Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 179–190 | Cite as

Hate: Evidence for a motivational conceptualization

  • John K. RempelEmail author
  • Christopher T. Burris
  • Darius Fathi
Original Paper


Four studies (three Canadian, one African) tested whether lay understandings of hate are congruent with conceptualizing hate as a motive with the goal of diminishing or destroying a target’s wellbeing (Rempel and Burris, Personal Relationships 12:297–313, 2005; Rempel and Sutherland, in: Aumer (ed) The psychology of love and hate in intimate relationships, Springer, Cham, 2016). A prototype approach showed that statements central to hate focused on the desire for a target to suffer harm (Study 1). Statements including the desire for target harm received higher hate ratings than those in which this desire was absent (Study 2). People were more likely to define an experience as hate when they spontaneously mentioned the intent to harm (Study 3). Hate attributions were higher when harm was a desired outcome rather than unwanted byproduct of goal pursuit (Study 4). Thus, lay attributions of hate consistently link with the perceived desire for a target to experience harm. The theoretical and practical implications of a motivational conceptualization of hate are discussed.


Hate Motivation Emotion Harm 



We thank colleagues, course instructors, and research assistants at the University of Waterloo and the University of Botswana for their support and assistance with data collection.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • John K. Rempel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christopher T. Burris
    • 1
  • Darius Fathi
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologySt. Jerome’s UniversityWaterlooCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  3. 3.Darien Wellness CenterDarienUSA

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