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The science and psychology of outrage

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A group of protesters pressed against a gate.
People hold signs during a rally and march at Grant Park on Oct. 13, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois.
Kamil Krzaczynski | Getty Images

Americans are angry. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released in August found 70 percent say they’re angry at the political establishment. And the rage is not contained to Washington, D.C. From our social media feeds and television screens to rush-hour traffic and Thanksgiving dinner, outrage is everywhere. But why? What good is all this anger? What does it do to our bodies — and our culture?

On Wednesday’s MPR News with Kerri Miller, we looked at the science and psychology of outrage. What role does a primal emotion have in a modern age?


  • Jillian Jordan is a post-doctorate fellow studying psychology and morality at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.

  • Joshua Grubbs is a professor of psychology at Bowling Green State University.