The role of self-discrepancies in distinguishing regret from guilt

Xiaolu Zhang*, Marcel Zeelenberg, Amy Summerville, Seger Breugelmans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Regret and guilt are self-conscious emotions. They stem from negative events for which people feel responsible. Both emotions re!ect discrepancies between how people are (their “actual” self) and how they would like to be (their “ideal” or “ought” self). We examined whether regret and guilt were related to di"erent self- discrepancies (i.e., “ideal” and “ought” self-discrepancies). Two studies (total N = 1998) with Chinese and US participants found that people feel more regret over ideal self-discrepancies than over ought self-discrepancies, whereas for guilt this is more com- plex. We also found a main e"ect for culture such that ideal self- discrepancies were associated more with both emotions in the USA compared to China. Implications for the di"erences between regret and guilt are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalSelf and Identity
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020

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Keywords

  • Regret; guilt; self- discrepancies; culture
  • Regret
  • guilt
  • INACTION
  • NEGATIVE AFFECT
  • CULTURE
  • FEAR
  • self-discrepancies
  • culture
  • EMOTIONAL-REACTIONS
  • SHAME
  • EXPERIENCE
  • REGULATORY FOCUS

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