Guilt and pleasure - Deepstash





Can Guilt Make You Happy?

Guilt and pleasure

The connection between guilt and pleasure could be powerful for marketers. Appealing to a negative attribute that is connected to pleasure can be more effective at persuading people than directly talking about positive attributes.

We may think our choices are rational, but the things we think or feel in the moment affect our preferences. In a study, giving respondents a choice of donating $5 to charity or using it for a Starbucks espresso drink, the likelihood and amount of donations increased, compared to a second group who had to choose between a charitable donation and a $5 laundry detergent.


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Can Guilt Make You Happy?

Can Guilt Make You Happy?


Key Ideas

Doing something you shouldn't

Guilt is considered to be a negative emotion - a sense that you've done something wrong.

But, there is a special kind of enjoyment that comes from doing something you shouldn't do. For example, eating a forbidden chocolate bar can boost pleasure.




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...

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 to an audience.

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 disapproval.

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How we make decisions
How we make decisions

New studies examined the relationship between how people make decisions - if they make it rationally or emotionally - and how determined they are to defend that choice.

They found t...

Implications of emotional decision-making
  • For marketers: Drawing out a decision based on feelings could encourage a stronger allegiance among consumers. This could be achieved through subtle tactics like visuals instead of words, or colors instead of gray-scale.

  • For consumers: Choices that need steadfast commitment should be made with emotion instead of weighing up pros and cons. Choices that need frequent consideration should be made rationally.

Meta-emotions are feelings about feelings
A meta-emotion is an emotion that occurred in response to another emotion: Perhaps you teared up while watching a sappy movie with friends, then felt embarrassed about feeling sad. Or perhaps w...
Negative-negative meta-emotions

... are the most common type. This indicates that many people get upset, nervous, or angry about their own negative emotions, in particular.

Dealing with meta-emotions
  • It's important to know which emotions you are feeling before you can start to change your reactions to those emotions. 
  • It also helps to appreciate your negative emotions and the work they do for you.

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