On the Closed-Mindedness of Revenge: Motivated Cognition and Perspective Taking
Kruglanski, Arie W.
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The present research examined the extent of desire for, and the likelihood of enacting, revenge as a function of the Need for Cognitive Closure (NFC; Kruglanski, 2004; Webster & Kruglanski, 1994). The studies herein aimed to more fully understand how low (vs. high) NFC individuals are able to refrain from acting on revenge impulses which they were expected to do through greater cognitive processing. Specifically, I demonstrate across four studies that high (vs. low) NFC individuals desire revenge to a greater extent as well as engage in more retributive behaviors. Study 2 showed that perspective taking and attributional reasoning are examples of additional processing engaged in by low (vs. high) NFC individuals, which augment the desire for forgiveness. Study 3 demonstrated that an induction of perspective taking leads to lesser revenge behavior and indeed eliminated the difference in retaliation between high and low NFC individuals. Study 4 conceptually replicated the relationship between the NFC and retaliation using situational manipulations of high (vs. low) NFC. The present studies were unable to show that following a transgression, revenge (vs. forgiveness) is the most cognitively accessible option and were further unable to demonstrate that accessibility of revenge changes over time for high NFC individuals.