University of Surrey

Test tubes in the lab Research in the ATI Dance Research

Cleansing the soul by hurting the flesh: The guilt reducing effect of pain

Bastian, B, Jetten, J and Fasoli, F (2011) Cleansing the soul by hurting the flesh: The guilt reducing effect of pain Psychological Science, 22 (3). pp. 334-335.

Full text not available from this repository.


Pain purifies. History is replete with examples of ritualized or self-inflicted pain aimed at achieving purification (Glucklich, 2001). Some people feel that they can achieve reparation for their sins by simply experiencing pain; this may be why seeking self-punishment is a basic response to feelings of guilt (Freud, 1916/1957; Nelissen & Zeelenberg, 2009). Why are pain and suffering believed to serve as atonement for sin? One reason may be that the experience of physical pain alleviates feelings of guilt associated with immoral behavior (Tangney, Stuewig, & Mashek, 2007). There has been very little research on the psychological benefits of experiencing pain. We tested two hypotheses relating to when and why people are likely to be motivated to experience pain—that people should be more motivated to subject themselves to a painful experience when they are reminded of their own immoral deeds, and that the experience of pain should reduce feelings of guilt.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : Psychology
Divisions : Surrey research (other units)
Authors :
Bastian, B
Jetten, J
Date : March 2011
DOI : 10.1177/0956797610397058
Copyright Disclaimer : © The Author(s) 2011
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 17 May 2017 10:48
Last Modified : 24 Jan 2020 20:04

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

Information about this web site

© The University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, United Kingdom.
+44 (0)1483 300800