On gratitude

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-276
Number of pages23
JournalSocial Justice Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Culture
  • Emotion
  • Gratitude
  • Morality
  • Prosocial
  • Religion
  • Spirituality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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