Advertisement

Distinguishing Shame, Humiliation and Guilt: An Evolutionary Functional Analysis and Compassion Focused Interventions

Chapter

Abstract

The self-conscious emotions of shame, humiliation and guilt are clearly related to our human capacity for self-awareness and sense of self as an ‘object in the minds of others’. However, this chapter will highlight that the emotional and motivational processes that sit behind them are phylogenetically old and rooted in social competition for shame and humiliation, and care-giving for guilt. Insight into their phylogenetic origins and differences helps us to gain insight into the physiological processes that texture them and why they can have such profound effects not only on individual human behaviour but also whole societies and cultures. This chapter will explore the differences between these self-conscious emotions, how they are rooted in different motivational systems and how we can utilise care and compassion based motivational systems for the remediation and change.

Keywords

Compassion Guilt Humiliation Reputation Shame 

References

  1. Abbott, D. H., Keverne, E. B., Bercovitch, F. B., Shively, C. A., Mendoza, S. P., Saltzman, W., et al. (2003). Are subordinates always stressed? A comparative analysis of rank differences in cortisol levels among primates. Hormones and Behavior, 43(1), 67–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andrews, B. (1995). Bodily shame as a mediator between abusive experiences and depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 104, 277–285.Google Scholar
  3. Andrews, B. (2002). Body shame and abuse in childhood. In P. Gilbert & J. N. V. Miles (Eds), Body shame: Conceptualisation, research & treatment (pp. 256–266). London. Brunner-Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Andrews, B., Qian, M., & Valentine, J. D. (2002). Predicting depressive symptoms with a new measure of shame: The experience of shame scale. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 41(1), 29–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Archer, J. (1988). The behavioural biology of aggression. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Barkow, J. H. (1980). Prestige and self-esteem: A bioscocial interpretation. In D. R. Omark., F. F. Strayer, & D. G. Freedman (Eds.), Dominance relations: An ethological view of conflict and social interaction (pp. 319–332). New York: Garland Press.Google Scholar
  7. Barkow, J. H. (1989). Darwin, sex and status: biological approaches to mind and culture. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Baumeister, R. F., Stillwell, A. M., & Heatherton, T. F. (1994). Guilt: An interpersonal approach. Psychological Bulletin, 115(2), 243–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Baumeister, R. F., & Twenge, J. M. (2002). Cultural suppression of female sexuality. Review of General Psychology, 6, 166–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Buss, D. M., & Dreden, L. A. (1990). Derogation of competitors. Journal of Social and Person Relationships, 7, 395–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Caryl, P. G. (1988). Escalated fighting and the war of nerves: Games theory and animal combat. In P. H. Bateson, & P. H. Klopfer, (Eds.). Perspectives in ethology. advantages of diversity (Vol. 4, pp. 199–224). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  12. Cooley, C. H. (1902). Human nature and the social order. New York: Scribner’s.Google Scholar
  13. Crook, J. H. (1980). The evolution of human consciousness. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Darwin, C. (1872/2009). On the expression of the emotions in man and animals. Penguin Classics.Google Scholar
  15. De Hooge, I. E., Zeelenberg, M., & Breugelmans, S. M. (2007). Moral sentiments and cooperation: Differential influences of shame and guilt. Cognition and Emotion, 21(5), 1025–1042.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dickerson, S. S., & Kemeny, M. E. (2004). Acute stressors and cortisol responses: A theoretical integration and synthesis of laboratory research. Psychological Bulletin, 130(3), 355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Etcoff, N. (1999). Survival of the prettiest: The science of beauty. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  18. Elison, J., & Harter, S. (2007). Humiliation: Causes, correlates, and consequences. In J. L. Tracy, R. W. Robins, & J. P. Tangney (Eds.), The self-conscious emotions: Theory and research (pp. 310–329). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  19. Farke, A. A. (2008). Frontal sinuses and head-butting in goats: A finite element analysis. Journal of Experimental Biology, 211(19), 3085–3094.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gilbert, P. (1989/2016). Human nature and suffering. London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  21. Gilbert, P. (1992). Depression: The evolution of powerlessness. London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  22. Gilbert, P. (1997). The evolution of social attractiveness and its role in shame, humiliation, guilt and therapy. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 70, 113–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gilbert, P. (1998a). Evolutionary psychopathology: Why isn’t the mind better designed than it is? British Journal of Medical Psychology, 71, 353–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gilbert, P. (1998b). What is shame? Some core issues and controversies. In P. Gilbert & B. Andrews (Eds.), Shame: Interpersonal behavior, psychopathology and culture (pp. 3–36). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Gilbert, P. (1998c). Shame & humiliation in complex cases: In N. Tarrier., G. Haddock, & A. Wells (Eds.), Treating complex cases: The cognitive behavioural approach (pp. 241–271). Wiley.Google Scholar
