Guilty Feelings, Targeted Actions

Published on Feb 14, 2012in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
· DOI :10.1177/0146167211435796
Cynthia Cryder14
Estimated H-index: 14
(WashU: Washington University in St. Louis),
Stephen Springer1
Estimated H-index: 1
,
Carey K. Morewedge27
Estimated H-index: 27
Sources
Abstract
Early investigations of guilt cast it as an emotion that prompts broad reparative behaviors that help guilty individuals feel better about themselves or about their transgressions. The current investigation found support for a more recent representation of guilt as an emotion designed to identify and correct specific social offenses. Across five experiments, guilt influenced behavior in a targeted and strategic way. Guilt prompted participants to share resources more generously with others, but only did so when those others were persons whom the participant had wronged and only when those wronged individuals could notice the gesture. Rather than trigger broad reparative behaviors that remediate one’s general reputation or self-perception, guilt triggers targeted behaviors intended to remediate specific social transgressions.
📖 Papers frequently viewed together
1,169 Citations
99 Citations
810 Citations
References34
Newest
#1Ilona E. de Hooge (EUR: Erasmus University Rotterdam)H-Index: 16
#2Rob M. A. Nelissen (Tilburg University)H-Index: 17
Last. Marcel Zeelenberg (Tilburg University)H-Index: 74
view all 4 authors...
For centuries economists and psychologists have argued that the morality of moral emotions lies in the fact that they stimulate prosocial behavior and benefit others in a person’s social environment. Many studies have shown that guilt, arguably the most exemplary moral emotion, indeed motivates prosocial behavior in dyadic social dilemma situations. When multiple persons are involved, however, the moral and prosocial nature of this emotion can be questioned. The present article shows how guilt c...
99 CitationsSource
#1Marcel Zeelenberg (Tilburg University)H-Index: 74
#2Seger M. Breugelmans (Tilburg University)H-Index: 22
Regret and guilt are emotions that are produced by negative outcomes for which one is responsible. Both emotions have received ample attention in the psychological literature; however, it is still unclear to what extent regret and guilt represent distinct psychological processes. We examined the extent to which the distinction between interpersonal harm (negative outcomes for others) and intrapersonal harm (negative outcomes for self) is crucial in differentiating these two emotions. In a series...
139 CitationsSource
#1Michael Lewis (UMDNJ: University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey)H-Index: 125
559 Citations
#1Yael Zemack-Rugar (Pamplin College of Business)H-Index: 6
#2James R. Bettman (Duke University)H-Index: 71
Last. Gavan J. Fitzsimons (Duke University)H-Index: 43
view all 3 authors...
Current empirical evidence regarding nonconsciously priming emotion concepts is limited to positivelyversus negatively valenced affect. This article demonstrates that specific, equally valenced emotion concepts can be nonconsciously activated, remain inaccessible to conscious awareness, and still affect behavior in an emotion-specific fashion. In Experiment 1A, participants subliminally primed with guilty emotion adjectives showed lower indulgence than did participants subliminally primed with s...
250 CitationsSource
#1Ilona E. de Hooge (Tilburg University)H-Index: 16
#2Marcel Zeelenberg (Tilburg University)H-Index: 74
Last. Seger M. Breugelmans (Tilburg University)H-Index: 22
view all 3 authors...
For centuries economists and psychologists (Frank, 1988; Ketelaar, 2004; Smith, 1759) have argued that moral emotions motivate cooperation. Ketelaar and Au (2003) recently found first evidence that guilt increases cooperation for proselfs in social bargaining games. We investigated whether this effect would also occur for shame, another moral emotion. Using a dyadic social dilemma game in Experiment 1 and an everyday cooperation measure in Experiment 2 as measures for short-term cooperation, we ...
358 CitationsSource
#1David M. AmodioH-Index: 43
#2Patricia G. Devine (UW: University of Wisconsin-Madison)H-Index: 57
Last. Eddie Harmon-Jones (A&M: Texas A&M University)H-Index: 86
view all 3 authors...
