Parent of the Virtues?

Michael E. McCullough and Jo-Ann Tsang

in The Psychology of Gratitude

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780195150100
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199847389 | DOI:

Series: Series in Affective Science

Parent of the Virtues?

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This chapter describes the prosocial basis of gratitude by identifying three distinct functions of grateful emotions. It suggests that gratitude functions as a moral reinforcer, a moral motive and a moral barometer. Many scholars in the field of humanities have associated gratitude with morality and prosocial behavior and Cicero even called it the parent of the virtues. An analysis of social scientific research highlights the importance of gratitude as a social resource that is well worth understanding for the development of a society based on goodwill.

Keywords: gratitude; emotions; humanities; morality; prosocial behavior; goodwill; virtues; Cicero

Chapter.  7571 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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