‘The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.’ –George Bernard Shaw


Faking emotions is often necessary for both communicating partners. Van Kleef argued that emotional regulation is affected by social norms in society. People regulate their positive or negative emotions instinctively by decreasing or escalating them, as well by managing them or using controlled processes. Therefore, faking is a possible alternative. It is thought that people fake their emotions to mask their genuine feelings, to avoid a painful truth, or in response to social influence such as peer pressure or ex- pectations and to follow social norms. Such influences may cause individuals to fake their emotions simply to make life more comfortable by pleasing others or avoiding social disapproval. […]

Emotions expressed in an interaction may transmit important information to the observer which may be essential for the relationship. Relationships can be classified in terms of their expected benefits. Clark and Mills distinguished between two types of relationships. In the communal type of relationship (between close friends or family members), the interacting partners experience concern for their partner’s wellbeing. Emotional authenticity is important and crucial for the fulfillment of the emotional needs of both parties in the inter- action; it reflects the meaning and the depth of the relationship. On the other hand, exchange relations are those that take place between associates who are together for the purpose of doing business or working (e.g., colleagues). In these cases the other’s emotional well-being may be irrelevant or even a burden. Thus, in exchange relationships people may prefer others to fake emotions rather than display authentic ones.

Our study investigates anger because anger is the most common negative emotion.

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art { Francis Bacon, Study for Self Portrait, 1982-84 }