The Role of Communicating Social Emotions Accompanying Apologies in Forgiveness

Hareli, Shlomo; Eisikovits, Zvi
September 2006
Motivation & Emotion;Sep2006, Vol. 30 Issue 3, p189
Academic Journal
Apologies are an effective strategy used by transgressors to restore relationships with an injured party. Apologies are often motivated by emotions the transgressor feels in relation to the situation. We report the results of two studies that examined how an injured person's knowledge that an apology was driven by one or more of the social emotions of guilt, shame, and pity affected forgiveness. Findings suggest that the knowledge that guilt and/or shame motivated the apology increased forgiveness. In contrast, knowledge that pity induced the apology decreased forgiveness. These findings are consistent with the view that the communication of emotions has the social function of monitoring and shaping social relationships.


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