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Incidental anger and the desire to evaluate

Incidental anger and the desire to evaluate

By
Scott S. Wiltermuth, Larissa Tiedens
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. September
2011, Vol. 116, Issue 1, Pages 55–65

Our results indicate that people experiencing incidental anger are more likely than people in neutral and other emotional states to prefer to perform evaluative tasks, even though their anger may bias the evaluations they make. Induced anger increased participants’ desire to evaluate others’ ideas (Experiment 1) and made the evaluations of those ideas more negative in valence (Experiment 2). Anger increased the appeal of evaluating ideas when evaluations were expected to be largely negative but not when evaluations were expected to be positive (Experiments 3 and 4). Mediation analyses revealed that this willingness to evaluate when angry stems from a belief that evaluating others can leave angry people in a positive mood. Because people are often free to decide when to perform the tasks required of them, this tendency may have implications for how and when ideas are evaluated.