Real-life revenge may not effectively deter norm violations

M. Elshout*, R.M.A. Nelissen, I. van Beest, S. Elshout, W.W. van Dijk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

The current article examined the characteristics of real-life revenge acts. A demographically diverse sample of avengers described autobiographical revenge acts and the preceding offense. They rated the severity of both acts, the time before taking revenge, and motives for the timing. Independent raters also rated the severity of both acts and coded the domains. Results revealed that real-life revenge is (1) by and large equally common as revealed by lab-based studies on revenge, but (2) is usually a delayed response, and (3) although similar to offenses in severity (according to independent parties), it is dissimilar in the domain. These characteristics contradict manifestations of revenge as studied in lab research (e.g., as a response that must take place immediately and in the same domain). These discrepancies suggest that not all real-life instances of revenge are optimally suited to serve a deterrence function and that other motives may underlie more destructive revenge acts.
Keywords: revenge; vengeance; retaliation; violence; aggression
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of Social Psychology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2019

Keywords

  • INJUSTICE
  • PUNISHMENT
  • Revenge
  • aggression
  • retaliation
  • vengeance
  • violence

Cite this

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title = "Real-life revenge may not effectively deter norm violations",
abstract = "The current article examined the characteristics of real-life revenge acts. A demographically diverse sample of avengers described autobiographical revenge acts and the preceding offense. They rated the severity of both acts, the time before taking revenge, and motives for the timing. Independent raters also rated the severity of both acts and coded the domains. Results revealed that real-life revenge is (1) by and large equally common as revealed by lab-based studies on revenge, but (2) is usually a delayed response, and (3) although similar to offenses in severity (according to independent parties), it is dissimilar in the domain. These characteristics contradict manifestations of revenge as studied in lab research (e.g., as a response that must take place immediately and in the same domain). These discrepancies suggest that not all real-life instances of revenge are optimally suited to serve a deterrence function and that other motives may underlie more destructive revenge acts.Keywords: revenge; vengeance; retaliation; violence; aggression",
keywords = "INJUSTICE, PUNISHMENT, Revenge, aggression, retaliation, vengeance, violence",
author = "M. Elshout and R.M.A. Nelissen and {van Beest}, I. and S. Elshout and {van Dijk}, W.W.",
year = "2019",
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language = "English",
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publisher = "Routledge",

}

Real-life revenge may not effectively deter norm violations. / Elshout, M. ; Nelissen, R.M.A.; van Beest, I.; Elshout, S.; van Dijk, W.W.

In: The Journal of Social Psychology, 2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AU - Elshout, M.

AU - Nelissen, R.M.A.

AU - van Beest, I.

AU - Elshout, S.

AU - van Dijk, W.W.

PY - 2019

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N2 - The current article examined the characteristics of real-life revenge acts. A demographically diverse sample of avengers described autobiographical revenge acts and the preceding offense. They rated the severity of both acts, the time before taking revenge, and motives for the timing. Independent raters also rated the severity of both acts and coded the domains. Results revealed that real-life revenge is (1) by and large equally common as revealed by lab-based studies on revenge, but (2) is usually a delayed response, and (3) although similar to offenses in severity (according to independent parties), it is dissimilar in the domain. These characteristics contradict manifestations of revenge as studied in lab research (e.g., as a response that must take place immediately and in the same domain). These discrepancies suggest that not all real-life instances of revenge are optimally suited to serve a deterrence function and that other motives may underlie more destructive revenge acts.Keywords: revenge; vengeance; retaliation; violence; aggression

AB - The current article examined the characteristics of real-life revenge acts. A demographically diverse sample of avengers described autobiographical revenge acts and the preceding offense. They rated the severity of both acts, the time before taking revenge, and motives for the timing. Independent raters also rated the severity of both acts and coded the domains. Results revealed that real-life revenge is (1) by and large equally common as revealed by lab-based studies on revenge, but (2) is usually a delayed response, and (3) although similar to offenses in severity (according to independent parties), it is dissimilar in the domain. These characteristics contradict manifestations of revenge as studied in lab research (e.g., as a response that must take place immediately and in the same domain). These discrepancies suggest that not all real-life instances of revenge are optimally suited to serve a deterrence function and that other motives may underlie more destructive revenge acts.Keywords: revenge; vengeance; retaliation; violence; aggression

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