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The University of Southampton

Shame and Guilt as Internalized Social Modelling

Roger Giner-Sorolla

University of Kent

I present a theoretical perspective to resolve current controversies about shame, guilt and the difference between them. Which is the more "social" emotion? I argue that both are internalized models of others' views of you. While the social element is often implicit, it is vital to the emotions' function. Following Paul Gilbert, shame models hierarchies of social value, while guilt models a reciprocal relationship. This can resolve: which is the more usually internalized emotion; the role played by responsibility and moral vs. non-moral concerns; differences in expressive and subjective content; and what action outcomes shame and guilt have. Finally, I present preliminary data relating guilt to reciprocal metaphors and shame to hierarchical, even in a non-social context.

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