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An angry face and a guilty conscience: The intrapersonal effects of faking anger in negotiations

Previous research on anger in negotiation suggests that expressing anger may have detrimental effects on the relationship between the parties (e.g., Campagna, Mislin, Kong, & Bottom, 2016; Wang, Northcraft, & Van Kleef, 2012) but may also be a useful tool in improving a negotiator’s own economic outcomes (e.g., Sinaceur & Tiedens, 2006; Van Kleef, De Dreu, & Manstead, 2004a), leading some readers of the literature and practitioners to conclude that expressing fake anger (i.e., anger that is expressed but not felt) may be a helpful strategy when the relationship between parties is deemed unimportant. Little is known, however, about how fake anger expression may affect the expresser psychologically. We argue that expressing fake anger can lead to feelings of guilt, which then negatively impact the expresser’s psychological experience of the negotiation. Across three studies, we demonstrate that fake anger hurts the expressers psychologically by lowering their overall subjective value in negotiation and that guilt partially mediates this effect. An agenda for future research on anger in negotiation is discussed.

David Hunsaker
NYU Shanghai

Teng Zhang
Penn State Harrisburg
United States

McKenzie Rees
Southern Methodist University
United States


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