Humiliated self, bad self or bad behavior? The relations between moral emotional appraisals and moral motivation

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Humiliated self, bad self or bad behavior? The relations between moral emotional appraisals and moral motivation

Autor / Author

Mia Silfver-Kuhalampia, Ana Figueiredob, Florencia Sortheixa & Johnny Fontainec

Abstract / Resumen

It has often been found in the literature that guilt motivates reparative behavior and that shame elicits aggressive reactions. However, recent research suggests that it is not the experience of shame, but rather the experience of humiliation that triggers aggressive reactions. The present study focuses on the role of shame, guilt and humiliation appraisals in predicting the motivation to repair and be aggressive in four different countries, namely Argentina, Belgium, Finland and Portugal. Using multi-group structural equation modeling with situational-level assessments of shame, guilt and humiliation appraisals, we found that guilt appraisals were indeed most likely to motivate reparation, although guilt also had a weak, but positive link to aggression via blaming others. Shame defined as negative self-evaluations had weak positive relations with both aggression and reparation. The experience of being humiliated clearly motivated aggression through blaming others and reduced reparation tendencies. These results were largely stable across the four cultural groups. The present study underlines the need to take humiliation into account when studying the links between guilt, shame and aggression.