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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Lebenswissen­schaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Psychologie

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Lebenswissen­schaftliche Fakultät | Institut für Psychologie | Professuren | Sozial- und Organisationspsychologie | Forschung | The social signal function of emotions (in collaboration with Shlomo Hareli, University of Haifa)

The social signal function of emotions (in collaboration with Shlomo Hareli, University of Haifa)

There is a long tradition of research to study the factors that influence how people label emotional expressions. However, in everyday life, the treatment of emotional information does not end once a label is affixed. Rather people draw inferences about others from the emotional reactions they observe. The current research program investigates the processes by which these inferences are drawn and the social context factors that influence them.
When we encounter others we rapidly and spontaneously make judgments about their personality. People base these judgments on a variety of sources. We are specifically interested in the role of emotional behavior in this context. In particular we suggest that people use their knowledge about the typical relationships between perceived features of a situation and specific emotions to infer traits based on the specific emotion that a target person expressed in a certain situation. That is, we assume that the emotional reaction of the target person is used by perceivers to infer how that individual sees the situation and that inference is further used to infer aspects of that individual's personality.
Hareli, S., & Hess, U. (2010). What emotional reactions can tell us about the nature of others: An appraisal perspective on person perception. Cognition and Emotion, 24, 128-140.
Hareli, S., Shomrat, N., & Hess, U. (2009). Emotional versus neutral expressions and perceptions of social dominance and submissiveness.  Emotion, 9, 378-384.
Hareli, S., Harush, R., Suleiman, R., Bergeron, S., Cossette, M., Lavoie, V., Dugay, G., & Hess, U. (2009). When scowling may be a good thing: The influence of anger expressions on credibility. Euroean Journal of Social Psychology, 39, 631-638.
Hareli, S. & Hess, U. (2008), When does feedback about success at school hurt? The role of causal attributions. Social Psychology of Education, 11, 259-272.
Hareli, S., & Hess, U. (2008). The role of causal attribution in hurt feelings and related social emotions elicited in reaction to other's feedback about failure. Cognition and Emotion. 22, 862-880.