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Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 183–193 | Cite as

Pain expectation, negative affect, and angry aggression

  • Leonard Berkowitz
  • Pauline Ropert Thome
Article

Abstract

An experiment was conducted to determine if the relatively strong negative affect generated by anticipation of pain from exposure to aversive stimulation would give rise to an instigation to aggression and accompanying feelings of annoyance-irritation-anger. The 45 undergraduate women in the study were required to immerse their nondominant hand in water as they administered reward and punishment to a fellow student, supposedly as an evaluation of that person's solutions to assigned problems. In two-thirds of the cases the water temperature was unpleasantly cold, while it was much more tolerable in temperature for the remaining subjects. Half of the participants in the cold water condition and all of those in the more tolerable water temperature group has been led to expect the possibility of pain as they kept their hand in the water, whereas the remaining women (exposed to the cold water) had been alerted only to the physical sensations they would have. In accord with the findings obtained in an earlier experiment by Leventhal, Brown, Sacham, and Enquist (1979), the subjects in the cold water group expecting that they might feel pain reported experiencing the greatest discomfort. Further, consistent with Berkowitz's analysis of anger and angry aggression, these participants also reported the strongest feelings of annoyance-irritation-anger and were most punitive to the available target even though they could not attribute their discomfort to this person.

Keywords

Water Temperature Negative Affect Cold Water Physical Sensation Fellow Student 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leonard Berkowitz
    • 1
  • Pauline Ropert Thome
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WisconsinMadison

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