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The Positive Side of Shame

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https://fs.blog/2020/01/positive-side-of-shame/

fs.blog

The Positive Side of Shame
Recently, shame has gotten a bad rap. It's been branded as toxic and destructive. But shame can be used as a tool to effect positive change. *** A computer science PhD candidate uncovers significant privacy-violating security flaws in large companies, then shares them with the media to attract negative coverage.

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Shame

Shame is a universal experience. Shame enforces adherence to beneficial social norms.

Shaming is a tool and can be used for good or evil. We should use it when the outcome has a great...

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Guilt vs shame

Guilt is a private feeling of regret about something you did, and the discomfort leads to self-regulation regardless of exposure.

Shaming is about the possibility of being exposed ...

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Effective shaming

Shaming can give the weak greater power. It can be used as a tool to encourage structural changes of institutions, organizations, and powerful individuals by exposing a transgressor to public disap...

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Shaming must be relevant

The audience responsible for the shaming should be concerned with the transgression. The audience should be the victim. For instance, second-hand smoke impacts the health of non-smokers.

...

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Unfairness should be significant

There should be a big gap between the desired and actual behavior. The smaller the gap, the less effective the shaming will be. The degree of bad relative to the group matters. 

For ...

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Formal punishment should be missing

Shaming is most effective when the only possible avenue for punishment would otherwise go ignored. This triggers our sense of fury at injustice.

If a nation commits major human rights ab...

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Subject to the same social norms

The transgressor should be sensitive and sympathetic to the source of shaming.

Shaming an organic grocery store for selling unethically produced meat would be far more effective than sha...

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Trusted sources

The audience should trust the source of the shaming. The shaming should come from a reputable, trustworthy, non-hypocritical source, otherwise, the impact will be minimal.

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Shaming used sparingly

Shaming should be directed where possible benefits are greatest. We all have a limited amount of interest in shaming. It should be used only for the most severe transgressions; otherwise, people wi...

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Shaming with diligence

The threat of shaming can be more useful than the act itself to reform behavior. It may be helpful to implement regularly. For instance, an annual report on the companies guilty of the most pol...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Our reasons for lying

Where lying is concerned, we just can't seem to help ourselves. 

We lie for two reasons: behavioral conditioning and cognitive evolutionary biology.

Behavioral conditioning

Lying keeps us hooked because we enjoy the reward. The outcomes are unpredictable.
Lying is reinforced every time we get away with it. 

Cognitive evolutionary biology

Lying is a valuable tool in our survival kit. We can spare someone's feelings or build social standing. Lying can keep us out of trouble or even save our lives.

Practicing deception starts as early as six months of age such as fake crying or laughter. But people only start to get good at it after another four years where they learn to let go of the unbelievable lies and settle for what kind of lies work. 

Risk Compensation

Risk Compensation

Risk protection is normally done to minimize the harm a particular activity can do to us. There are various things we do to reduce our risk, to make ourselves safer.

Behaviour scientists po...

Risk Compensation Effects

  • When automobile safety laws were introduced, the drivers started taking more risks while driving, leading to more pedestrian accidents.
  • Children (and even adults) take more physical risks while playing a sport with protective gear.
  • Safety features like Anti-lock brakes in vehicles ended up increasing the accidents for taxi drivers in Germany
  • Child-proof caps on medicine bottles made parents careless about their being opened by kids, including the ones which don’t have the safety feature.

The Carelessness Effect

Having a safety device in place, and armed with the knowledge that we can push the envelope a bit, the appetite for risk increases.

  • People who have an emergency fund in place tend to be less careful about their investments.
  • People wearing a face-mask in this global pandemic feel like they are safer in crowded places (It’s a face mask, not an Iron Man suit).

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Helping a loved one

Helping a loved one

Many people try to help a loved one make significant life changes but fail. They may try to help a spouse quit smoking or get a roommate out of an abusive relationship. They may feel that if they d...

Different forms of enabling behavior

Enabling may accidentally happen when you are trying to help, but after an extended period, you realise that you are really helping.

  • Cleaning up after someone is one form of enabling behavior and includes any way of protecting the person from the negative consequences of their own behavior.
  • A partner lies to his in-laws about his wife's drug problem to protect her from embarrassment.
  • A sibling pays his brother's rent because he regularly loses his money to gambling.

It might be okay if it happened once, but if these "rescues" happen repeatedly, they don't get to learn from the cause-and-effect pattern of their behaviors.

Giving someone non-specific help

  • Our loved ones often come to us in a moment of crisis. They're losing their job or need to pay someone back. We sometimes feel we have to give money or bail them out in some form. But after a time or two, you become the consistent rescuer while they continue in their unaccountable ways.
  • Boundaries can be used to stop the cycle, but not letting those boundaries slip is hard. If you put your foot down on not loaning money, don't give in. The person you're trying to help will ultimately feel more secure if they know you keep your word. You're also a good role model for consistent behavior.

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