Shame and aggression: Theoretical considerations

Jeff Elison*, C. Garofalo, Patrizia Velotti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Within the shame literature, anger and aggression are widely recognized as responses to shame. Recent findings on the affective neuroscience of social pain suggest multiple models by which social pain (e.g., shame) and anger/aggression may be linked. These models describe the mechanisms underlying the prominent role of shame in interpersonal aggression, a role revealed by many dozens of studies. Anger and aggression in response to shame may be viewed as emotion regulation, coping strategies, and evolutionary adaptations. Unfortunately, these attempts at coping with shame may be adaptive or maladaptive. Indeed, aggression may be an adaptive defensive response to physical pain and many physical threats that, through evolutionary processes, came to be linked to shame once social pain co-opted the affective response to physical pain. In a related article (Velotti, Elison, & Garofalo, 2014), we review the many contexts and populations in which aggression manifests, providing further evidence for the models proposed here. Thus, a more complete understanding of anger and violent behavior requires consideration of social pain, shame, and shame-regulation, for which physical pain serves as a useful model. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-453
Number of pages7
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Shame
  • Anger
  • Aggression
  • Violent behavior
  • Emotion regulation
  • SOCIAL EXCLUSION
  • PERSONALITY-TRAITS
  • EMOTION REGULATION
  • GUILT
  • REJECTION
  • RESPONSES
  • ANGER
  • VIOLENCE
  • LIFE
  • ADOLESCENTS

Cite this