Why is irritation such a common, even constitutive, feature of our lives? What role does it play in relation to cooperation and morality? To what extent does it vary across space and time?
Why study irritation?

Irritation is a pervasive feature of the human experience, something that plays a major role in relationships of many kinds. We may find ourselves irritated by strangers, but perhaps ever more so, by those with whom we are close, including our spouses, colleagues, siblings and friends.

By one definition, irritation is ‘mild anger’ and it might thus be seen as a minor or secondary emotion by comparison with love, fear, hate, disgust, etc. And yet, the everydayness of irritation can make it a powerful thing. It might be felt that irritation is a threat to our close relationships. But its pervasiveness also suggests something else: that in some sense we may need irritation.

Aim of the project

IRRITATION Research Group investigates irritation as a feature of human sociality in diverse cultural contexts in a critical dialogue with mainstream psychological and evolutionary theories of human sociality. We work toward a deeper understanding of intimate human experience and emotional life.   

Case study areas

The case study areas in which researchers will collect data are Finland, Brazil, China, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka.