A note on socialcognitive and cognitive biases associated with anger

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Related to this discussion of additional factors involved in anger are the effects of being in an angry state on the cognitive and social cognitive system (Bodenhausen, Sheppard, & Kramer, 1994; Keltner, Ellsworth, & Edwards, 1993). For example, Keltner et al. (1993) carried out five experiments that examined angry participants' and sad participants' perceived causes for certain events. Angry participants judged events caused by human beings (that is, recognisable agents) as more likely than events caused by situations; in addition, angry participants interpreted ambiguous events as more likely to be caused by human forces than situational forces. Parrott, Zeichner, and Evces (2005) found that high-trait-anger individuals showed facilitated processing of anger words in a lexical decision task. Van-Honk, Tuiten, de Haan, Van-den-Hout, and Stam (2001) showed a similar bias in high-trait-anger individuals towards angry faces. On a slightly different tack, Rucker and Petty (2004) showed that, using a mood induction technique, that anger induction led to a preference for activity-based choices in a consumer study whereas sadness induction led to a passive relaxation choice, as would be predicted from the different action tendencies of the two emotions (see Chapter 5). Studies such as these indicate that the experience of the emotion of anger leads individuals to interpret new events in terms of the appraisal parameters involved in the emotion they are experiencing, and we return to this issue in our discussion of SPAARS later in the chapter.

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