Moral emotions and moral behaviour

  • Tangney J
  • Stuewig J
  • Mashek D
  • 268


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Moral emotions represent a key element of our human moral apparatus,

influencing the link between moral standards and moral behavior.

This chapter reviews current theory and research on moral

emotions. We first focus on a triad of negatively valenced �selfconscious�

emotions�shame, guilt, and embarrassment. As in previous

decades, much research remains focused on shame and guilt.We

review current thinking on the distinction between shame and guilt,

and the relative advantages and disadvantages of these two moral

emotions. Several new areas of research are highlighted: research

on the domain-specific phenomenon of body shame, styles of coping

with shame, psychobiological aspects of shame, the link between

childhood abuse and later proneness to shame, and the phenomena

of vicarious or �collective� experiences of shame and guilt. In recent

years, the concept of moral emotions has been expanded to include

several positive emotions�elevation, gratitude, and the sometimes

morally relevant experience of pride. Finally, we discuss briefly

morally relevant emotional process�other-oriented empathy.

Author-supplied keywords

  • elevation
  • gratitude
  • guilt
  • pride
  • shame

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  • JP Tangney

  • J Stuewig

  • DJ Mashek

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