Is Shame Managed Through Mind-Wandering?


  • Neda Sedighimornani


Shame is a notoriously unpleasant emotion, and although claims about the mechanisms through which we might manage it are none too scarce, relatively little empirical evidence is available concerning how people tend to cope with it. As such, the present study sought to investigate the effects of shame on mind-wandering. To do this, 120 participants were recruited and systematically assigned to one of the three groups, namely shame, pride, or control condition, and traits shame and self-compassion were measured for each participant. In order to assess the frequency of the incidents of mind-wandering, the participants were asked to recall a personal experience of shame or pride and then a reading task of few pages of geography followed. The duration participants spent on the reading task, their scores on a reading comprehension test, their self-reported frequency of mind-wandering, and their reported number of unrelated thoughts during the recall were used as a measure of mind-wandering. The results demonstrated that participants in the shame condition did not differ from those in the pride and control conditions in terms of mind-wandering. In spite of that, participants who had initially scored higher on trait shame (i.e., suffered from chronic shame) reported a significantly higher frequency of mind-wandering. This being the result, the underlying reasons for, and implications of, the findings were discussed.