Everything in moderation: The social effects of anger depend on its perceived intensity

Hajo Adam*, Jeanne M. Brett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Research has documented the important influence of anger expressions on negotiation processes and outcomes. Surprisingly, however, it remains an open question if this influence depends on a core characteristic of anger displays—the intensity with which anger is expressed. Results from two negotiation studies (N = 396) using different operationalizations of anger intensity, different negotiation procedures, and different subject populations demonstrated a curvilinear relationship between the intensity of the anger expression and the negotiation counterpart's concessions. In particular, moderate-intensity anger led to larger concessions than no anger because the anger expresser was perceived as tough, and high-intensity anger led to smaller concessions than moderate-intensity anger because the anger expression was perceived as inappropriate. Furthermore, expressing anger, and, in particular, high-intensity anger, reduced anger perceivers' subjective value outcomes in the form of negative feelings about the relationship. Theoretical contributions to research on anger, emotion, and negotiation are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-18
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
StatePublished - May 2018


  • Anger
  • Emotion
  • Intensity
  • Negotiation
  • Subjective value

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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