Revenge: A Multilevel Review and Synthesis

Posted: 18 Jan 2019

See all articles by Joshua Jackson

Joshua Jackson

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Virginia K. Choi

University of Maryland - Department of Psychology

Michele Joy Gelfand

University of Maryland

Date Written: January 2019

Abstract

Why do people take revenge? This question can be difficult to answer. Vengeance seems interpersonally destructive and antithetical to many of the most basic human instincts. However, an emerging body of social scientific research has begun to illustrate a logic to revenge, demonstrating why revenge evolved in humans and when and how people take revenge. We review this evidence and suggest that future studies on revenge would benefit from a multilevel perspective in which individual acts of revenge exist within higher-level cultural systems, with the potential to instigate change in these systems over time. With this framework, we can better understand the interplay between revenge's psychological properties and its role in cultural evolution.

Suggested Citation

Jackson, Joshua and Choi, Virginia K. and Gelfand, Michele Joy, Revenge: A Multilevel Review and Synthesis (January 2019). Annual Review of Psychology, Vol. 70, pp. 319-345, 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3318213 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-psych-010418-103305

Joshua Jackson (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill ( email )

102 Ridge Road
Chapel Hill, NC NC 27514
United States

Virginia K. Choi

University of Maryland - Department of Psychology

United States

Michele Joy Gelfand

University of Maryland ( email )

1142 Biology-Psychology Building
College Park, MD 0742-4411
United States
301 405 6972 (Phone)

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