Appeasement in human emotion, social practice, and personality

  • Keltner D
  • Young R
  • Buswell B
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Abstract

In this article we examine the role of appeasement in human emotion, social practice, and personality. We first present an analysis of human appeasement. Appeasement begins when the conditions of sociai relations lead one individual to anticipate aggression from others, is expressed in submissive, inhibited behavior, which in turn evokes inferences and emotions in others that bring about sociai reconciliation. Our empirical review focuses on two classes of human appeasement: reactive forms of appeasement, including embar- rassment and shame, which placate others after social transgressions; and anticipatory forms of appeasement, including polite modesty and shyness, which reduce the likeli- hood of social conflict and aggression. Our review of the empirical evidence indi- cates that embarrassment, shame, modesty, and shyness share the eliciting conditions, submissive behavior, and social consequences of appeasement. We conclude by discussing social processes that allow humans to appease one another, such as teasing, and those that prevent appeasement, such as legal and negotiation prac- tices, to the benefit and detriment of human relations. Aggr.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Behavioral systems
  • Human appeasement
  • Social reconciliation

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Authors

  • Dacher Keltner

  • Randall C. Young

  • Brenda N. Buswell

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