Research on the effects of guilt on interpersonal relationships has shown that guilt frequently motivates prosocial behavior in dyadic social situations. When multiple persons are involved, however, this emotion can be disadvantageous for other people in the social environment. Two experiments were carried out to examine the effect of guilt and empathy on prosocial behavior in a context in which more than two people are involved. Experiment 1 investigates whether, in three-person situations, guilt motivates prosocial behavior with beneficial effects for the victim of one’s actions but disadvantageous effects for the third individual. Participants were faced with a social dilemma in which they could choose to take action that would benefit themselves, the victim, or the other individual. The findings show that guilt produces disadvantageous side effects for the third individual person present without negatively affecting the transgressor’s interest. In Experiment 2, participants were faced with a social dilemma in which they could act to benefit themselves, the victim, or a third person for whom they were induced to feel empathic concern. Again, the results show that guilt generates advantages for the victim but, in this case, at the expense of the transgressor and not at the expense of the third person, for whom they were induced to feel empathic concern. Therefore, guilt and empathy seem to limit the transgressor’s interest. The theoretical implications are discussed.

Scaffidi Abbate, C., Misuraca, R., Roccella, M., Parisi, L., Vetri, L., & Miceli, S. (2022). The Role of Guilt and Empathy on Prosocial Behavior. BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES, 12(3), 1-18 [10.3390/bs12030064].

The Role of Guilt and Empathy on Prosocial Behavior

Scaffidi Abbate, Costanza
Primo
;
Misuraca, Raffaella;Roccella, Michele;Parisi, Lucia;Vetri, Luigi;Miceli, Silvana
2022-03-01

Abstract

Research on the effects of guilt on interpersonal relationships has shown that guilt frequently motivates prosocial behavior in dyadic social situations. When multiple persons are involved, however, this emotion can be disadvantageous for other people in the social environment. Two experiments were carried out to examine the effect of guilt and empathy on prosocial behavior in a context in which more than two people are involved. Experiment 1 investigates whether, in three-person situations, guilt motivates prosocial behavior with beneficial effects for the victim of one’s actions but disadvantageous effects for the third individual. Participants were faced with a social dilemma in which they could choose to take action that would benefit themselves, the victim, or the other individual. The findings show that guilt produces disadvantageous side effects for the third individual person present without negatively affecting the transgressor’s interest. In Experiment 2, participants were faced with a social dilemma in which they could act to benefit themselves, the victim, or a third person for whom they were induced to feel empathic concern. Again, the results show that guilt generates advantages for the victim but, in this case, at the expense of the transgressor and not at the expense of the third person, for whom they were induced to feel empathic concern. Therefore, guilt and empathy seem to limit the transgressor’s interest. The theoretical implications are discussed.
Settore M-PSI/05 - Psicologia Sociale
https://www.mdpi.com/2076-328X/12/3/64
Scaffidi Abbate, C., Misuraca, R., Roccella, M., Parisi, L., Vetri, L., & Miceli, S. (2022). The Role of Guilt and Empathy on Prosocial Behavior. BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES, 12(3), 1-18 [10.3390/bs12030064].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10447/540006
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