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Emotional reactions of anger and shame to the norm violation characterizing episodes of interpersonal harm


Correspondence should be addressed to Michael Harris Bond, Department of Psychology, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong (e-mail:


Norms are the socially shared restraints by which human behaviour is regulated. When applied to events involving interpersonal harm, the perceived level of norm violation by a perpetrator will lead to a target's emotional reactions of both anger and shame, with such processes mediated by the target's judgments of his or her loss of face arising from the episode, the perpetrator's intent to harm, and the blame ascribed to the perpetrator. Structural equation modelling (SEM) confirmed this set of linkages with targets of harm from both Hong Kong and the United States reporting on a harmful exchange in their own life, suggesting the generalizability of this model in disparate cultural contexts.