|Feeling weighed down by guilt? Research shows subjective experiences of weight feel heavier when a person recalls situations that induce feelings of guilt.|
Researchers have shown, through a series of experiments, that the heaviness of guilt is a very real thing. They found evidence that the emotions attached to guilt can be "grounded in subjective bodily sensation."
Martin Day from Princeton University, NJ, and Ramona Bobocel from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, published the results of their four studies in the journal PLOS ONE.
"People often say guilt is like a 'weight on one's conscience,' and we examined whether guilt is actually embodied as a sensation of weight," they say.
Their research touches on an emerging field in psychology called "embodied cognition," which they say looks at how thoughts and emotions can interact with the body to guide behavior.
They focused on guilt because they say it helps regulate our moral behavior by helping us "correct our mistakes and prevent future wrongdoing."
Additionally, the researchers say there is no prior research that has studied the embodiment of guilt until now.