Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Punishment plays important role in forgiveness

Date:
June 18, 2014
Source:
University of Adelaide
Summary:
It's easier for people to forgive someone for doing wrong against them if some form of punishment is involved, according to psychology researchers. "Justice and forgiveness are often considered to be opposites, but we've found that victims who punish their offender are more able to forgive and move on," one researcher says.

It's easier for people to forgive someone for doing wrong against them if some form of punishment is involved, according to psychology researchers at the University of Adelaide.

Related Articles


Dr Peter Strelan at the University of Adelaide's School of Psychology has been studying forgiveness in a bid to better understand how people can resolve personal conflict.

In a range of different scenarios involving someone who has done wrong -- a negligent friend; a criminal offender; and a troubled personal relationship -- Dr Strelan and colleagues found that people were more willing to forgive if those who had offended against them had been punished in some way.

"Justice and forgiveness are often considered to be opposites, but we've found that victims who punish their offender are more able to forgive and move on," Dr Strelan says.

"Punishment could take many different forms. It could be giving someone the 'silent treatment', which in itself is a very powerful psychological punishment. Or in the case of a criminal offender, knowing that a court of law has imposed a reasonable sentence and that justice is being done -- that may be enough for some people to forgive.

"That sense of justice, or getting 'just desserts', is important. However, in interpersonal relationships punishment should not be extreme or vengeful -- if it were, this would not help to repair the damage in the relationship and is likely to make things worse.

"For forgiveness to really work, there must be a sense that negative responses towards a transgressor are being replaced with positive ones. It's not about retaliation, it's about responding constructively and doing something about people's poor behavior toward you, in a way that works for both parties involved in the conflict," he says.

Dr Strelan says many people have a difficult time forgiving those who have done them wrong.

"When you get hurt by someone you naturally feel vulnerable, and the very idea of forgiving someone also makes a victim feel vulnerable. When some form of punishment is involved, the victim feels more empowered by that and is more able to forgive," he says.

As well as providing a better understanding of human behavior and emotions, Dr Strelan's research could help to inform clinical psychologists and relationship counselors.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Adelaide. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Adelaide. "Punishment plays important role in forgiveness." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140618100509.htm>.
University of Adelaide. (2014, June 18). Punishment plays important role in forgiveness. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140618100509.htm
University of Adelaide. "Punishment plays important role in forgiveness." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140618100509.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) The family of a Dallas nurse infected with Ebola in the US says doctors can no longer detect the virus in her. Despite the mounting death toll in West Africa, there are survivors there too. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins