I feel you feel what I feel: Perceived perspective-taking promotes victims’ conciliatory attitudes because of inferred emotions in the offender

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    Abstract

    In the context of bullying in a nursing workplace, we test the argument that an offender's perspective-taking promotes victim conciliation, mediated by perceived perspective-taking, that is, the extent to which the victim perceives the offender as taking their perspective. Perceived perspective-taking facilitates the attribution of moral emotions (remorse, etc.) to the offender, thereby promoting conciliatory victim responses. However, perceived perspective-taking would be qualified by the extent to which the severity of consequences expressed in the offender's perspective-taking matches or surpasses the severity for the victim. In Studies 1 and 2 (Ns = 141 and 122, respectively), victims indicated greater trust and/or forgiveness when the offender had taken the victim's perspective. This was sequentially mediated by perceived perspective-taking and victim's inference that the offender had felt moral emotions. As predicted, in Study 2 (but not Study 1), severity of consequences qualified victims' perceived perspective-taking. Study 3 (N = 138) examined three potential mechanisms for the moderation by severity. Victims attributed greater perspective-taking to the offender when the consequences were less severe than voiced by the offender, suggesting victims' appreciation of the offender's generous appraisal. Attributions of perspective-taking and of moral emotions to the offender may play an important role in reconciliation processes. Key outcome: To the extent that victims perceive the offender as taking their perspective (perceived perspective-taking), they infer that the offender feels more moral emotions, prompting victims to be more conciliatory. Perceived perspective-taking benefits from the offender over-stating the consequences to the victim.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)O103-O120
    Number of pages18
    JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
    Volume48
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

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