Group Decision and Negotiation

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 13–30 | Cite as

Anger in social conflict: Cross-situational comparisons and suggestions for the future

  • Gerben A. Van KleefEmail author
  • Eric van Dijk
  • Wolfgang Steinel
  • Fieke Harinck
  • Ilja van Beest
Open Access


This paper reviews research on the role of anger in conflict. We distinguish between intrapersonal and interpersonal effects of anger, the former referring to the impact of parties’ feelings of anger on their own behavior and the latter referring to the impact of one parties’ anger on the other’s behavior. We further compare the effects of anger across a variety of conflict settings, including negotiation, ultimatum bargaining, prisoner’s dilemma, resource dilemma, and coalition formation. At the intrapersonal level, anger is associated with competition in all conflict settings. In contrast, the interpersonal effects of anger differ across situations, with anger sometimes eliciting cooperation, sometimes eliciting competition, and sometimes having no effect. Based on the research reviewed, we conclude that the interpersonal effects of anger in conflict are determined by the level of interdependence of the parties, their information processing tendencies, and the justifiability of the anger expressions.


Anger Conflict Negotiation Ultimatum bargaining Prisoner’s dilemma Resource dilemma Coalition formation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerben A. Van Kleef
    • 1
    Email author
  • Eric van Dijk
    • 2
  • Wolfgang Steinel
    • 2
  • Fieke Harinck
    • 2
  • Ilja van Beest
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Social PsychologyUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Leiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands

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