Expectations influence how emotions shape behavior

Maya Tamir*, Yochanan E. Bigman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Emotions shape behavior, but there is some debate over the manner in which they do so. The authors propose that how emotions shape behavior depends, in part, on how people expect emotions to shape behavior. In Study 1, angry (vs. calm) participants made more money in a negotiation when they expected anger to be beneficial. In Study 2, angry (vs. calm) participants killed more enemies in a computer game when they expected anger (but not calmness) to promote performance. In Study 3, excited (vs. calm) participants were more creative when they expected excitement to promote performance, whereas calm (vs. excited) participants were more creative when they expected calmness to promote performance. These findings demonstrate that, at least sometimes, what emotions do depends on what we expect them to do.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)15-25
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Danielle Harpaz, Neta Weitzman, and Noa Eshet for lab assistance and Gadi Lahav and Nitzan Edelman for MatLab assistance. This research was supported by grant number 381/15 to the last author from the Israel Science Foundation.

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a National Science Foundation Grant (SES 0920918) to Maya Tamir. We thank Yaacov Schul and Iris Mauss for their comments on earlier drafts, and Sydney Barada for her help with data collection.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Psychological Association.


  • Behavior
  • Beliefs
  • Emotion
  • Expectations


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