The Psychology of Love and Hate in Intimate Relationships (pp. 105–129). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-39277-6_7

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