Article

Too tired to take offense: When depletion promotes forgiveness

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

Although self-regulatory depletion has a broad range of adverse consequences, recent research has established that it can yield prosocial outcomes under certain circumstances. The present experiment examined the interaction between depletion and offense severity on forgiveness of romantic offenses. Consistent with prior research, results revealed that depleted (vs. non-depleted) individuals were less forgiving of severe offenses. In a counterintuitive reversal, however, depleted (vs. non-depleted) individuals were more forgiving of mild offenses. This crossover interaction effect was mediated by perception of offense severity, suggesting that depleted individuals may be especially forgiving of mild offenses because they are simply too tired to take offense at their partner's bad behavior. These findings identify one important instance in which depletion can promote salutary relationship processes.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... For this process to occur, people must be motivated (Finkel et al., 2002;McCullough, 2008) and cognitively able (Burnette et al., 2014;Pronk et al., 2010) to transform their negative affect into more constructive relationship responses. That is, when executive control is high, deliberate processing allows people to base their forgiveness responses on the integration of various kinds of information, such as their relationship value (van der Wal et al., 2014), the exploitation risks (Burnette et al., 2012), the severity of the transgression (Stanton & Finkel, 2012), the domain of transgression, and so forth (Rusbult et al., 1991). However, although it is clear that forgiveness sometimes depends on effortful processing, other work suggests that forgiveness may also occur effortlessly in close relationships (Pronk & Righetti, 2015). ...
... However, although it is clear that forgiveness sometimes depends on effortful processing, other work suggests that forgiveness may also occur effortlessly in close relationships (Pronk & Righetti, 2015). In fact, research shows that people seem automatically inclined to forgive close others as compared to nonclose others (Karremans & Aarts, 2007) and that the willingness to forgive romantic offenses can arise when executive control is low (Karremans & Aarts, 2007;Stanton & Finkel, 2012). To date, however, the factors driving such effortless forgiveness inclinations remain unknown. ...
... Although forgiveness has long been conceptualized as requiring executive control (Burnette et al., 2014), not everyone is high in trait executive control (Miyake & