Early distinction between shame and guilt processing in an interpersonal context

Ruida Zhu, Haiyan Wu, Zhenhua Xu, Honghong Tang, Xueyi Shen, Xiaoqin Mai, Chao Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Shame and guilt have been compared in many behavioral and functional magnetic resonance imaging studies. However, the time course of shame and guilt processing remains unknown. We conducted an event-related potential (ERP) study to investigate the temporal dynamics of shame and guilt in an interpersonal context. Behaviorally, participants reported "shame" when their wrong advice was correctly rejected by a confederate, whereas reported "guilt" when their wrong advice resulted in economic loss of a confederate. The ERP results showed significant difference between the shame and guilt conditions in the early P2 component (140-220 ms) over the frontal region and the alpha oscillations (240-1000 ms) over the parietal region. No significant difference was found between the shame and guilt conditions in the N2, P3, and theta oscillations. These results supported previous findings that shame compared to guilt involves more self-referential processing, whereas guilt compared to shame involves more empathetic processing, and provided evidence that the distinction between shame and guilt could occur in an early stage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalSocial Neuroscience
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Oct 2017

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