Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Jeffrey Green


The present study aimed to expand on previous research that explains when affect can influence subsequent judgments in an incongruent way. It also investigated a context where a negative emotion may have been maintained in order to achieve a subsequent goal. Participants in a guilt, shame, and control condition visualized past events. Those in the guilt and shame condition wrote about a time when they committed a moral transgression and were instructed to write an apology letter to a person they hurt. They then rated themselves on a number of interpersonal traits as a way to measure self-enhancement. I hypothesized that those in the guilt condition would self-enhance on interpersonal traits as a result of feeling guilt, which is a repair-focused emotion that has been shown to benefit interpersonal relationships. I also hypothesized that participants in the guilt condition would express a desire to maintain their feelings of guilt as a strategy to help them write an apology letter. The present findings do not support my hypotheses.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2014

Included in

Psychology Commons