We are interested in the relations among shame, guilt, and embarrassment and especially in how each relates to judgments of character. We start by analyzing the distinction between being and feeling guilty, and unearth the role of shame as a guilt feeling. We proceed to examine shame and guilt in relation to moral responsibility and to flaws of character. We address a recent psychological finding that shame is both destructive and in so far as it has a social function could (...) be replaced by guilt. We reinterpret the guilt culture/shame culture distinction in terms of our way of distinguishing these emotions. Finally we examine embarrassment as distinct from shame and find the difference to lie not so much in the phenomenology of the participant as it is in context, and in which elements of the context the speaker describing the emotion wishes to stress. We conclude by defending shame despite its psychological troubles. (shrink)
Undergraduates (total N = 185) were asked about performance-affecting drugs. Some drugs supposedly affected athletic performance, others memory, and others attention. Some improved performance for anyone who took them, others for the top 10% of performers, others for the bottom 10%, and finally, yet other drugs worked only on the bottom 10% who also showed physical abnormalities. Participants were asked about the fairness of allowing the drug to be used, about banning it, and about whether predictions of future performance based (...) on testing with or without the drug were better. The study found that participants appreciated the "interaction effect", that they felt it was less unfair to allow the drug if it affected the bottom 10% than if it affected everyone, and they were more eager to have the drug banned if it affected everyone. Participants were least tolerant of drugs that affected athletic performance and most tolerant of those that affected attention. (shrink)
Evolutionary discussions regarding the relationship between social status and fertility in the contemporary U.S. typically claim that the relationship is either negative or absent entirely. The published data on recent generations of Americans upon which such statements rest, however, are solid with respect to women but sparse and equivocal for men. In the current study, we investigate education and income in relation to age at first child, childlessness, and number of children for men and women in two samples—one of the (...) general American population and one of graduates of an elite American university. We find that increased education is strongly associated with delayed childbearing in both sexes and is also moderately associated with decreased completed or near-completed fertility. Women in the general population with higher adult income have fewer children, but this relationship does not hold within all educational groups, including our sample with elite educations. Higher-income men, however, do not have fewer children in the general population and in fact have lower childlessness rates. Further, higher income in men is positively associated with fertility among our sample with elite educations as well as within the general population among those with college educations. Such findings undermine simple statements on the relationship between status and fertility. (shrink)
This collection of essays explores why emotions are important in our conception of a person's character, and in our own conception of self. Chapter topics include caring, loyalty, sincerity, shame, guilt, and embarrassment, and self-deception.
In this paper we attempt to reconcile two important, current intellectual traditions: Darwinism and social constructionism. We believe that these two schools have important points of contact that have been obscured because each school has feared that the other wanted to put it out of business. We try to show that both traditions have much to of offer psychology, a discipline that has often been too individualistic, too concerned with the private and the subjective. The spirit of American pragmatism can (...) be found in both camps; like the social constructivists, pragmatists focused on social transaction rather than internal happening, and like the Darwinian they were rooted in functionalism and the biological. (shrink)
Are emotions like sneezes, unwilled, mechanical, or are they like judgments; are they entirely social constructions? Harré and Gillett believe that emotions are exclusively judgments. We argue that their view misses something important. Imagine a person quaking in anger. Both we and Harré and Gillett believe that he is angry only if he has made an implicit judgment, such as I have been transgressed against. But it is the quaking, not the judgment, that gives authenticity and force to the expression (...) of anger. The quaking does not clarify what the actor means but rather it clarifies the relation of the actor to the meaning of his display. What makes it a genuine expression of anger and not a joke or performance is that the quaking is beyond the will. Bodily displays are not necessary to make expressions authentic; anything that shows that the expression is beyond the will will do, for instance, obsessive thoughts, intrusions, or an inability to concentrate. For Harré and Gillett emotions both as displays and feelings do not merely embody judgments but are also speech acts. We argue that an expression, a feeling or flitting through the mind, cannot be a speech act since only the overt can fit into the convention, the strictures of a community. Nor is the display merely a speech act. Since for an emotional display to be genuine it must slip from the lips unbidden. Further, a speech act account makes the emotions arbitrary; they imply that the set of possible emotions is open. We think, on the other hand, that only some sorts of judgments can become part of an emotion; judgments that relate to things that are important enough in a particular culture that judgment display and feeling are linked together involuntarily. (shrink)
We are concerned in this paper with the question of what more there is to human nature than cognition, with what it is to be a person in the sense of something that would justify our sympathy. We examine pain, emotion, and the abrogation of values as sources of our sympathy for one another. We further argue that our sympathy over each of these unfortunate events is connected with our sense that they are beyond a person' s will. Computers, we (...) suggest, ought not to engage our sympathy not because of their limited cognitive capacity, and not because they lack intent, but because their wills are too free. (shrink)
This paper attempts to demonstrate, at least for the passions, that while emotions are important elements of common sense psychological thought, they are not psychological, neural, or mental entities. People talk of emotions, we claim, in two sorts of cases: Firstly, when it is believed that someone has done something that she shouldn't because she has been overwhelmed by desire and secondly, when someone is found to be compelled to devote cognitive resources to an act she knows she will never (...) carry out. In this case motivational states command attention and cognitive and physiological resources, distract us, even though they will not issue in action. In either case pointing to an emotion is pointing to a partial, aborted, or misdirected desire. We discuss why emotions are considered important in common sense and professional psychology though they do not exist. (shrink)