Guiltiswidelyrecognizedasanimportantself- regulatory emotion, yet alternative theoretical accounts view guilt primarily as either a punishment cue or a pro- social motivator. Integrating these views, we propose that guilt functions dynamically to first provide a negative reinforcement cue associated with reduced approach motivation, which transforms into approach-motivated behavior when an opportunity for reparation presents it- self. We tested this hypothesis in the context of racial prejudice....
344 CitationsSource
#1Jessica L. Tracy (UBC: University of British Columbia)H-Index: 55
#2Richard W. Robins (UC Davis: University of California, Davis)H-Index: 86
90 Citations
#1Marcel Zeelenberg (Tilburg University)H-Index: 74
#2Rik Pieters (Tilburg University)H-Index: 73
We propose a theory of regret regulation that distinguishes regret from related emotions, specifies the conditions under which regret is felt, the aspects of the decision that are regretted, and the behavioral implications. The theory incorporates hitherto scattered findings and ideas from psychology, economics, marketing, and related disciplines. By identifying strategies that consumers may employ to regulate anticipated and experienced regret, the theory identifies gaps in our current knowledg...
955 CitationsSource
#1Jessica L. Tracy (UBC: University of British Columbia)H-Index: 55
#2Richard W. Robins (UC Davis: University of California, Davis)H-Index: 86
Four studies used experimental and correlational methods to test predictions about the antecedents of shame and guilt derived from an appraisal-based model of self-conscious emotions (Tracy & Robins, 2004). Results were consistent with the predicted relations between appraisals (i.e., causal attributions) and emotions. Specifically, (a) internal attributions were positively related to both shame and guilt; (b) the chronic tendency to make external attributions was positively related to the tende...
526 CitationsSource
#1Sally S. Dickerson (UCLA: University of California, Los Angeles)H-Index: 21
#2Margaret E. KemenyH-Index: 62
Last. John L. FaheyH-Index: 93
view all 5 authors...
ObjectiveTo determine if inducing self-blame would lead to increases in shame and guilt as well as increases in proinflammatory cytokine activity and cortisol. Based on previous research and theory, it was hypothesized that induced shame would be specifically associated with elevations in proinflamm
286 CitationsSource
Cited By33
Newest
#1van Esch (AUT: Auckland University of Technology)
#2Patrick (AUT: Auckland University of Technology)
view all 0 authors...
Source
#1Marina Motsenok (BGU: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)
#2Tehila Kogut (BGU: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)H-Index: 12
Last. Ilana Ritov (HUJI: Hebrew University of Jerusalem)H-Index: 35
view all 3 authors...
Our research examines the association between perceived physical vulnerability and prosocial behavior. Studies 1 to 4 establish a positive association between individuals' vulnerability and their prosociality. To increase generality, these studies looked at different behaviors (volunteering vs. monetary donations), various physical harms (e.g., war vs. illness), and different samples (students vs. MTurk workers). Study 4 also provides initial evidence of a partial mediating effect of closeness o...
Source
#1Ying Wang (PKU: Peking University)
#2Shufeng Xiao (PKU: Peking University)
Last. Run Ren (PKU: Peking University)
view all 3 authors...
In this study, we draw on moral cleansing theory to investigate the consequence of unethical pro-organizational behavior (UPB) from the perspective of the actors. Specifically, we hypothesize that after conducting UPB, people may feel guilty and tend to cleanse their wrongdoings by providing suggestions or identifying problems at work (i.e., prohibitive and promotive voice). We further hypothesize that the above relationship is moderated by the actor's moral identity symbolization. We conducted ...
Source
#1Eglantine Julle-Danière (University of Portsmouth)H-Index: 5
#2Jamie Whitehouse (NTU: Nottingham Trent University)H-Index: 9
Last. Bridget M. Waller (NTU: Nottingham Trent University)H-Index: 29
view all 5 authors...
