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Interpersonal Emotion: Societal Aspects of Vicarious Shame as Seen Through Identity, Morality, and Culture
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This thesis surveys the literature within social psychology to demonstrate a need for a concrete definition of “vicarious (in-direct) shame” that stands on its own away from “regular (direct) shame”. Often, these two types are not separated at all (Yard, 2014) and their societal aspects are jumbled together even though both cases have varying outcomes dependent upon the circumstances. The societal aspects of vicarious shame will be analyzed as an independent construct through the lens of identity, morality, and culture. Several aspects of shame are drawn from these three constructs and as such, they are important in defining the pillars of vicarious shame as well. Shame aspects from the social psychology literature include self-assessment, group-based role determination, moralistic values, distinction from guilt, and individualistic versus collectivistic culture.