Emotion and Social Network Perceptions: How Does Anger Bias Perceptions of Networks?
Final rept. 26 August 2011-23 February 2013
CAMBRIDGE UNIV (UNITED KINGDOM)
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We explore how anger influences perceptions of rival networks across two studies. In a lab experiment, we establish that anger, relative to neutral emotion, affects the extent to which people see others as more connected than they really are. In a field experiment, we replicate and extend these findings by showing that anger not only promotes exaggerated perceptions of rival network connectedness, but it also enhances the tendency to see the people in these networks as more homogeneous and group-like entitative than they may be in actuality. Thus, relative to neutral emotion, anger distorts network perceptions in such a way that people see their rivals and their rivals allies as representing stronger coalitions than may actually be the case, a phenomenon we term the false coalition effect.
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