On the dark and bright sides to vengeance: Cognitive, behavioral and affective consequences of aggression

Concluding remarks

Coming back to the original question whether taking revenge has beneficial or harmful consequences for the avenger: In order to account for such a complex psychological phenomenon like vengeance, we suggested a multilevel analysis, which showed that vengeance might have negative and positive consequences. However, this was only the starting point of such analysis. More relevant questions arise, especially related to the interaction of the suggested levels. To give an example, one might think that the reduction in aggressive behavior after goal-fulfillment is only short-term, but might increase in the long-run. However, if people do not feel better after taking revenge, why would they show this behavior in future? More research is needed to foster our understanding of vengeance and its underlying psychological processes. Such a research endeavor needs to take the dark sides of vengeance into account as well as its bright sides, which have almost totally been neglected thus far.

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