Date of Graduation

8-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Psychological Science

Advisor

Denise Beike

Committee Member

Jennifer Veilleux

Second Committee Member

Scott Eidelman

Keywords

Emotions, Evil, Hate

Abstract

Research has demonstrated that hate is a protective emotional response to perceived evil, yet the dimensions by which people perceive evil have not been clearly identified. Research has also indicated that it is evil to feel hate, which presents an interesting paradox: if hate protects us from evil, then how can it be evil to feel hate? The present research attempts to identify the dimensions of evil and elucidate the relationship between hate and evil by comparing it to the relationship between dislike and evil. Study 1 tested how participants identified evil in third person scenarios. As predicted, evil was labeled most often in scenarios that depicted intentional acts on the part of the target, though contrary to predictions evil was not labeled as often in scenarios that depicted responsible acts on the part of the target. Study 2 relied on participants’ own experiences of dislike and hate, or the experiences of someone, they knew toward either a group or individual. As predicted, hate and dislike differed in intensity and kind, though less so in kind than anticipated. Also as predicted, differentiations emerged within hate that suggested that hate toward groups, specifically when experienced by others, is considered more evil and less justified than hate experienced by the self. The consistency of these results with extant theories of hate and evil are discussed as well as potential explanations for the differential relationship of hate and evil.

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