In this study, we investigated whether the moral self-licensing effect, a phenomenon where the past experience of moral behavior allows for immorality, alleviates guilt and prosocial behavior accompanying immoral behavior. As a moral licensing manipulation, we used an autobiographical recalling task that asked participants to recall their experiences where they engaged in prosocial behavior toward their friends in the past (e.g., Cornelissen, Bashshur, Rode, & Le Menestrel, 2013; Jordan, Mullen, & Murnighan, 2011). Subsequently, we manipulated the participants’ feelings of guilt using the scenario method. The results showed a significant interaction between moral licensing and guilt manipulation. More specifically, in the guilt-induced condition, participants who recalled their prosocial experiences felt less guilt toward present immoral behavior than those who did not. Further, for prosocial behavior, we conducted a moderated mediation analysis using guilt scores as a mediator and guilt manipulation as a moderator. The results showed that, only in the guilt-induced condition, moral licensing reduced prosocial behavior through the guilt scores. These indicate that last behavior as well as behavioral history what they had done before influences guilt and guilt-induced behaviors.
Previous studies have revealed a correlation between self-focused rumination and the forgiveness of self and others. However, the correlation between self-focused reflection and two dimensions of self-esteem: contingent self-esteem and sense of authenticity has not yet been studied. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of self-focused rumination and reflection on the forgiveness of others and on negative and positive forgiveness of self when mediated by contingent self-esteem and sense of authenticity. To test the validity of the model used in this study, structural equation modeling and mediation analysis were used to analyze data collected from 247 undergraduate students. When contingent self-esteem was the mediator, the results showed a correlation between self-focused rumination and both negative and positive forgiveness of self. When a sense of authenticity was the mediator, there was a correlation between self-focused rumination and positive forgiveness of both self and others.
Rumination has been associated with impaired attentional control. People with ruminative tendencies may experience problems in everyday life because they fail to divide attention between internal and external information; they must cope with external events even as they become trapped in rumination. To clarify the characteristics of negative rumination, we investigated the relationship of negative rumination (“negative rumination trait” and “uncontrollability of negative rumination”) with divided attention between internal and external information. Fifty-eight university students performed a divided attention task (dual task) consisting of (1) a primary, external attention task, in which they were asked to press a button corresponding to the location of an asterisk displayed on a computer screen, and (2) a secondary, internal attention task, in which they were asked to retrieve words from memory. The results showed that the capacity of divided attention was correlated with “negative rumination trait” in men and with “uncontrollability of negative rumination” in women, suggesting that people with higher ruminative tendencies had more difficulty dividing attention between internal and external information.
The Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale for Children (LEAS-C) is a scenario-based assessment of the ability to identify and describe the emotions of self and others. The present study is aimed at developing the Japanese version of the LEAS-C (J-LEAS-C) and examining its reliability and validity. The translated version of the LEAS-C and the measures of empathy and alexithymic tendencies were administered to 299 junior high school students. The J-LEAS-C showed sufficient inter-rater reliability and high internal consistency among the scenarios. A confirmatory factor analysis revealed the acceptable fit indices of the theoretically-expected one-factor model. As expected, emotional awareness was positively associated with two dimensions of empathy: “empathetic concern” and “cognitive empathy,” and showed a weak negative correlation with one of the factors of the alexithymic tendencies: “externally-oriented thinking.” Finally, the J-LEAS-C scores showed a gender difference consistent with previous studies in which girls scored higher than boys. Although the practical usefulness and cultural aspects that may influence the scores remain an issue, these findings support the reliability and validity of the J-LEAS-C.