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Title: Guilt and relationship repair
Author: Katic, Luka
ISNI:       0000 0004 7966 1169
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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Research reported in this thesis investigates the relationship repair function of the emotion of guilt. Chapter 2 presents Studies 1 - 3 which assessed the effects of delivering an apology on experienced guilt. Study 1 aimed to extend previous findings that practical repair of material damage reduced guilt independently of whether it is carried out by the transgressor or someone else by introducing an additional manipulation of apology (relationship repair). However, participants reported having delivered an apology even when the instructions did not mention apologising. Study 2 improved the apology manipulation and showed that it reduced guilt as predicted. Study 3 used a directly involving laboratory task to induce guilt and confirmed that apology had an independent effect on guilt. The separate effect of practical repair on guilt shown in previous research was replicated across all 3 of these studies. Chapter 3 focused on investigating the effect of self-punishment on guilt reduction in a laboratory experiment (Study 4). Findings indicated that guilt was alleviated more when the victim was present when shock levels were set than when they were absent. Further, guilt was alleviated more when the transgressor, rather than the experimenter, set the intensity of the shocks. Chapter 4 reports on Studies 5 and 6 which examined the interaction between different means of guilt communication. These studies assessed both the extent to which guilt elicited the means of guilt communication, and in turn, the extent to which these means of guilt communication affected guilt. Study 5 was a laboratory experiment and it included an apology manipulation similar to that used in Study 3, in addition to the self-punishment manipulation used in Study 4. One of the aims of this study was to see whether the modified self-punishment measurement would give clearer results on the effect of victim's presence on intensity of electric shocks. The other aim was to examine if the effects of apology and communicated self-punishment on guilt would interact. Findings reported no effects of the manipulated factors on guilt. However, apology reduced the intensity of intended self-punishment as expected. In Study 6, participants had to imagine that they were participating in an adapted version of study 5. In addition to manipulations of apology and intended self-punishment, a manipulation of practical repair similar to the one used in Study 3 was added. This study investigated if the expected guilt-alleviating effects of apology and self-punishment were independent of practical repair. Findings indicated that participants increased the intensity of shocks when they knew that the shock level would be communicated to the victim. Moreover, results showed that when participants communicated their intention to punish themselves, guilt reduced if they apologised or if the victim's material damage got repaired. Overall, this thesis took steps towards extending the body of knowledge on interaction of inter- and intra-personal effects on guilt by testing new hypotheses and building on previous research.
Supervisor: Parkinson, Brian ; Shore, Danielle M. Sponsor: University of Oxford
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Psychology