  26. Gilbert, P. (2000a). Varieties of submissive behaviour: Their evolution and role in depression. In L. Sloman & P. Gilbert (Eds.) Subordination and defeat. An evolutionary approach to mood disorders (3–46). Hillsadale: N.J. Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  27. Gilbert, P. (2000b). The relationship of shame, social anxiety and depression: The role of the evaluation of social rank. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 7, 174–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gilbert, P. (2000c). Social mentalities: Internal ‘social’ conflicts and the role of inner warmth and compassion in cognitive therapy. In P. Gilbert & K. G. Bailey (Eds.), Genes on the couch: Explorations in evolutionary psychotherapy (pp. 118–150). Hove: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  29. Gilbert, P. (2002). Body shame: A biopsychosocial conceptualisation and overview, with treatment implications. In P. Gilbert & J. Miles (Eds.), Body shame: Conceptualisation, research & treatment (pp. 3–54). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  30. Gilbert, P. (2007). The evolution of shame as a marker for relationship security. In J. L. Tracy, R. W. Robins, & J. P Tangney (Eds.), The self-conscious emotions: Theory and research (pp. 283–309). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  31. Gilbert, P. (2009). The compassionate mind: A new approach to the challenge of life. London: Constable & Robinson.Google Scholar
  32. Gilbert, P. (2010). Compassion focused therapy: The CBT distinctive features series. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Gilbert, P. (2013). Depression: The challenges of an integrated biopsychosocial evolutionary approach. In M. Power (Ed.), The Wiley Blackwell handbook of mood disorders: Second edition (pp. 229–288.). Chichester, Wiley.Google Scholar
  34. Gilbert, P. (2014). Evolutionary models. Practical and conceptual utility for the treatment and study of social anxiety disorder. In J. W. Weeks (ed.). The Wiley Blackwell handbook of social anxiety disorder (p. 24–52). Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  35. Gilbert, P. (2017a). Shame and the vulnerable self in medical contexts: the compassionate solution. Medical humanities, medhum-2016.Google Scholar
  36. Gilbert, P. (2017b). Compassion as a social mentality: An evolutionary approach. In P. Gilbert (Ed.), Compassion: Concepts, research and applications (pp. 31–68). London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Gilbert, P. (2018). Living like crazy (2nd ed.). York: Annwyn House.Google Scholar
  38. Gilbert, P., Clarke, M., Kempel, S., Miles, J. N. V., & Irons, C. (2004a). Criticizing and reassuring oneself: An exploration of forms style and reasons in female students. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 43, 31–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Gilbert, P., Gilbert, J., & Sanghera, J. (2004b). A focus group exploration of the impact of izzat, shame, subordination and entrapment on mental health and service use in South Asian women living in Derby. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 7, 109–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Gilbert, P., & McGuire, M. (1998). Shame, status and social roles: The psychobiological continuum from monkeys to humans. In P. Gilbert & B. Andrews (Eds.), Shame: interpersonal behavior, psychopathology and culture (pp. 99–125). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Gilbert, P., & Miles, J. (2002). Body shame: Conceptualisations, research & treatment. London: Brunner-Routledge.Google Scholar
  42. Gilbert, P., Pehl, J., & Allan, S. (1994). The phenomenology of shame and guilt: An empirical investigation. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 67, 23–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Gilbert, P., Price, J. S., & Allan, S. (1995). Social comparison, social attractiveness and evolution: How might they be related? New Ideas in Psychology, 13, 149–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Giner-Sorolla, R. (2015). Judging passions: Moral emotions in persons and groups. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  45. Goffman, E. (1968). Stigma: Notes on the management of a spoiled identity. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  46. Hornstein, E. A., & Eisenberger, N. I. (2018). A social safety net: Developing a model of social-support figures as prepared safety stimuli. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 27, 25–31.Google Scholar
