Research Topic

Self-Conscious Emotions and Group-Identification - Theoretical, Empirical, and Normative Questions

About this Research Topic

Self-conscious or self-evaluative emotions have a crucial role in building our sense of self as individuals. They are also social and relational because other people may have an effect on how we feel about various dimensions of our selves. For example, sometimes we feel ashamed (and thus faulty, deficient, or unworthy in the eyes of others) because of shameful actions performed by people with a connection or relation to us. On other occasions, we might feel pride (and thus empowered, self-assertive, or self-confident) because of others’ commendable actions but also because of connections that can seem arbitrary. The belongings of other persons may affect our sense of self by inducing in us that sense of inferiority which is quintessential to envy. Furthermore, others’ opinions about ourselves may impact our emotional self-evaluation, triggering episodes of self-esteem or self-disesteem. Self-conscious emotions that display this social form have been labeled “hetero-induced”, “vicarious”, “reflected” (i.e., reflected glory or failure) or “group-based” (i.e., embodying or enacting self-relevant changes in group status or power).

Although self-conscious emotions have been at the center of lively debates in several disciplines, comparably little attention has been devoted to social forms of self-conscious emotions. The purpose of this Research Topic is to gather empirical and theoretical contributions that shed light on various aspects of self-conscious emotions felt based on group identification, and how sociality and self-consciousness intersect in them.

Specifically, some questions we aim to explore are:

• What do we mean by such expressions as “I am proud/ashamed of you”; should we read them literally, or do expressions of this kind have other meanings or functions in social life?

• What is the conceptual relationship between “hetero-induced” or “vicarious” emotions discussed in philosophy and “group-based” emotions studied in social psychology?

• How should we normatively evaluate the adaptiveness or appropriateness of these emotions from the perspective of an individual feeling the emotion on the one hand, and from the perspective of the group with which the person identifies on the other?

• What are the main forms of self-conscious emotions felt on the basis of group identification?

• What is the difference between effective self-evaluation triggered by another individual and those triggered by a group as such?

• What kind of cultural and contextual variation is there in social forms of pride and shame and their normative evaluation?

• How are group-based self-evaluative emotions related to shared or collective emotions? And what is special about shared or collective emotions of others as objects of group-based self-evaluative emotions? (E.g, under what circumstances can we come to be ashamed of the collective pride, arrogance or contempt of our own group?)

• What is it like to be the object of the pride, guilt or shame of others (e.g., in what sense can these emotions be regarded as quickly shared or “contagious”)?

• Are explanations based on different types or modes of group identification and relatedness sufficient to explain the occurrence of social and shared self-conscious emotions (e.g., are social identity and social fusion explanations complementary or contradictory)

To address these (and related) questions, we welcome original and innovative contributions that are empirical, theoretical, conceptual, or normative. The contributions may include philosophical and theoretical analyses; reports of theoretically grounded empirical studies from developmental psychology, social psychology, sociology; methodological contributions, as well as commentaries on existing key articles or other contributions to this Research Topic.


Keywords: Group-Identification, self-evaluation, Self-evaluative emotions, Group-based emotions, Social Self, self-conscious emotions, Pride, Shame, Envy, Self-Esteem


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Self-conscious or self-evaluative emotions have a crucial role in building our sense of self as individuals. They are also social and relational because other people may have an effect on how we feel about various dimensions of our selves. For example, sometimes we feel ashamed (and thus faulty, deficient, or unworthy in the eyes of others) because of shameful actions performed by people with a connection or relation to us. On other occasions, we might feel pride (and thus empowered, self-assertive, or self-confident) because of others’ commendable actions but also because of connections that can seem arbitrary. The belongings of other persons may affect our sense of self by inducing in us that sense of inferiority which is quintessential to envy. Furthermore, others’ opinions about ourselves may impact our emotional self-evaluation, triggering episodes of self-esteem or self-disesteem. Self-conscious emotions that display this social form have been labeled “hetero-induced”, “vicarious”, “reflected” (i.e., reflected glory or failure) or “group-based” (i.e., embodying or enacting self-relevant changes in group status or power).

Although self-conscious emotions have been at the center of lively debates in several disciplines, comparably little attention has been devoted to social forms of self-conscious emotions. The purpose of this Research Topic is to gather empirical and theoretical contributions that shed light on various aspects of self-conscious emotions felt based on group identification, and how sociality and self-consciousness intersect in them.

Specifically, some questions we aim to explore are:

• What do we mean by such expressions as “I am proud/ashamed of you”; should we read them literally, or do expressions of this kind have other meanings or functions in social life?

• What is the conceptual relationship between “hetero-induced” or “vicarious” emotions discussed in philosophy and “group-based” emotions studied in social psychology?

• How should we normatively evaluate the adaptiveness or appropriateness of these emotions from the perspective of an individual feeling the emotion on the one hand, and from the perspective of the group with which the person identifies on the other?

• What are the main forms of self-conscious emotions felt on the basis of group identification?

• What is the difference between effective self-evaluation triggered by another individual and those triggered by a group as such?

• What kind of cultural and contextual variation is there in social forms of pride and shame and their normative evaluation?

• How are group-based self-evaluative emotions related to shared or collective emotions? And what is special about shared or collective emotions of others as objects of group-based self-evaluative emotions? (E.g, under what circumstances can we come to be ashamed of the collective pride, arrogance or contempt of our own group?)

• What is it like to be the object of the pride, guilt or shame of others (e.g., in what sense can these emotions be regarded as quickly shared or “contagious”)?

• Are explanations based on different types or modes of group identification and relatedness sufficient to explain the occurrence of social and shared self-conscious emotions (e.g., are social identity and social fusion explanations complementary or contradictory)

To address these (and related) questions, we welcome original and innovative contributions that are empirical, theoretical, conceptual, or normative. The contributions may include philosophical and theoretical analyses; reports of theoretically grounded empirical studies from developmental psychology, social psychology, sociology; methodological contributions, as well as commentaries on existing key articles or other contributions to this Research Topic.


Keywords: Group-Identification, self-evaluation, Self-evaluative emotions, Group-based emotions, Social Self, self-conscious emotions, Pride, Shame, Envy, Self-Esteem


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 July 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 July 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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