The Influence of Anger, Fear, and Emotion Regulation on Ethical Decision Making

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Department or Administrative Unit


Publication Date



Ethical decision making is influenced by a variety of cognitive processes and individual differences. However, there is little empirical research on whether and how emotions and emotion regulation strategies influence ethical decisions. Emotions have the potential to influence how people think about ethical problems and make ethical decisions, implying that emotion regulation may also be important to consider. This article examines the influence of anger and fear on ethical decisions and ethical sensemaking strategies. In addition, emotion regulation strategies are examined as potential moderators of these relationships. Findings indicated that anger inhibited ethical decision making and sensemaking. Alternatively, fear facilitated ethical decisions compared to anger and no emotion conditions. Emotion regulation significantly decreased the negative effects of anger on sensemaking and ethical decisions. Implications are discussed.


Human Performance