Roadway justice – Making angry drivers, happy drivers

The enforcement of traffic laws by police punishes law violators and reduces the likelihood that other drivers will violate laws via vicariously perceived punishment. The purpose of the current study was to determine the effect of punishment of violators on the feelings of anger and happiness in witnesses and victims. A sample of 279 individuals was exposed to four animated simulations of unjust driving behavior. Participants indicated how angry and happy the behaviors made them feel. Participants then indicated feelings of happiness and anger a second time, after being informed that the violator had been punished. While inconsistent, analyses generally indicated that perceived punishment reduced feelings of anger and increased feelings of happiness. In addition to increasing roadway safety, the current study shows the importance of active police enforcement, which could positively impact the emotional states of victims and witnesses of unjust driving behavior.


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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01531095
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 24 2014 3:18PM