The role of communicating social emotions accompanying apologies in forgiveness

Shlomo Hareli, Zvi Eisikovits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Apologies are an effective strategy used by transgressors to restore relationships with an injured party. Apologies are often motivated by emotions the transgressor feels in relation to the situation. We report the results of two studies that examined how an injured person's knowledge that an apology was driven by one or more of the social emotions of guilt, shame, and pity affected forgiveness. Findings suggest that the knowledge that guilt and/or shame motivated the apology increased forgiveness. In contrast, knowledge that pity induced the apology decreased forgiveness. These findings are consistent with the view that the communication of emotions has the social function of monitoring and shaping social relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-197
Number of pages9
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Apology
  • Forgiveness
  • Guilt
  • Pity
  • Shame
  • Social emotions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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