Moral masochism: on the connection between guilt and self-punishment.
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Do people sometimes seek to atone for their transgressions by harming themselves physically? The current results suggest that they do. People who wrote about a past guilt-inducing event inflicted more intense electric shocks on themselves than did those who wrote about feeling sad or about a neutral event. Moreover, the stronger the shocks that guilty participants administered to themselves, the more their feelings of guilt were alleviated. We discuss how this method of atonement relates to other methods examined in previous research.
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1037/a0029749
Publication InfoInbar, Yoel; Pizarro, David A; Gilovich, Thomas; & Ariely, Dan (2013). Moral masochism: on the connection between guilt and self-punishment. Emotion, 13(1). pp. 14-18. 10.1037/a0029749. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/6374.
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James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of Behavioral Economics
HI, I'M DAN ARIELY. I do research in behavioral economics and try to describe it in plain language. These findings have enriched my life, and my hope is that they will do the same for you. My immersive introduction to irrationality took place many years ago while I was overcoming injuries sustained in an explosion. The range of treatments in the burn department, and particularly the daily “bath” mad