New York Magazine:
A lot of us know someone who is a bit more guilt-prone than they should be, liable to nose-dive into a shame spiral over seemingly minor incidents. A new study hints at some of the effects this trait could have in the workplace or the classroom: Guilt-prone people may be less likely to want to team up on projects out of fear they will disappoint their colleagues.
In a study recently published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Scott Wiltermuth of USC and Taya Cohen of Carnegie Mellon conducted three experiments online and two involving face-to-face interactions in which researchers first gauged participants’ level of guilt-proneness and then asked them, in a variety of ways, whether they wanted to team up with a partner on a task, such as answering some quiz-style questions. If they teamed up, the money they earned would depend on both their performance and their partners’, while if they didn’t it would depend only on theirs.
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