The appraisal gap: Why victim and transgressor groups disagree on the need for a collective apology

[Speaker] Hornsey, Matthew J:1
[Co-author] Okimoto, Tyler:1, Wenzel, Michael:2
1:University of Queensland (Australia), 2:Flinders University (Australia)

After an intergroup transgression, victims often advocate for a collective apology that the transgressor group is reluctant to provide. We argue that this dynamic is partly caused by an appraisal gap: a tendency for victims to see events through an intergroup lens whereas transgressors see the same events in terms of interpersonal aggression (a "bad apple" attribution). In three experiments, participants read about individuals assaulting members of a racial outgroup. Consistent with predictions, victim group members were more likely than transgressors to see the events as typical of the transgressor group, more likely to appraise the events as intergroup, and through these processes were more desiring of a collective apology. Transgressors' reluctance to issue a collective apology was not a sign of harm minimization: indeed they were less forgiving of the individual transgressors than were victims. Cognitive and motivational mechanisms were proposed, though more evidence was found for the former.
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