Facilitating Reconciliation through Collective Apologies: How Apology Sincerity and In-Group Response Affect the Attitudes of Apologising Perpetrator Group Members toward the Victim Group

Marie-Ann Wright (2010). Facilitating Reconciliation through Collective Apologies: How Apology Sincerity and In-Group Response Affect the Attitudes of Apologising Perpetrator Group Members toward the Victim Group Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Marie-Ann Wright
Thesis Title Facilitating Reconciliation through Collective Apologies: How Apology Sincerity and In-Group Response Affect the Attitudes of Apologising Perpetrator Group Members toward the Victim Group
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Fiona Barlow
Total pages 82
Abstract/Summary Collective apologies are delivered with the overarching purpose of facilitating reconciliation between groups in conflict. While past research has examined how victim groups respond to collective apologies, little work has looked at how members of perpetrator groups react to apologies made on their behalf. In the present thesis we examined how collective apologies were received by members of a perpetrator group as a function of apology sincerity (Study 1 and 2) and in-group response (Study 2). Specifically, we looked at the impact of apology sincerity and in-group response on participants' support for the apology, their corresponding willingness to reconcile and levels of intergroup avoidance. In Study 1 (N=34) participants were asked to read a text excerpt of a political apology (either sincere or insincere). We found that participants were able to distinguish between the two apologies on a measure of sincerity, but their level of support for each apology was not significantly different. In Study 2 (N=77) participants were again presented with either a sincere or insincere apology and information about whether other in-group members typically accepted or rejected this apology. We found that when other in-group members were seen to accept the apology, participants’ support for the apology and their willingness to reconcile was significantly increased. Interestingly, participants expressed a significantly greater desire for intergroup avoidance when the in-group was seen to reject a sincere apology. Taken together our results indicate that in order for collective apologies to promote reconciliation, other in-group members must be seen to be accepting of the apology. The theoretical and practical implications of this research are also discussed.

 
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