A prototype analysis of vengeance

Maartje Elshout, Rob Nelissen, Ilja van Beest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The authors examined the concept of vengeance from a prototype perspective. In 6 studies, the prototype structure of vengeance was mapped. Sixty-nine features of vengeance were identified (Study 1), and rated on centrality (Study 2). Further studies confirmed the prototype structure. Compared to peripheral features (e.g., religion, shame, and self-esteem), central features (e.g., humiliation, honor, and power) were more often recalled and recognized in memory tests (Study 3), classified as vengeance more often and faster (Study 4), and rated higher in participants' autobiographical vengeance recalls (Studies 5 and 6). Lay conceptions of vengeance included the view that vengeance is planned, personal, and aggressive, and involves intense feelings of anger, humiliation, envy, and vindictive feelings, as well as negative thoughts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)502-523
JournalPersonal Relationships
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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