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Predictably angry: Facial cues provide a credible signal of destructive behavior

Author

Listed:
  • Noussair, Charles N.
  • Offerman, Theo
  • Suetens, Sigrid
  • Van de Ven, Jeroen
  • Van Leeuwen, Boris
  • Van Veelen, Matthijs

Abstract

Evolutionary explanations of anger as a commitment device hinge on two key assumptions. The first is that it is observable ex-ante whether someone will get angry when feeling badly treated. The second is that anger is associated with destructive behavior. We test the validity of these assumptions by studying whether observers are able to detect who rejected a low offer in an ultimatum game. We collected photos and videos of responders in an ultimatum game before they were informed about the game that they would be playing. We showed pairs of photos or videos, consisting of one responder who rejected a low offer and one responder who accepted a low offer, to an independent group of observers. We find support for the two assumptions. Observers do better than chance at detecting who rejected the low offer, especially for rejecters who get angry at low offers.

Suggested Citation

  • Noussair, Charles N. & Offerman, Theo & Suetens, Sigrid & Van de Ven, Jeroen & Van Leeuwen, Boris & Van Veelen, Matthijs, 2014. "Predictably angry: Facial cues provide a credible signal of destructive behavior," IAST Working Papers 14-15, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST).
  • Handle: RePEc:tse:iastwp:28909
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Breaban, Adriana & van de Kuilen, Gijs & Noussair, Charles, 2016. "Prudence, Personality, Cognitive Ability and Emotional State," Discussion Paper 2016-030, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    2. Lenka Fiala & Charles N. Noussair, 2017. "Charitable Giving, Emotions, And The Default Effect," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(4), pages 1792-1812, October.
    3. Breaban, Adriana & Van De Kuilen, Gijs & Noussair, Charles N., 2016. "Prudence, emotional state, personality, and cognitive ability," Other publications TiSEM 0ac205ac-aee3-4df2-82ee-6, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    4. Gagnon, Nickolas & Noussair, C., 2016. "Does Reciprocity Persist Over Time?," Research Memorandum 033, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).

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    Keywords

    anger; commitment; ultimatum game; laboratory experiment;

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