Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Teo


Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5583-7_283


Shame is a negative affective or emotional state which is identiable in terms of hiding one’s self or identity from others. The feeling is often accompanied by a strong desire to avoid the gaze and presence of other people. There is usually a distinct sense that one’s whole being – rather than just a specific action – is wrong andan experienced certainty that one’s status as person is fundamentally diminished in a way that cannot be easily repaired or restored. Shame is typically viewed as the extreme of a continuum of emotional intensity, with shyness and embarrassment at one end and feelings of self-disgust at the other. It is also contrasted with guilt where the principal difference is that guilt, although unpleasant, can be reduced through acts of apology or reparation (see entry on Guilt and discussion below about whether shame also has a prosocial function). Shame also appears to be opposite of positive pride in terms of valence and behavior (see the entry on...

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social, Psychological and Communication SciencesLeeds Metropolitan UniversityLeedsUK