Monday, February 25, 2013

Guilt is Like a Heavy Backpack


You think I'm making this up? I'm not making this up.

The Burden of Guilt: Heavy Backpacks, Light Snacks, and Enhanced Morality 

 Maryam Kouchaki, Francesca Gino & Ata Jami 

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming 

Abstract: Drawing on the embodied simulation account of emotional information processing, we argue that the physical experience of weight is associated with the emotional experience of guilt and thus that weight intensifies the experience of guilt. Across 4 studies, we found that participants who wore a heavy backpack experienced higher levels of guilt compared to those who wore a light backpack. Additionally, wearing a heavy backpack affected participants' behavior. Specifically, it led them to be more likely to choose healthy snacks over guilt-inducing ones and boring tasks over fun ones. It also led participants to cheat less. Importantly, self-reported guilt mediated the effect of wearing a heavy backpack on these behaviors. Our studies also examined the mechanism behind these effects and demonstrated that participants processed guilty stimuli more fluently when experiencing physical weight.

3 comments:

codeandculture said...

Should we be bothered that so many journalists have MacBook Airs?

mobile said...

My kids' backpacks are very heavy, but they have rollers.

Pelsmin said...

My children also have heavy backpacks, but not as heavy as the knowledge that they have let their parents down after all we've done for them. No rollers can shift that burden from those tiny, ungrateful shoulders.