Number 26 (2013)

Danieluk, B. (2013). How many selves is in the self-conscious emotions? Commitment of the self and shame, guilt and embarrassment

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Barnaba Danieluk
Institute of Psychology, University of Marie Curie-Skłodowska, Lublin

Abstract:
In American literature the dominant conceptualization of shame and guilt is based on self-attributional processes (Lewis, 1992; Tangney i Dearing, 2004; Tracy i Robins, 2004). In this approach shame is accompanied by general negative attributions focused on the entire self, whereas guilt is connected to specific attributions focused on behavior. This approach assumes that private self-awareness plays the main role in experience of both types of emotions and it ignores the traditional distinction based on the private-public dimension, as present in anthropology. However, many scientists point to the significant role of the public self-consciousness in experiencing shame and guilt. Results of two experiments are presented, which aim was to verify the role of the self-attributional dimension as well as to check the alternative hypothesis that distinguishes between shame, guilt and embarrassment. Three themes are taken into consideration: focusing on the self-presentational concerns, focusing on the discrepancies between actual self and ideal self, focusing on the deed and its consequences. Results suggests, that guilt is strictly connected with private self-consciousness, self reflection and negative self-evaluation (mainly from the perspective of personal standards). Shame, which is experienced in a state of public self-consciousness, is a consequence of perceived negative external (social) evaluation, but includes motives of critical self-evaluation. Embarrassment, on the other hand, is not exclusively the mild form of shame, but has his own distinct features.

Keywords: shame, guilt, embarrassment, public self-consciousness, private self-consciousness, ideal-self, reflected-self, self-attribution

Cite this article as:

Danieluk, B. (2013). How many selves is in the self-conscious emotions? Commitment of the self and shame, guilt and embarrassment. Psychologia Społeczna, 26, 302–322.
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