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Revenge really is sweet: study shows the mood-enhancing effect of retaliation

05 January 2017

New research suggests that social rejection triggers a need to repair our mood by whatever means available, including through the satisfaction of causing harm to those who have made us suffer.

Published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, research by David Chester and C. Nathan DeWall investigated the ways in which revenge and aggression can boost our mood.

Through a series of games, the researchers investigated how keen participants were to exact revenge following the experience of rejection and whether the belief that revenge acts would not improve their mood altered this.

Suggesting that we consider better alternatives to improving our mood, Chester and DeWall speculated that "to obtain the positive effect associated with retaliatory aggression, individuals may actively seek out provocation in their daily lives".

Read more on our Research Digest blog.

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