Recent research has shown that shame activates both a restore and a protect motive (De Hooge, Zeelenberg, & Breugelmans, 2010), explaining the hitherto unexpected finding that shame can lead to both approach and avoidance behaviours. In the present article we show a clear difference in priority and development of restore and protect motives over time. Our experiment reveals that shame mainly motivates approach behaviour to restore the damaged self, but that this restore motive decreases when situational factors make it too risky or difficult to restore. In contrast, the motive to protect one's damaged self from further harm is not influenced by such situational factors. As a consequence, the approach behaviour that shame activates may change over time. These findings add to our understanding of the motivational processes and behaviours following from shame.

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ERIM Article Series (EAS)
Cognition and Emotion
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

de Hooge, I.E, Zeelenberg, M, & Breugelmans, S.M. (2011). A functionalist account of shame-induced behaviour. Cognition and Emotion, 25(5), 939–946. doi:10.1080/02699931.2010.516909