Feeling Bad and Doing Good: Forgivability through the Lens of Uninvolved Third Parties

Shoko Watanabe, Sean M. Laurent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Previous forgiveness research has mostly focused on victims forgiveness of transgressors, and offenders post-transgression efforts intended to promote victim forgiveness have been collectively branded as apology. However, decisions concerning forgiveness frequently occur outside of dyadic contexts, and the unique roles of repentance and atonement in determining forgivability of offenders, despite their preeminence in theology and law, have received little empirical attention. Across five experiments (N = 938), we show that repentance and atonement independently influence third-party perception of forgivability for a variety of harms, even in disinterested contexts. Our findings provide a systematic examination of decisions about forgivability disentangled from direct personal involvement, demonstrating that components of apology known to facilitate forgiveness in victims also increase perceived forgivability from unharmed observers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-49
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Psychology
Volume51
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

Keywords

  • atonement
  • cooperation
  • forgivability
  • moral judgment
  • repentance
  • third-party

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Feeling Bad and Doing Good: Forgivability through the Lens of Uninvolved Third Parties'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this