Now that I'm Sad, It's Hard to Be Mad: The Role of Cognitive Appraisals in Emotional Blunting

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 36, No. 11, pp. 1467-1483, 2010

18 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2012

See all articles by Karen Page Winterich

Karen Page Winterich

Pennsylvania State University - Mary Jean and Frank P. Smeal College of Business Administration

Seunghee Han

Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Social and Decision Sciences

Jennifer Lerner

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: February 3, 2012

Abstract

People often encounter one emotion-triggering event after another. To examine how an emotion experience affects those that follow, the current article draws on the appraisal-tendency framework and cognitive appraisal theories of emotion. The emotional blunting hypothesis predicts that a specific emotion can carry over to blunt the experience of a subsequent emotion when defined by contrasting appraisal tendencies. Results support the hypothesis: Inducing sadness blunted subsequent anger (Studies 1 and 2), and inducing anger blunted subsequent sadness (Study 2). Situational (human) agency appraisals mediated the effect of anger (sadness) on subsequent sadness (anger) elicitation (Study 2). Priming agency appraisals (Study 3) also moderated results. Finally, the effect of emotional blunting carried over to cognitive outcomes in each of the three studies. Together, the results reveal the importance of examining the sequence of emotional experiences. Implications for emotion and judgment in applied settings (e.g., the courtroom) are discussed.

Keywords: emotion, cognitive appraisals, sadness, anger, judgment, decision making, approach/withdrawal

Suggested Citation

Winterich, Karen Page and Han, Seunghee and Lerner, Jennifer, Now that I'm Sad, It's Hard to Be Mad: The Role of Cognitive Appraisals in Emotional Blunting (February 3, 2012). Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 36, No. 11, pp. 1467-1483, 2010 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1998795

Karen Page Winterich (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University - Mary Jean and Frank P. Smeal College of Business Administration ( email )

University Park, PA 16802
United States

Seunghee Han

Carnegie Mellon University - Department of Social and Decision Sciences ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
412-720-8127 (Phone)

Jennifer Lerner

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-9962 (Phone)

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
47
Abstract Views
614
PlumX Metrics