Prosocial consequences of third-party anger

Janne van Doorn*, Marcel Zeelenberg, Seger M. Breugelmans, Sebastian Berger, Tyler G. Okimoto

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Anger has traditionally been associated with aggression and antagonistic behavior. A series of studies revealed that experiences of third-party anger (anger experienced when observing that harm is done to someone) can also lead to prosocial behavior. More specifically, three studies, hypothetical scenarios as well as a behavioral study, revealed that third-party anger can promote compensation of the victim. The results also showed a preference for such prosocial behaviors over antagonistic behaviors. We conclude that behaviors stemming from anger, whether antagonistic or prosocial, are reactions to inequity, albeit determined by the constraints of the situation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)585–599
Number of pages15
JournalTheory and Decision
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Compensation
  • Inequity
  • Prosocial
  • Punishment
  • Third-party anger


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