How group-based emotions are shaped by collective emotions: Evidence for emotional transfer and emotional burden

  • Goldenberg A
  • Saguy T
  • Halperin E
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Abstract

Extensive research has established the pivotal role that group-based emotions play in shaping intergroup processes. The underlying implicit assumption in previous work has been that these emotions reflect what the rest of the group feels (i.e., collective emotions). However, one can experience an emotion in the name of her or his group, which is inconsistent with what the collective feels. The current research investigated this phenomenon of emotional nonconformity. Particularly, we proposed that when a certain emotional reaction is perceived as appropriate, but the collective is perceived as not experiencing this emotion, people would experience stronger levels of group-based emotion, placing their emotional experience farther away from that of the collective. We provided evidence for this process across 2 different emotions: group-based guilt and group-based anger (Studies 1 and 2) and across different intergroup contexts (Israeli–Palestinian relations in Israel, and Black–White relations in the United States). In Studies 3 and 4, we demonstrate that this process is moderated by the perceived appropri- ateness of the collective emotional response. Studies 4 and 5 further provided evidence for the mechanisms underlying this effect, pointing to a process of emotional burden (i.e., feeling responsible for carrying the emotion in the name of the group) and of emotional transfer (i.e., transferring negative feelings one has toward the ingroup, toward the event itself). This work brings to light processes that were yet to be studied regarding the relationship between group members, their perception of their group, and the emotional processes that connect them. Keywords:

Author-supplied keywords

  • Collective action
  • Collective emotions
  • Emotion regulation
  • Emotions
  • Group-based emotions

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