What’s the best way to reprimand someone?
When people transgress, they are often publicly condemned for doing so. This punishes the behavior and presumably induces moral emotions and the desire to make amends. Public condemnation can also be humiliating, an experience that may work against such reactions. In three studies, using vignettes and retrospective accounts, we explored the nature and consequences of humiliation. Public condemnation, when intentional and severe, heightened the experience of humiliation along with the negative consequences of anger, hostility, and vengeful urges, despite the fact that the humiliated person had transgressed in the first place. These intentional and severe forms of public condemnation failed to increase the moral emotions of shame and guilt. However, unintentional publicity and mild reprimand generally enhanced both moral emotions and intentions to apologize without increasing hostility.
Source: “Exploring the Consequences of Humiliating a Moral Transgressor” from Basic and Applied Social Psychology, Volume 32, Issue 2 April 2010 , pages 128 – 143
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