Emotion, regulation, and moral development

Annu Rev Psychol. 2000;51:665-97. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.51.1.665.


Research and theory on the role of emotion and regulation in morality have received considerable attention in the last decade. Much relevant work has concerned the role of moral emotions in moral behavior. Research on differences between embarrassment, guilt, and shame and their relations to moral behavior is reviewed, as is research on the association of these emotions with negative emotionality and regulation. Recent issues concerning the role of such empathy-related responses as sympathy and personal distress to prosocial and antisocial behavior are discussed, as is the relation of empathy-related responding to situational and dispositional emotionality and regulation. The development and socialization of guilt, shame, and empathy also are discussed briefly. In addition, the role of nonmoral emotions (e.g. anger and sadness), including moods and dispositional differences in negative emotionality and its regulation, in morally relevant behavior, is reviewed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Emotions*
  • Empathy
  • Guilt
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Morals*
  • Personality Development*
  • Shame
  • Socialization*