Motivation and emotion/Book/2021/Gratitude

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What is gratitude, what causes it, what are its consequences, and how can it be fostered?
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Overview[edit | edit source]

Gratitude can be displayed by giving thanks.

(I would recommend adding some headings (sub headings in asap) )

"When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude" - G. K. Chesterton (cite this babe!) -L

Gratitude, a word we are continuously reading and hearing about. Is it merely another buzzword, or should we be paying more attention to this seemingly complex phenomenon?

Gratitude became popularised during the rise of positive psychology, thanks to Martin Seligman. Studies within the positive psychology space that consider gratitude including gratitude as a state, trait and a therapeutic tool.

Focus questions

  1. What causes gratitude?
  2. What are the consequences of gratitude?
  3. How can gratitude be fostered?

Gratitude defined[edit | edit source]

Gratitude in the short term and its causes[edit | edit source]

Gratitude is an important component of prosocial behaviour and social relationships.

The emotion of gratitude has been proposed to have emerged from an effort to increase prosocial behaviours and their reciprocation (Trivers, 1971). Think of a time that you had received a gift, compliment or some assistance. How did you feel? How did you want to act next? I would not be surprised if you are thinking of emotions such as thankfulness and warmth. It may be reasonable to believe that your next course of action may be to reciprocate that feeling back.

Watkins (2013) describes the antecedents of gratitude to begin with the awareness from an individual that they have received a benefit or gift. The more that an individual values said gift or benefit, will influence the intensity of gratitude in which they subsequently experience. Enhancement of this gratitude may be experiences upon the recognition of the "goodness" of the giver (Watkins, 2013).

Studies that explore what may cause gratitude have found that gratitude typically occurs when the recipient is open and rises above their ego to allow space for an advancing relationship with the giver (Algoe & Stanton, 2012).

  • Trivers (1971)[1] theorised that gratitude evolved to increase the likelihood that prosocial behaviours would be reciprocated, thus perpetuating reciprocal altruism and its associated fitness benefits
  • I suggest that the emotion of gratitude has been selected to regulate human response to altruistic acts and that the emotion is sensitive to the cost/benefit ratio of such acts.(Trivers, 1971)
  • Findings reveal that gratitude comes from situations in which the recipient transcends the ego and is open to advancing the relationship with the benefactor (Algoe & Stanton, 2012)

Gratitude in the long term and its consequences[edit | edit source]

  • Gratitude is an important component of prosocial behaviour and may contain an altruistic component , A "social lubricat"[spelling?] that encourages acts of cooperation and and social harmony (Tsang & Martin, 2017)[2]
  • Gratitude has positive social and personal consequences such as improved social relationships, increased reciprocity, and decreased distress (Yu, Cai, Shen, Gao & Zhou, 2017)[3]
  • Gratitude is beneficial to the formation and maintenance of close social relationships (Algoe, Haidt, & Gable, 2008)[4]
  • Adaptive outcomes in chronic stress and painful situations; The relational benefits that accrue from gratitude are dependent on interpersonal behaviour (Algoe & Stanton, 2012)[5]

Fostering gratitude[edit | edit source]

How can we encourage the development of gratitude?

  • Modelling
  • Self enhancement and Self presentation (self promotion and ingratiation) (Jones, 1964)(add a citation here; highlight, click "cite, add doi or add it manually)
  • Education

Summary[edit | edit source]

Why should we care about gratitude?

  • Positive psychological outcomes
  • Prosocial emotion (Tsang & Martin, 2017[6])

What is the day to day impact/ how does it improve living?

  • Social functioning
  • Alleviate pain and stress (Algoe & Stanton, 2012)[7]

Explore limitations

  • Lack of education/ wide spread evidence and research findings.

Important points about this section:

  1. What is the answer to the question in the sub-title (based on psychological theory and research)?
  2. What are the practical, take-home messages?

See also[edit | edit source]

Wikiversity chapter

Wikipedia pages

External links[edit | edit source]

Refrences[edit | edit source]

  1. Trivers, Robert L. (1971-03). "The Evolution of Reciprocal Altruism". The Quarterly Review of Biology 46 (1): 35–57. doi:10.1086/406755. ISSN 0033-5770. 
  2. Tsang, Jo-Ann; Martin, Stephen R. (2019-03-04). "Four experiments on the relational dynamics and prosocial consequences of gratitude". The Journal of Positive Psychology 14 (2): 188–205. doi:10.1080/17439760.2017.1388435. ISSN 1743-9760. 
  7. Algoe, Sara B.; Haidt, Jonathan; Gable, Shelly L. (2008). "Beyond reciprocity: Gratitude and relationships in everyday life.". Emotion 8 (3): 425–429. doi:10.1037/1528-3542.8.3.425. ISSN 1931-1516. PMID 18540759. PMC PMC2692821. 

TEE: I am not sure which of these are NOT linked above, so I have left them below for you to figure out :) Fairly sure most of them are cited already though

Algoe, S., Haidt, J., & Gable, S. (2008). Beyond reciprocity: Gratitude and relationships in everyday life. Emotion, 8(3), 425-429. doi: 10.1037/1528-3542.8.3.425

Algoe, S., & Stanton, A. (2012). Gratitude when it is needed most: Social functions of gratitude in women with metastatic breast cancer. Emotion, 12(1), 163-168. doi: 10.1037/a0024024

Trivers, R. (1971). The Evolution of Reciprocal Altruism. The Quarterly Review Of Biology, 46(1), 35-57. doi: 10.1086/406755

Tsang, J., & Martin, S. (2017). Four experiments on the relational dynamics and prosocial consequences of gratitude. The Journal Of Positive Psychology, 14(2), 188-205. doi: 10.1080/17439760.2017.1388435

Watkins, P. (2013). What Causes Gratitude?. Gratitude And The Good Life, 41-54. doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-7253-3_3

Yu, H., Cai, Q., Shen, B., Gao, X., & Zhou, X. (2017). Neural substrates and social consequences of interpersonal gratitude: Intention matters. Emotion, 17(4), 589-601. doi: 10.1037/emo0000258