The Effectiveness of Empowering and Obligation Shifting Intergroup Apologies for Perpetrators and Victims

Wong, Jane (2014). The Effectiveness of Empowering and Obligation Shifting Intergroup Apologies for Perpetrators and Victims Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Wong, Jane
Thesis Title The Effectiveness of Empowering and Obligation Shifting Intergroup Apologies for Perpetrators and Victims
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2014-10-08
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Matthew Hornsey
Total pages 77
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary There has been a surge in official public apologies for current and historical group offenses in recent years (Barkan, 2000). However, the expected link between apologies and forgiveness at the intergroup level is rarely found. This study draws on the Needs-Based Model of Reconciliation to argue that apologies are more likely to be successful if they explicitly avoid inferring that the obligation to forgive now rests on the victim group’s shoulders. Participants read about a real-life transgression, in which an Indian student was stabbed by an Australian teenager, resulting in his death a few hours later. This transgression was part of a broader series of attacks on Indian students living in Australia. Participants were either members of the victim group (i.e. Indians, n = 96), or members of the perpetrator group (i.e. Australians, n = 130). Participants were then exposed to information that the Australian government had either provided an “empowering” apology (aiming to restore a sense of power among Indians), an “obligation shifting” apology (which transfers the responsibility of reconciliation to the other party) or no apology. Overall, Indians felt more empowered than Australians, and were also more willing to forgive. Contrary to predictions, the type of government response had no effect on forgiveness. There was, however, a tendency for Indians to report lower response satisfaction, perceived remorse and perceptions of moral image in the no apology condition compared to either of the apology conditions. Failure to find differences between the empowering and the obligation shifting apologies on any variable may be due to unsuccessful manipulations of these variables. The practical and theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.
Keyword Group identity
Apologies
Reconciliation

 
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Created: Fri, 29 May 2015, 10:14:03 EST by Louise Grainger on behalf of School of Psychology