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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Morality, and particularly the capacity to experience shame and/or guilt, may be viewed as sediments of early experiences with the commitment of acts of crime and rule-breaking and the consequences of these acts. This chapter addresses the specific roles of moral beliefs and moral emotions such as shame and guilt and how they are related to criminal decisions. It presents an overview of relevant theoretical frameworks that explain why and how moral beliefs and moral emotions affect criminal decision making. The focus of this chapter is particularly on anticipations of shame and guilt, two powerful and painful emotions that humans naturally want to avoid. In addition, findings from empirical studies are reviewed, and implications for criminological theory and prevention are addressed.

Keywords: morality, moral emotions, guilt, shame, criminal decision making

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