When we want them to fear us: The motivation to influence outgroup emotions in collective action

Siwar Hasan-Aslih*, Liat Netzer, Martijn van Zomeren, Tamar Saguy, Maya Tamir, Eran Halperin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Prior work has shown that the experience of group-based emotions can motivate disadvantaged group members to engage in collective action. In the current research, we tested whether such action can also be driven by the motivation to induce certain emotions among the outgroup to the extent that disadvantaged group members believe this would help them attain their social change goals. We tested this hypothesis in three studies (two correlational and one experimental) within the context of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Study 1 showed that individuals’ motivation to induce outgroup regret was associated with nonviolent collective action tendencies, whereas the motivation to induce outgroup fear was related to violent action. Study 2 moved beyond Study 1 by assessing corrective and punitive goals of social change. We found that preferences for inducing outgroup regret mediated the relationship between endorsement of corrective goals and nonviolent action tendencies, whereas preferences for outgroup fear mediated the relationship between punitive goals and violent action. Study 3 provided experimental support for the causal effect of goals on emotion motivations and collective action tendencies. Together, our findings are in line with the notion of instrumental emotion regulation as applied to collective action.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)724-745
Number of pages22
JournalGroup Processes and Intergroup Relations
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study was funded by a European Research Council grant (335607) to the last author.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.


  • collective action
  • emotion regulation
  • emotions
  • fear
  • intergroup relations
  • regret
  • social change


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