Self-Conscious Emotions and Social Functioning

  • Ilona E. de Hooge
  • Marcel Zeelenberg
  • Seger M. Breugelmans


Have you ever felt guilty about hurting a loved one, or been proud after achieving something that you always dreamed of? These emotions, but also embarrassment, shame, and hubris, are called self-conscious emotions. They are a special kind of emotions that cannot be described solely by examining facial movements (Darwin, 1872/1965) and that do not have clear, distinct elicitors (Lewis, 2000). Self-conscious emotions are cognitively complex and play a central role in the motivation and regulation of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors (Baumeister, Stillwell, & Heatherton, 1994; Leith & Baumeister, 1998; Tangney & Fischer, 1995). Until now, most research concerning the relationship between self-conscious emotions and social behavior has focused on their anticipation affects of what people do (e.g., Gruenewald, Dickerson, & Kemeny, 2007; Keltner & Buswell, 1997; Tracy & Robins, 2004). The anticipation of negative self-conscious emotions such as shame or guilt can motivate avoidance of immoral or asocial behavior (I will not do that, otherwise I will feel ashamed), and the anticipation of positive self-conscious emotions such as pride can stimulate compliance with social and moral norms (If I do that, I will be proud of myself).


Prosocial Behavior Basic Emotion Action Tendency Social Dilemma Moral Emotion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer New York 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ilona E. de Hooge
    • 1
  • Marcel Zeelenberg
  • Seger M. Breugelmans
  1. 1.Rotterdam School of ManagementErasmus UniversityRotterdamNetherlands

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