Guilt

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Guilt is a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person realizes or believes—accurately or not—that he or she has violated a moral standard, and bears significant responsibility for that violation.[1] It is closely related to the concept of remorse.

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Psychology of guilt

In psychology, as well as in ordinary language, guilt is an affective state in which one experiences conflict at having done something that one believes one should not have done (or conversely, having not done something one believes one should have done). It gives rise to a feeling which does not go away easily, driven by 'conscience'. Sigmund Freud described this as the result of a struggle between the ego and the superego parental imprinting. Freud rejected the role of God as punisher in times of illness or rewarder in time of wellness. While removing one source of guilt from patients, he described another. This was the unconscious force within the individual that contributed to illness. The victim of someone else's accident or bad luck may be offered criticism, the theory being that the victim may be at fault for having attracted the other person's hostility.[2] Guilt and its causes, merits, and demerits are common themes in psychology and psychiatry. It is often associated with depression, and sometimes anxiety.

Lack of guilt of psychopaths

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