Emotion plays important and diverse roles across various social relations. Although the social functions of emotion have attracted increased attention, the effects of positive emotions such as pride on impression formation remain poorly understood. Drawing on social projection theory, this study examined how incidental experiences of pride influenced the impressions of those who made a blunder, along with two other characteristics: the person’s warmth and competence. Participants were designated randomly to receive inductions of pride, awe, or a neutral emotion. Subsequently, they were asked to indicate their own impression of a person who had made a blunder and to rate their overall sense of that individual’s warmth and competence. A laboratory experiment recruiting university students (Study 1, N = 79) demonstrated that pride, a positive emotion elicited by a self-relevant achievement, led to higher competency evaluations of others. However, a pre-registered online experiment in middle-aged adults (Study 2, N = 108) failed to replicate the effects of pride on competency evaluations of others. Furthermore, another pre-registered online experiment in younger adults (Study 3, N = 290) did not show successful manipulation of incidental emotions. These results suggest that strictly controlled experimental settings that induce robust incidental emotions might be better for demonstrating a strong pride effect on the evaluation of others.
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