Guilt and Helping

International Journal of Ethics 6 (2/3):231-252 (2010)
Abstract
A wealth of research in social psychology over the past twenty years has examined the role that guilt plays in our mental lives. In this paper, I examine just one aspect of this vast literature, namely the relationship between guilt and prosocial behavior. Researchers have typically found a robust positive correlation between feelings of guilt and helping, and have advanced psychological models to explain why guilt seems to have this effect. Here I present some of their results as well as draw out certain important implications that seem to follow for moral psychology and ethical theory.
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