Goals of anger

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Chapter 5 endnote 37, from How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context is:

[Ch 5 note 37] “Anger” can also be for protecting oneself against an offense, dealing with someone who acted unfairly, desiring aggression toward another person, wanting to win a competition or to enhance performance in some way, or wishing to appear powerful.


[Ch 6 note 2] You could be angry with a different goal, like changing your boss’s mind, or maintaining social relations with the coworker who got the promotion in your place.

Other goals related to the concept "Anger" include:

  • Protecting against a demeaning offense;[1]
  • Someone acted unfairly[2]
  • Desire to aggress[3]
  • To protect against a hostile threat[4]
  • To signal dominance
  • To repair social connections[5][6]
  • To win a competition[7]
  • To enhance self-insight[8]
  • To win negotiations[9]
  • To appear powerful[10][9]
  • To enhance performance[11]
  • To lash out when frustrated[4] or when feeling threat to self-worth[4]
  • To defend when feeling antagonized[4]


Notes on the Notes

  1. Smith, Craig A. and Richard S. Lazarus. 1993. "Appraisal components, core relational themes, and the emotions." Cognition and Emotion. 7: 233-263.
  2. de Rivera, J. 1981b. The structure of anger. In J. de Rivera (Ed.), Conceptual encounter: A method for the exploration of human experience (pp. 35-81). Washington, DC: University Press of America.
  3. Harmon-Jones
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Ceulemans, Eva, Peter Kuppens, and Iven Van Mechelen. 2012. "Capturing the structure of distinct types of individual differences in the situation‐specific experience of emotions: The case of anger." European Journal of Personality 26 (5): 484-495
  5. Batja Mesquita [full reference to be provided]
  6. Baumeister et al., 1990. [full reference to be provided]
  7. Kim, Y. Min, Brett Q. Ford, Iris Mauss, and Maya Tamir. 2015. "Knowing when to seek anger: Psychological health and context-sensitive emotional preferences." Cognition and Emotion, 29(6):1126-36.
  8. Kassinove et al., 1997. [full reference to be provided]
  9. 9.0 9.1 Van Kleef, Gerben A., and Stéphane Côté. 2007. "Expressing anger in conflict: when it helps and when it hurts." Journal of Applied Psychology 92 (6): 1557-1569.
  10. Sinaceur, Marwan, and Larissa Z Tiedens. 2006. "Get mad and get more than even: When and why anger expression is effective in negotiations." Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 42 (3): 314-322.
  11. Tamir et al., 2008. [full reference to be provided]