Official public apology effects on victim group members’ evaluations of the perpetrator group
intergroup apology, reconciliation, historical injustice
Many scholars, politicians, and pundits speculate that apologies and reparations for historical injustices improve intergroup relations and affirm social identities. We examined these questions in two studies. In Study 1, we surveyed a group of Chinese and non-Chinese Canadians before and after the Canadian government apologized for unjust policies enforced on Chinese immigrants between 1885 and 1947. In Study 2, we randomly assigned Canadians to read that an apology had or had not been offered for a harm either committed or experienced by Canada. In each study, we found that victim group members evaluated the perpetrator group more favorably after redress was offered. Apologies weakly and inconsistently affected social identity evaluations amongst victim and perpetrator groups. We discuss the psychological and policy implications of the results.
Blatz, C. W., Day, M., & Schryer, E. (2014). Official public apologies improve victim group members’ evaluations of the perpetrator group. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 46, 337-345. doi: 10.1037/a0031729
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