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Title: Unexpected and just missed: The influence of expectancy and proximity on negative emotions
Authors: Bossuyt, Evelien
Moors, Agnes
De Houwer, Jan #
Issue Date: Jul-2014
Conference: General Meeting of the European Association of Social Psychology (EASP) location:Amsterdam, The Netherlands date:July 2014
Abstract: Negative outcomes seem to induce much more intense and long-lasting emotions
when a positive outcome was highly anticipated and just missed than when a
positive outcome was never anticipated and missed by far. To date, it remains
unclear whether the expectation of a positive outcome and the perception that it was
just missed (i.e., proximity) both influence emotions or whether one of the two
dictates the emotional response. We experimentally manipulated expectancy and
proximity in three slot machine experiments and measured emotions via differences
in motivation (i.e., the tendency to repair the negative outcome) and feelings (i.e.,
disappointment, frustration, and anger). The experiments consisted of a series of
trials that each started with the sequential presentation of three symbols. In case of
a win trial, all symbols were equal (e.g., AAA) and the participant gained ten cents;
in case of a loss trial, one or more of the symbols were different and the participant
gained zero cents. Three different loss trials were compared: unexpected proximal
ones (e.g., AAB), expected proximal ones (e.g., ABA), and expected distal ones
(e.g., ABC). The tendency to repair was measured online via behavior as well as
retrospectively via self-reports; feelings were measured retrospectively (Experiments
1 and 2) or online (Experiment 3). Unexpected losses seemed to increase the
tendency to repair as well as feelings of disappointment, frustration and anger.
Proximal losses increased the tendency to repair only. This suggests that the
appraisals of expectancy and proximity have a distinct influence on emotions.
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IMa
Appears in Collections:Non-KU Leuven Association publications
# (joint) last author

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