Collective apology, hope and forgiveness

Michael Wenzel, Farid Anvari, Melissa de Vel-Palumbo, Simon Bury

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    A notion of hope is adopted to analyse the effects of collective apologies on forgiveness. While apologies invoke the possibility of a more harmonious relationship, victims need to actually desire a reconciled future in order to seize the possibility. Hope results from the combination of possibility and desirability and, in turn, promotes forgiveness. Three online studies referring to international incidents were conducted. Studies 1 and 2 referred to Indonesia's execution of two Australians found guilty of drug smuggling, an act considered an affront by many Australians. Study 3 referred to a (fabricated) incident of desecration of Australian war graves in the Philippines. In all three studies, an alleged apology from the offending country led to greater perceived possibility of reconciliation outcomes; possibility was positively related to hope particularly when the Australian participants regarded the reconciliation outcomes as desirable (measured in Study 1, manipulated in Studies 2 and 3); hope was positively related to forgiveness. The analysis in terms of hope illuminates limiting and enabling conditions of the conciliatory effects of collective apologies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)75-87
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2017


    • Collective apology
    • Forgiveness
    • Hope
    • Intergroup apology
    • Reconciliation


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