The role of shame and guilt in the etiology of not just right experiences : an experimental evaluation.


Access rights

No access – contact

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Not just right experiences (NJREs) are a form of maladaptive perfection-seeking in which sensations of tension signal a perceived discrepancy between one’s current state and a desired, ideal one. Affect-laden processing, primarily involving self-conscious emotions such as shame and guilt, may be a critical element in the elicitation of NJREs. The link between NJREs and guilt has been empirically investigated in a prior study, in which a guilt induction produced significantly greater NJREs than a control induction. Though shame and guilt are closely related, distinctions in phenomenological experiences, common correlates, and links to neutralization urges and other behavioral drives suggest that shame, more than guilt, may promote NJREs. The present study is the first to investigate the role of both shame and guilt states in the etiology of NJREs. An experimental induction of shame was predicted to cause greater NJRE intensity, as well as related concerns (i.e., neutralization urges), when compared to a guilt or control induction.