Humans are uniquely cooperative and form crucial short- and long-term social bonds between individuals that ultimately shape human societies. The need for such intense cooperation may have provided a particularly powerful selection pressure on the emotional and communicative behaviours regulating cooperative processes, such as guilt. Guilt is a social, other-oriented moral emotion that promotes relationship repair and pro-sociality. For example, people can be more lenient towards wrongdoers who ...
Source
#1Erika L. Kirgios (UPenn: University of Pennsylvania)H-Index: 1
#2Edward H. Chang (UPenn: University of Pennsylvania)H-Index: 3
Last. Judd B. Kessler (UPenn: University of Pennsylvania)H-Index: 16
view all 5 authors...
Policy makers, employers, and insurers often provide financial incentives to encourage citizens, employees, and customers to take actions that are good for them or for society (e.g., energy conservation, healthy living, safe driving). Although financial incentives are often effective at inducing good behavior, they’ve been shown to have self-image costs: Those who receive incentives view their actions less positively due to the perceived incompatibility between financial incentives and intrinsic...
1 CitationsSource
#1Meghan Rose Donohue (WashU: Washington University in St. Louis)H-Index: 7
#2Rebecca Tillman (WashU: Washington University in St. Louis)H-Index: 28
Last. Joan L. Luby (WashU: Washington University in St. Louis)H-Index: 2
view all 3 authors...
: Children who have difficulty using reparative behaviors following transgressions display a wide range of poorer social and emotional outcomes. Despite the importance of reparative skills, no study has charted the developmental trajectory of these behaviors or pinpointed predictors of poorer reparative abilities. To address these gaps in the literature, this study applied growth mixture modeling to parent reports of children's reparative behaviors (N = 230) in a 9-year longitudinal data set spa...
1 CitationsSource
#1Eglantine Julle-Danière (University of Portsmouth)H-Index: 5
#2Jamie Whitehouse (University of Portsmouth)H-Index: 9
Last. Bridget M. Waller (University of Portsmouth)H-Index: 29
view all 7 authors...
Guilt is a complex emotion with a potentially important social function of stimulating cooperative behaviours towards and from others, but whether the feeling of guilt is associated with a recognisable pattern of nonverbal behaviour is unknown. We examined the production and perception of guilt in two different studies, with a total of 238 participants with various places of origin. Guilt was induced experimentally, eliciting patterns of movement that were associated with both the participants’ ...
2 CitationsSource
#1Meghan Rose Donohue (WashU: Washington University in St. Louis)H-Index: 7
#2Rebecca Tillman (WashU: Washington University in St. Louis)H-Index: 28
Last. M Deanna (WashU: Washington University in St. Louis)H-Index: 106
view all 6 authors...
Abstract Background Maladaptive guilt can develop by age three and is associated with severe affective psychopathology in adolescents and adults. Yet, little is known about its prevalence prior to adolescence, or which children are at greatest risk of developing this symptom. This study examined the prevalence and correlates of maladaptive guilt in middle childhood. Methods This study examined a large community sample of 9-to 10-year-old children (N = 4485) from the Adolescent Brain and Cognitiv...
3 CitationsSource
#1Lianne Aarntzen (UU: Utrecht University)H-Index: 1
#2Belle Derks (UU: Utrecht University)H-Index: 21
Last. Tanja van der Lippe (UU: Utrecht University)H-Index: 34
view all 5 authors...
Abstract Working mothers often experience guilt when balancing work and family responsibilities. We examined consequences of work-family guilt with an interview study (N = 28) and daily diary study (N = 123). The interview study revealed that as a result of work-family guilt, parents tended to either reappraise the situation (e.g., emphasizing financial importance of work) or compensate for their guilt by adapting their parenting, adapting their work, and by sacrificing their leisure. Consistent...
3 CitationsSource
Guilt appeals in the field of persuasion are quite common. However, the effectiveness of these messages is sometimes ambivalent. It is widely acknowledged that guilt leads people to engage into prosocial behaviors, but the effects of guilt can also be counter-productive (e.g., reactance-like effects). We argue that the explanations for these contradictions remain unsatisfactory and suggest that taking into account the implications of underlying cognitive—especially attentional—mechanisms would p...
2 CitationsSource