Apologies demanded yet devalued: normative dilution in the age of apology

Okimoto, Tyler G., Wenzel, Michael and Hornsey, Matthew J. (2015) Apologies demanded yet devalued: normative dilution in the age of apology. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 60 133-136. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2015.05.008

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Author Okimoto, Tyler G.
Wenzel, Michael
Hornsey, Matthew J.
Title Apologies demanded yet devalued: normative dilution in the age of apology
Journal name Journal of Experimental Social Psychology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1096-0465
0022-1031
Publication date 2015-09-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.jesp.2015.05.008
Volume 60
Start page 133
End page 136
Total pages 4
Place of publication Maryland Heights, MO United States
Publisher Academic Press
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Abstract Dramatic increases in the issuance of political apologies over the last two decades mean that we now live in the “age of apology”. But what does this surge in frequency mean for the effectiveness of intergroup apologies in promoting forgiveness? In the current research we propose a paradoxical “normative dilution” effect whereby behavioral norms increase the perceived appropriateness of an action while at the same time reducing its symbolic value. We experimentally manipulated the salience of the age-of-apology norm prior to assessing participant (N = 128) reactions to past unjust treatment of ingroup POWs by the Japanese during WWII. The apologetic norm increased victim group members' desire for an apology in response to the harm. However, after reading the actual apology, the invocation of the norm decreased perceived apology sincerity and subsequent willingness to forgive. Thus, although apologetic trends may suggest greater contemporary interest in seeking reconciliation and harmony, their inflationary use risks devaluing apologies and undermining their effectiveness.
Keyword Intergroup apology
Forgiveness
Reconciliation
Intergroup conflict
Norms
Normative dilution
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
UQ Business School Publications
School of Psychology Publications
 
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