Baltic Psychology and Management University College,
One of the central topics in the studies of O. K. Tikhomirov and his collaborators was the link between cognitive and emotional processes. It is important not only how emotions are involved in the process of the productive performance of thinking tasks but also how cognitive processes mediate the involvement of the emotions in the regulation of activity. The efficacy of this regulation is represented through goal achievement and also through the correction of one’s actions in the case of wrongdoing. Reformation of one’s errors is the best way to improve one’s abilities and skills. In moral philosophy the central instance of this reformation is conscience, which ensures positive or negative self-appraisal of one’s own and others’ actions. Unfortunately, in psychology this concept remains unclear. The goal of this article is to clarify it in the context of the contemporary psychology of emotion. Studies of emotions have shown the significance of appraisal in determining particular feelings. The special role of moral emotions, mainly guilt and shame, in the self-correction of one’s actions is emphasized. According to this model, guilt and shame in particular can represent twinges of conscience in the mind because the cognitive dissonance between our (or others’) actions and values shapes the basis of all these phenomena.
Keywords: moral emotions, conscience, guilt, shame, cognitive dissonance