Lewis, Michael - Self Conscious Evaluative Emotions

The Structure of Concern Project compares many theoretical models from many disciplines to the Adizes PAEI model, arguing that they must all be reflecting the same underlying phenomenon. One concern structure model is described below.

Self-conscious emotions such as shame and pride emerge late in affective development. They are not associated with specific stereotypical facial expressions like joy, sadness and anger are. They also require an evaluative sense of self, and a capacity for cognitive elaboration about the impact of events on that self. Lewis (1993) proposes that these evaluative processes involve standards, rules and goals (S-R-G) that are culturally acquired. SRGs allow people to evaluate their own actions, thoughts and feelings, to determine if they have failed or succeeded.

The evaluation of success or failure interacts with attributions about the extent of the self implicated in this outcome. An attribution can be specific to decisions and actions on one particular occasion, or they can be global attributions focused on the total self.

This interaction between evaluative and attributive processes produces four categories of self-conscious emotion, which are PAEI relevant in two ways. People who are sharply dominant in each PAEI style will be most susceptible to the corresponding self-conscious emotion. Furthermore, each PAEI style specializes in the evaluative and attributive processes described for each quadrant. The emotions are listed below:

P – Pride (Success, Specific): Pleasure related to a particular action, hence limited but repeatable.

A – Guilt, Regret (Failure, Specific): An evaluation of failed behavior, combined with a narrow focus on feature or actions of the self that are the perceived causes of the failure. Corrective action and repair may be possible, which can provoke reparative behavior.

E – Hubris, Grandiosity (Success, Global): Evaluation of success attributed to the global totality of the self. Rewarding but hard to sustain, so people seek out or invent situations that will provoke or revive it. They may alter their SRGs or re-evaluate their parameters for defining success and failure against existing SRGs. The comparative evaluations required to maintain hubris can damage social relationships.

I – Shame (Failure, Global): Shame is the experience of a defective self, global failure and violation of an SRG. It is hard to shed this emotion, and people sometimes cope with this inescapability through dissociation or flight.

Self-evaluative emotions are crucial for dramatic and narrative constructions, and many stories begin and end with either the loss and regaining of the conditions for success, or the loss of and return to favorable evaluations of self, thoughts and actions. Stories interrogate SRGs, with the events of the story revealing their adequacy or inadequacy, and the value of their being changed or left in place.

1. Lewis, M. (1993). “Self-Conscious Emotions: Embarrassment, Pride, Shame and Guilt.” In M. Lewis, & J. M. Haviland (Editors) Handbook of Emotions (pp. 563-594). New York: Guilford.
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