The impact of intergroup emotions on forgiveness in Northern Ireland
Tam T., Hewstone M., Cairns E., Tausch N., Maio G., Kenworthy J.
Although prejudice researchers have mainly focused their attention on changing attitudes toward outgroups, other outcome variables may also be important. In post-conflict reconciliation, intergroup forgiveness may play a crucial role in helping groups in conflict put the atrocities of the past behind them (Cairns, Tam, Hewstone, and Niens, 2005). Two studies showed that both the specific intergroup emotion of anger and infrahumanization (the attribution of more human emotions to the ingroup than to the outgroup) predicted decreased intergroup forgiveness in Northern Ireland. Results further revealed intergroup contact as a potential means of reducing anger toward the outgroup and improving attitudes toward them. This research integrated prior interpersonal theory with intergroup literature to examine the concept of intergroup forgiveness and its predictors. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for reconciliation in conflict societies. Copyright © 2006 Sage Publications.