Parent of the Virtues? The Prosocial Contours of Gratitude

Michael McCullough, Jo Ann Tsang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

11 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Psychology of Gratitude
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780199847389, 0195150104, 9780195150100
StatePublished - Mar 22 2012


  • Cicero
  • Emotions
  • Goodwill
  • Gratitude
  • Humanities
  • Morality
  • Prosocial behavior
  • Virtues

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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