In this review, I use Emmons and McCullough's excellent volume on gratitude as a platform for discussing several issues in emotion, cultural, and moral psychology. First I summarize this exceptionally rich edited book, which provides accessible reviews of the philosophy, theology, anthropology, sociology, evolutionary biology, and psychology of gratitude. I next take up four questions inspired by the book. First, I consider whether gratitude is an emotion, and how to operationally define emotions. Second, I discuss the cognitive components of gratitude, including the appraisal structure of gratitude and whether gratitude can occur without an attribution. Third, I take up the question of whether gratitude is indeed a positive emotion, and propose some complications in the nature of positive emotions. Last, I consider potential sources of individual, cultural, and religious differences in gratitude, such as whether gratitude is mostly about internal feelings or the fulfillment of social obligations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science