Vengeance is self-focused: Comparing vengeful to anger-driven responses

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Prior definitions and empirical research do not distinguish responses to transgressions driven by feelings of revenge from responses to transgressions driven by feelings of anger. We used autobiographical recalls to examine differences between vengeful and anger-driven responses. Our findings revealed that vengeful responses are not the same as anger-driven responses. Compared to anger-driven responses, vengeful responses resulted more from offences that induce a self-threat, which elicited more intense negative self-conscious emotions and more rumination. Moreover, compared to anger-driven responses, vengeful responses consisted more of behaviours that induced a self-threat to the other person, were motivated more by intrapersonal goals, were more delayed, elicited more positive emotions and resulted in less relationship restoration. Together, these findings suggest that more so than anger-driven responses, vengeance is self-focused.
Keywords: Vengeance, Revenge, Feelings of revenge, Anger
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1239-1255
JournalCognition and Emotion
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2015


Cite this