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The role of shame in motivating support for, and opposition to, intergroup reconciliation: two forms of shame as separate predictors of positive and negative responses to ingroup wrongdoing

By Jesse A Allpress


This thesis deals with how group members respond to wrongdoing committed in their\ud group's name. In particular, I investigate whether individuals feel ashamed or guilty for\ud these acts, and in turn, what motivational effects these emotions have. A review of the\ud literature on shame and guilt turns up serious inconsistencies regarding both the charac-\ud terisation of these emotions and the empirical evidence relating to them. In particular,\ud shame is found to be related to both prosocial and antisocial outcomes, and guilt is some-\ud times associated with prosocial acts and sometimes not. My empirical work tests an\ud explanation for these inconsistencies. Notably, I test a novel way of seeing shame, and\ud propose that not only are there different forms of shame but that these different forms have\ud divergent motivational effects. I focus on two important forms of shame: moral shame\ud and image shame, which arise when one sees the ingroup's actions as threatening one's\ud morality or reputation, respectively. I show that moral shame is consistently related to\ud increased prosocial attitudes (support for apology and compensation) and decreased an-\ud ger, avoidance and cover-up; whereas image shame is predictive of higher levels of anger,\ud avoidance and cover-up. The effects of guilt are weak or non-existent in the presence of\ud these two forms of shame. I also show that these emotions have a meaningful influence on\ud how group members relate to unrelated minorities in society, borne in part of a feeling of\ud moral obligation for past wrongdoing. A study is also reported that shows that, depend-\ud ing on their individual motivations, different group members prefer different emotional\ud expressions within apologies offered by their leaders

Topics: BF0636
Year: 2012
OAI identifier:

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