Eliciting Guilty Feelings: A Preliminary Study Differentiating Deontological and Altruistic Guilt
Barbara Basile, Francesco Mancini
DOI: 10.4236/psych.2011.22016   PDF   HTML     7,604 Downloads   13,019 Views   Citations


Guilt has been identified as both an intrapsychic and an interpersonal emotion. The current study presents evidence of the existence of two senses of guilt, deontological and altruistic guilt, induced through different experimental paradigms. Deontological guilt evolves from having slighted moral authority or norms, while altruistic guilt arises from selfish behavior and the distress of others. We hypothesize that specific stimuli would evoke, separately, deontological guilt and altruistic/interpersonal guilt feelings. Two different procedures were used to test our hypothesis, adding two emotions as control conditions (i.e. anger and sadness). Results clearly indicate that two different guilt emotions can be evoked separately, by appropriate stimulation. Findings and possible clinical implications are discussed.

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Basile, B. & Mancini, F. (2011). Eliciting Guilty Feelings: A Preliminary Study Differentiating Deontological and Altruistic Guilt. Psychology, 2, 98-102. doi: 10.4236/psych.2011.22016.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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