The emotion of guilt as a motivator: can transgressors overcome ego-depletion to help their victims?
Links to Fileshttp://library.towson.edu/cdm/ref/collection/etd/id/48365
MetadataShow full item record
Type of Workapplication/pdf
vi, 49 pages
DepartmentTowson University. Department of Psychology
Self-control is a limited resource; exerting it leads to a state termed ego-depletion. Research suggests that techniques can overcome this loss of resources; one such avenue may lie in the experience of guilt, an emotion arising following transgressions. Transgressors are motivated to repay their victims, and are also motivated to alleviate the feelings associated with guilt. This study examined whether guilt can motivate people to overcome ego-depletion. Participants completed a task requiring self-control, and were then made to believe that they had caused harm to the researcher. Persistence on a subsequent task helping the researcher was then measured. The results showed that depleted participants who experienced guilt persisted longer on the subsequent task than depleted participants who did not experience guilt. However, guilt without prior depletion debilitated participants’ self-control as much as the ego-depletion induction. This study showed that guilt can both restore and exhaust self-control depending upon prior circumstance.