The Huffington Post:
It’s hard to outdo Medea for raw hatred. Thrown over by her husband Jason for another woman, the mythic sorceress takes revenge by poisoning her rival and, just for good measure, her rival’s father. Then, just to make sure that Jason comprehends the enormity of her wrath, she murders their two sons in cold blood.
Now that’s hate — and probably a lot of other emotions as well, including jealousy and humiliation and anger and disgust. Scientists and poets have long been fascinated by intense, negative emotions such as Medea’s, but surprisingly there is no overarching theory of hatred. Who hates whom, and why? What do we mean when we say, I hate? And what do we do about it?
Two psychological scientists have decided that the best way to approach hatred is to ask average people. What are our ordinary, commonsense definitions of this extreme emotion? To plumb our “naïve psychologies” of hate, Katherine Aumer-Ryan of the University of Texas and Elaine Hatfield of the University of Hawaii at Manoa put together an elaborate survey comprising these basic unanswered questions. Here is a summary of their most notable findings, followed by some intriguing tidbits, as described by Aumer-Ryan at the convention of the Association for Psychological Science, in San Francisco this week:
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