  47. Kellett, S., & Gilbert, P. (2001). Acne: A biopsychosocial and evolutionary perspective with a focus on shame. British Journal of Health Psychology, 6(1), 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Keltner, D. (1995). Signs of appeasement: Evidence for the distinct displays of embarrassment, amusement and shame. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 441–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Kirby, J. N., Doty, J., Petrocchi, N., & Gilbert. P. (2017). The current and future role of heart rate variability for assessing and training compassion. Frontiers. Public Health, 5, 40. Retrieved from  https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2017.00040.
  50. Kross, E., Berman, M. G., Mischel, W., Smith, E. E., & Wager, T. D. (2011). Social rejection shares somatosensory representations with physical pain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(15), 6270–6275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Lamarche, L., Ozimok, B., Gammage, K. L., & Muir, C. (2017). Men respond too: The effects of a social-evaluative body image threat on shame and cortisol in university Men. American Journal Of Men’s Health, 11(6), 1791–1803.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Lewis, M. (1992). Shame: The exposed self. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  53. Lindsay-Hartz, J., de Rivera, J., & Mascolo, M.F. (1995). Differentiating guilt and shame and their effects on motivations. In Tangney, J. P. & Fischer, K. W. (Eds). Self-conscious emotions. The psychology of shame, guilt, embarrassment and pride. (pp. 274–300). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  54. MacLean, P. D. (1990). The triune brian in evolution. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  55. Martens, J. P., Tracy, J. L., & Shariff, A. F. (2012). Status signals: Adaptive benefits of displaying and observing the nonverbal expressions of pride and shame. Cognition and Emotion, 26(3), 390–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Mollon, P. (1984). Shame in relation to narcissistic disturbance. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 57, 207–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Ogilive, D. M. (1987). The undesired self: A neglected variable in personality research. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 379–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Rohleder, N., Chen, E., Wolf, J. M., & Miller, G. E. (2008). The Psychobiology of trait shame in young women: Extending the social self preservation theory. Health Psychology, 27(5), 523–532. Retrieved from http://doi.org/10.1037/0278-6133.27.5.52.
  59. Scheff, T. J. (1988). Shame and conformity. The deference-emotion system. American Review of Sociology, 53, 395–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Scott, J. C. (1990). Domination and the arts of resistance. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  61. Sedikides, C., & Skowronski, J. J. (1997). The symbolic self in evolutionary context. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 1, 80–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. SzentaÂgotai-Tătar, A., & Miu, A. C. (2016). Individual differences in emotion regulation, childhood trauma and proneness to shame and guilt in adolescence. PLoS ONE, 11(11), e0167299. Retrieved from  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0167299.
  63. Sznycer, D., Tooby, J., Cosmides, L., Porat, R., Shalvi, S., & Halperin, E. (2016). Shame closely tracks the threat of devaluation by others, even across cultures. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(10), 2625–2630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Tangney, J. P., & Dearing, R. L. (2002). Shame and guilt. Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  65. Thayer, J. F., Åhs, F., Fredrikson, M., Sollers, J. J., & Wager, T. D. (2012). A meta-analysis of heart rate variability and neuroimaging studies: Implications for heart rate variability as a marker of stress and health. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 36(2), 747–756.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Tracy, J. L., Robins, R. W., & Tangney, J. P. (Eds.). (2007). The Self-conscious emotions: Theory and research. (pp. 283–309). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  67. Trumbull, D. (2008). Humiliation: The trauma of disrespect. Journal of The American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry, 36, 643–660.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Wenzel, M., Okimoto, T. G., Feather, N. T., & Platow, M. J. (2008). Retributive and restorative justice. Law and Human Behavior, 32(5), 375–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Zehr, H. (2015). The little book of restorative justice: Revised and updated. Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Compassion Research and TrainingCollege of Health and Social Care Research Centre, University of DerbyDerbyUK
  2. 2.University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

Personalised recommendations