Retribution and Revenge

Brian Lickel

in The Oxford Handbook of Intergroup Conflict

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199747672
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Retribution and Revenge


This chapter provides a description of affective, cognitive, and social processes related to group-based revenge. The chapter is divided into four main sections. The first section reviews the link between outgroup-directed anger and the motivation for intergroup aggression, as well as other emotions (i.e., fear, humiliation, and contempt) that may work in concert with anger to motivate or facilitate group-based revenge. The second section further examines the cognitive processes that underlie group-based revenge, in particular the ways in which people's initial perceptions and emotions are modified and bolstered over time to (usually) justify and facilitate vengeful action. The third section considers the affective and cognitive processes described in the prior sections in light of the important social processes that occur within groups during intergroup conflicts. Ultimately, group-based revenge is a collective action, and an understanding of the psychological processes that are observable at the individual level must take into account the inherently social character of group-based revenge. In its final section, the chapter discusses two key directions for future work.

Keywords: Anger; fear; humiliation; contempt; emotion; collective responsibility; norms; social influence; leadership; aggression; violence; appraisal; justification; groups; identity

Article.  13223 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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