When stepping outside the self is not enough: A self-distanced perspective reduces the experience of basic but not of self-conscious emotions Academic Article uri icon


  • Despite recent increased interest in self-conscious emotions, few studies have investigated their regulation. The current research examines the effectiveness of self-perspective in regulating negative self-conscious (guilt, shame) versus basic (anger, sadness) emotions. We predict that adopting a distanced perspective on the self would attenuate the experience of anger and sadness, as previous research has shown (e.g., Kross et al., 2005 ). However, because the experience of self-conscious emotions involves self-evaluation as well as the evaluation of the self from the perspective of others, a self-distanced perspective may enable these emotions and fail to attenuate the experience of shame and guilt. As predicted, a self-distanced perspective attenuated feelings of sadness and anger, but not of shame and guilt. These findings suggest the appraisal of the experienced emotion (i.e., whether it involves self-evaluations and/or the perspective of others) may influence the effectiveness of emotion-regulation strategies.

publication date

  • January 1, 2013