An investigation of forgiveness in an honor culture

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2019-01-01
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Castillo, Vanessa
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Susan E. Cross
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Psychology
The Department of Psychology may prepare students with a liberal study, or for work in academia or professional education for law or health-services. Graduates will be able to apply the scientific method to human behavior and mental processes, as well as have ample knowledge of psychological theory and method.
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Latinx Americans are members of an honor culture because of their Mediterranean cultural heritage whereas northern European Americans are members of a dignity culture. Members of an honor culture feel the need to maintain a positive reputation especially when that reputation is threatened. When there is a reputation threat, members of an honor culture perceive confronting as more appropriate than withdrawing from the situation. What has not been examined is forgiveness in the context of a reputation threat. Forgiveness is not seen positively in cultures of honor because it is perceived as risky to one’s reputation. I proposed that members of an honor culture may perceive forgiveness as moral if their reputation has been restored (in the scenario where they confronted the offender). I conducted an online scenario study to examine four different combinations of conflict reactions; confront and forgive, confront and hold a grudge, withdraw and forgive, and withdraw and hold a grudge. Participants read and indicated how moral they thought the protagonist’s conflict reaction was in response to a reputation threat (masculine, family, or feminine). Results showed that Latinx and northern European Americans rated the morality of the protagonist similarly across reputation threat scenarios. Specifically, they thought that withdrawing and forgiving the offender after a reputation threat was the most moral response.

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Wed May 01 00:00:00 UTC 2019