Gratitude in the UK: A new prototype analysis and a cross-cultural comparison

Blaire Morgan, Liz Gulliford, Kristján Kristjánsson

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


The present research examined gratitude in the UK, contrasted features of gratitude with those identified in the USA, and explored whether gratitude is associated with virtue. In three studies, we demonstrated that gratitude is prototypically organized; that there are cross-cultural differences between UK and US descriptions of gratitude; and that judgments of gratitude are closely related to judgments of virtue. Study 1 demonstrated that the frequencies of negative attributes are considerably greater in the UK than in the USA. We suggest that gratitude has a common core with culturally ubiquitous features, but also socially constructed elements specific to individual cultures. Study 2 noted discrepancies between centrality and frequency ratings. We propose that prototype analyses should consider both intuitive frequency ratings and the deliberative processes involved in assessing centrality. In Study 3, we noted a significant correlation between judgments of gratitude and judgments of virtue, suggesting the two are intrinsically linked.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4
Pages (from-to)281-294
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Positive Psychology
Issue number4
Early online date31 Mar 2014
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Mar 2014


  • character strengths
  • gratitude
  • indebtedness
  • prototype analysis
  • virtue


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