Anger and shame as determinants of perceived competence

Shlomo Hareli, Nathan Berkovitch, Liat Livnat, Shlomo David

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Emotions are complex signals conveying a multitude of "messages" concomitantly. This idea is examined within the context of competence inferences drawn from the emotional expressions of another individual. In two studies, participants assuming the role of patients took part in a simulated medical consultation. They encountered a physician who had either a high or a standard professional status, and who responded with anger, shame, or emotional neutrality when asked to clarify the advice he dispensed. While a display of anger did not affect perceived competence, shame made the physician appear less competent. Three types of signals conveyed by the emotions were responsible for these effects: the physician's decisiveness and control over the situation, and the extent to which he felt professionally devalued by the patient's request, mediated the effects of the emotions on perceived competence. A priori information about the physician's professional status had little effect on the perception of competence. The research exemplifies the richness of information contained in emotions, and the complex way in which it allows observers to construe an impression of the expresser.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1080-1089
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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