Judging Passions : Moral Emotions in Persons and Groups book cover
1st Edition

Judging Passions
Moral Emotions in Persons and Groups

ISBN 9781848720688
Published March 13, 2012 by Psychology Press
232 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Shortlisted for the British Psychological Society Book Award (Academic Monograph category) 2014!

A CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title 2013!

Psychological research shows that our emotions and feelings often guide the moral decisions we make about our own lives and the social groups to which we belong. But should we be concerned that our important moral judgments can be swayed by "hot" passions, such as anger, disgust, guilt, shame and sympathy? Aren’t these feelings irrational and counterproductive?

Using a functional conflict theory of emotions (FCT), Giner-Sorolla proposes that each emotion serves a number of different functions, sometimes inappropriately, and that moral emotions in particular are intimately tied to problems faced by the individuals in a group, and by groups interacting with each other. Specifically, the author suggests that these emotions help us, as individuals and group members, to:

Appraise developments in the environment

Learn through association

Regulate our own behavior

Communicate convincingly with others.

Drawing on extensive research, including many studies from the author’s own lab, this book shows why emotions work to encourage reasonable moral behaviour, and why they sometimes fail.

This is the first single-authored volume in the field of psychology dedicated to a separate examination of the major moral and positive emotions. As such, the book is ideal reading for researchers, postgraduates and undergraduates of social psychology, sociology, philosophy and politics.

Table of Contents

1. Emotions, Morality, and Groups: Introduction and Definition. 2. Emotion: A Functional Conflict Theory. 3. Emotions, Morality, and Groups: Intersections. 4. Disgust and Anger. 5. Shame and Guilt. 6. Positive Moral Emotions. 7. Applications and Conclusion.

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Roger Giner-Sorolla is Reader in Social Psychology at the University of Kent, UK. His research interests include attitudes and motivated cognition, and more recently the role of affect and moral emotions.


"Giner-Sorolla's capacious grasp of several scientific literatures, his compassion and evenhandedness, and the clarity of his writing about devilishly complex issues make this a must read for anyone interested in psychology and politics, and the moral dilemmas they create. Summing Up: Essential. All readers." – R.R. Cornelius, Vassar College, in CHOICE

"This is an excellent, easy to grasp and engagingly written book which is highly accessible for all students and researchers working on emotions, interpersonal and intergroup relations and morality. I would strongly recommend this book to everybody who is interested in these topics." – Thomas Kessler, Head of Social Psychology, Friedrich-Schiller-University, Jena

"Finally, a book that describes in detail the important intersections between groups, morality, and emotions. Roger Giner-Sorolla provides a fresh new look to these very old concepts." – Brad Bushman, Margaret Hall and Robert Randal Rinehart Chair of Mass Communication, Ohio State University