ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2017, Vol. 49 ›› Issue (4): 482-499.

### Protest encounters setback: Effects of emotional reactions on participation intention in context of frustrate collective action

YIN Rong; ZHANG Feifei; WANG Yuanyuan; ZANG Rixia

1. (School of Teacher Education, Weifang University, Weifang 261061, China)
• Published:2017-04-25 Online:2017-04-25
• Contact: YIN Rong, E-mail: yorkns@sina.cn

Abstract:

Like any goal-oriented behavior, collective action is accompanied by successes, setbacks, and failures, all of which are likely to cause protestors’ complex psychological reactions. Although there is a vast literature on the structural and psychological factors that mobilize collective action, little is yet known about how outcomes of collective action affect emotional experience and continued engagement. The present article focused on two emotions that seem particularly relevant in the context of frustrated collective action: anger, which is supposed to increase effort in the future, and frustration, which is supposed to result in withdrawal. Moreover, we proposed that group identity and group efficiency are two central variables in determining the intensity of emotions. Both group identity and group efficiency could be positive predictors of anger and negative predictors of frustration. Four studies were conducted to examine above-mentioned hypothesis. In study1 we tested the assumption that non-attainment of a group goal would trigger group members’ intense anger or frustration. Group identity and group efficency were manipulated to investigate the effects of these two psychological variables on participants’ emotional reactions to failure of collective action in study2 and study3. Using a longitudinal survey, study4 verified research conclusions within the background of a real event. Results indicated that when facing setbacks, participants’ feeling of anger was positively related with future action intentions, and their feeling of frustration was negatively related with future action intentions. That’s to say, in the context of frustrated collective action, anger could motive people to pursue further action, while frustration could suppress their sustaining engagement. Furthermore, the intensity of anger was positively predicted by group identity and group efficiency, and the intensity of frustration was negatively predicted by these two factors. Thus, participants who identified with the ingroup or perceived their group as efficacious were more likely to experience anger about the non-attainment of a group goal and less likely to feel frustration. The present work highlights the importance of taking into account outcomes of collective action with their associated achievement emotions, proves the hypothesis that collective action would feed back into appraisals of emotions, and fits into recent calls to develop dynamic theoretical models of collective action. It also provides a useful experimental paradigm through which researchers could study the reciprocal relations between emotions and collective action. Another important theoretical implication of this research is that it empirically investigates the motivating role of pride in the context of collective action. Future research should replicate these findings in other contexts of collective action to examine that whether these findings are generalizable, and explore when and why setback of collective action could motive people come to opt for non-normative action.