Emotional Sources of Intergroup Atrocities

Michael J. A. Wohl, Nassim Tabri, Eran Halperin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this chapter, the authors put forth the proposition that group-based emotions reside at the core of extreme intergroup violence. That is, genocide is not cold; it is cruelly heartfelt. Perpetrator groups act because of specific (perceived or real) threat-induced, group-based emotions, which motivate specific destructive action tendencies. The authors focus on a genocidal triad of group-based emotions that stem from threat appraisals: (1) collective hate, which stems from the belief that an out-group is evil by nature; (2) collective angst, which stems from existential concern for the in-group’s future vitality; and (3) collective nostalgia, which stems from a sense that pressures are forcing unwanted change to the in-group. The authors contend that this triad of emotions propels group members toward engagement in cruel and unusual behavior. Research is reviewed to substantiate this proposition.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConfronting Humanity at its Worst
Subtitle of host publicationSocial Psychological Perspectives on Genocide
EditorsLeonard S. Newman
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780190685942
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019


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