Affect Script Psychology, Shame, Guilt, Empathy and Moral Emotions ~
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A Primer of Affect Psychology Kelly, V (2009)
[Back to Articles]
A Primer of Affect Psychology Kelly, V (2009)
- The purpose of this primer is to introduce the reader to the work of Silvan S. Tomkins, who dedicated his life to developing a new, more comprehensive understanding of the biological and evolutionary roots of human motivation in order to establish a more accurate picture of personality, something he called Human Being Theory. While Tomkins’s formal educational background included the study of playwriting, philosophy, and psychology, it is clear from reading the four volumes of his magnum opus Affect Imagery Consciousness that he was also well versed in many other areas including anatomy, Darwinian evolution, history, literature, religion, and artificial intelligence, all of which he pursued to answer the question "What do human beings really want?"
- Emotion is the motivational cornerstone of all human endeavors. The continually expanding, international literature related to the practice of Restorative Justice presents practitioners with a dizzying array of models regarding emotion.
- The untimely death of Michael Franz Basch brings into sharp focus the number, depth, and importance of his contributions. From his early efforts to explain Kohut’s (1971) observation that the mothering caregiver is able to tune in on the world of the wordless infant by experiencing something within herself, we have developed a science of empathy that assists the repair of the most intimate human relationships and the connection to society of its most troubled and least intimate members.T
- Very briefly, I will outline the changes that have taken place in our understanding of emotion over the past 25 or more years, but that have not yet entered into consideration by the social sciences most of you represent. Primary neurophysiological and neuropsychological research by Tomkins, Panksepp, Edelman, LeDoux, Ekman, Stern, and many others have forced recognition of the fact that underlying the complex and highly variable emotions we as adults experience more or less constantly is a rather small and fixed set of physiological mechanisms.
- Drawing on the affect and script paradigm of Silvan S. Tomkins, this two-part workshop will show how restorative practices work. Participants will learn to identify the nine innate affects, biological programs triggered by patterns of neural stimulation, and learn how they motivate all of us. The affects combine with life experience to form scripts, powerful emotional rules, of which we are usually unaware. We will examine the language of emotion, personality development, empathy, intimacy, and some of the scripts by which people manage affects such as shame. Tomkins’s blueprint for emotional health will explain why restorative practices work.
- This article deals with the emotional dynamics of restorative conferences, focusing on the functions of shame, as enunciated in the theories of Moore, Scheff and Retzinger. According to these researchers, the restorative justice conferences aim to redirect aggressive emotions and elicit shame and other hurt-revealing emotions that can lead to empathy. These approaches are confronted with the views of the guilt-theorists Tangney and Baumeister who argue that guilt is related to empathy and reparation, whereas shame tends to provoke avoidance or rejection of responsibility. The view that guilt is the more moral emotion appears to turn Braithwaite’s theory of reintegrative shaming upside down. In accordance with recent research results of the Braithwaite group, it is concluded that guilt is an important aspect of the restorative process. But guilt has limited affect resonance possibilities, misses the other-regarding aspects of remorse and does not seem to incite the offender to reconsider his or her identity. In conclusion, it is argued that (reintegrative) ‘shaming’ is a dubious concept.
- Restorative justice interventions, which focus upon repairing the harm caused by an offence, are consistent with the approach advocated by reintegrative shaming theory (Braithwaite, 1989; Braithwaite & Braithwaite, 2001). However, some have argued that remorse and empathy play a more important role in restoration, and that a focus upon disapproval and the emotion of shame may be misguided. This article analyses theoretical distinctions between shame and guilt before discussing their role in restorative interventions. It is argued that emotions like empathy, remorse and guilt will spill over into feelings of shame, and that it is the resolution of these emotions that is critical for successful justice interventions.
- The power of the positive moral emotions to uplift and transform people has long been known, but not by psychologists. In 1771, Thomas Jefferson's friend Robert Skipwith wrote to him asking for advice on what books to buy for his library, and for his own education. Jefferson sent back a long list of titles in history, philosophy, and natural science. But in addition to these obviously educational works, Jefferson advised the inclusion of some works of fiction.
- This chapter includes a census of the moral emotions and a discussion of the ways in which moral emotions and moral reasoning work together in the creation of human morality.
- In this paper, some newer research in psychology is examined for the potential contribution it could make to our understandings in restorative practices. The paper begins with a very brief scan of the existing Affect Theory and the Compass of Shame, to set the context before exploring the new research and then attempting to tie together the newer insights with the existing thinking. Potential implications of this newly-integrated work for how school communities might best encourage the proper moral development of their students are also briefly explored.
- Discusses for whom, under what conditions, and in what form do the negative moral emotions of shame and guilt serve constructive as opposed to destructive functions. This chapter summarizes research indicating that shame and guilt are distinct affective experiences with very different implications for adjustment at both the individual and interpersonal level. Taken together, the author's research indicates that feelings of shame often give rise to a range of potentially destructive motivations, defenses, interpersonal behaviors, and psychological symptoms. In contrast, guilt appears to be the "quintessential" moral emotion serving numerous constructive, "relationship-enhancing functions" without many of the burdens and costs inherent in feelings of shame. It is stated that in a very real sense, negatively balanced "moral" emotions, such as shame and guilt, highlight the best and worst sides of human emotional experience.
- Moral emotions represent a key element of our human moral apparatus, influencing the link between moral standards and moral behavior. This chapter reviews current theory and research on moral emotions. We first focus on a triad of negatively valenced “selfconscious” emotions—shame, guilt, and embarrassment. As in previous decades, much research remains focused on shame and guilt. We review current thinking on the distinction between shame and guilt, and the relative advantages and disadvantages of these two moral emotions. Several new areas of research are highlighted: research on the domain-specific phenomenon of body shame, styles of coping with shame, psychobiological aspects of shame, the link between childhood abuse and later proneness to shame, and the phenomena of vicarious or “collective” experiences of shame and guilt. In recent years, the concept of moral emotions has been expanded to include several positive emotions—elevation, gratitude, and the sometimes morally relevant experience of pride. Finally, we discuss briefly a morally relevant emotional process—other-oriented empathy.
- All human emotions are, in a loose sense, “self-relevant.” Emotions arise when something self-relevant happens or is about to happen. In the language of appraisal theory (Lazarus, 1966), we experience emotions when we judge that events have positive or negative significance for our wellbeing. The specific type of emotional response is shaped both by such primary appraisals of events’ positive vs. negative implications for the individual, and by secondary appraisals (e.g., of one’s ability to cope with the events). But all emotions arise from events that in some way have relevance for oneself. There is, however, a special class of human emotions that are even more immediately self-relevant. This chapter focuses on these “self-conscious” emotions, which directly involve self- reflection and self-evaluation.
- Self-conscious emotions (e.g., shame, pride) are fundamentally important to a wide range of psychological processes, yet they have received relatively little attention compared to other, more “basic” emotions (e.g., sadness, joy). This article outlines the unique features that distinguish self-conscious from basic emotions and then explains why generally accepted models of basic emotions do not adequately capture the self-conscious emotion process. The authors present a new model of self-conscious emotions, specify a set of predictions derived from the model, and apply the model to narcissistic self-esteem regulation. Finally, the authors discuss the model’s broader implications for future research on self and emotion.