The Approach and Avoidance Function of Guilt and Shame Emotions: Comparing Reactions to Self-Caused and Other-Caused Wrongdoing
Purchase on Springer.com
$39.95 / €34.95 / £29.95*
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.
Although theory suggests that guilt motivates approach tendencies and shame motivates avoidance tendencies, research has not always supported these relationships. The present study examined the degree to which shame and guilt are uniquely predictive of avoidance and approach motives, respectively, for both self-caused and other-caused wrongdoings. Results revealed that shame and guilt are more highly correlated for self-caused compared to other-caused wrongdoings. This greater blending of shame and guilt in response to self-caused acts makes it somewhat more difficult to distinguish between different unique motivational correlates of these two emotions. However, in response to other-caused wrongdoings, shame uniquely predicted avoidance tendencies (distancing from the event), whereas guilt uniquely predicted approach tendencies (repairing the event). The implications for research on motivation, emotion, and social relations are discussed.
- Baumeister, R. F., Stillwell, A. M., & Heatherton, T. F. (1994). Guilt: An interpersonal approach. Psychological Bulletin, 115, 243–267. CrossRef
- Cohen, J., & Cohen, P. (1983). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
- Eisenberg, N. (2000). Emotion, regulation, and moral development. Annual Review of Psychology, 51, 665–697. CrossRef
- Forster, J., Grant, H., & Idson, L. C. (2001). Success/failure feedback, expectancies, and approach/avoidance motivation: How regulatory focus moderates classic relations. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 37, 253–260. CrossRef
- Frijda, N. H., Kuipers, P., & ter Schure, E. (1989). Relations among emotion, appraisal, and emotion action readiness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 212–228. CrossRef
- Gray, J. A. (1982). The neuropsychology of anxiety. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Harmon-Jones, E. (2004). Contributions from research on anger and cognitive dissonance to understanding the motivational functions of asymmetrical frontal brain activity. Biological Psychology, 67, 51–76. CrossRef
- Harris, N. (2003). Reassessing the dimensionality of the moral emotions. British Journal of Psychology, 94, 457–473. CrossRef
- Hatfield, E., Cacioppo, J. T., & Rapson, R. L. (1994). Emotional contagion. New York: Cambridge University Press.
- Higgins, E. T. (1997). Beyond pleasure and pain. American Psychologist, 52, 1280–1300. CrossRef
- Iyer, A., Leach, C. W., & Crosby, F. J. (2003). White guilt and racial compensation: The benefits and limits of self-focus. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 117–129. CrossRef
- Iyer, A., Schmader, T., & Lickel, B. (2006). Predicting opposition to the occupation of Iraq: The role of group-based anger, shame, and guilt. Manuscript in preparation.
- Johns, M., Schmader, T., & Lickel, B. (2005). Ashamed to be an American? The role of identification in predicting shame for Anti-Arab prejudice after 9–11. Self and Identity, 4, 331–348.
- Lickel, B., Schmader, T., Curtis, M., Scarnier, M., & Ames, D. R. (2005). Vicarious shame and guilt. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 8, 145–157. CrossRef
- Lutwak, N., Panish, J., & Farrari, J. (2003). Shame and guilt: Characterological vs. behavioral self-blame and their relationship to fear of intimacy. Personality and Individual Differences, 35, 909–916. CrossRef
- Roseman, I. J., Wiest, C., & Schwartz, T. S. (1994). Phenomenology, behaviors, and goals differentiate discrete emotions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 206–221. CrossRef
- Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55, 68–78. CrossRef
- Scherer, K. R., & Wallbott, H. G. (1994). Evidence for universality and cultural variation of differential emotion response patterning. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66, 310–328.
- Schmader, T., & Lickel, B. (2006). Stigma and shame: Emotional responses to the stereotypic actions of one’s ethnic ingroup. In S. Levin & C. van Laar (Eds.), Stigma and group inequality: Social psychological approaches. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
- Smith, C. A., & Ellsworth, P. C. (1985). Patterns of cognitive appraisal in emotion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 48, 813–838. CrossRef
- Tangney, J. P., & Fischer, K. W. (1995). Self-conscious emotions. New York: Guilford.
- Tangney, J. P., Miller, R. S., Flicker, L., & Barlow, D. B. (1996). Are shame, guilt, and embarrassment distinct emotions? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 1256–1269. CrossRef
- Wicker, F. W., Payne, G. C., & Morgan, R. D. (1983). Participant descriptions of guilt and shame. Motivation and Emotion, 7, 25–39. CrossRef
- The Approach and Avoidance Function of Guilt and Shame Emotions: Comparing Reactions to Self-Caused and Other-Caused Wrongdoing
Motivation and Emotion
Volume 30, Issue 1 , pp 42-55
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer US
- Additional Links
- group-based emotion
- approach–avoidance motivation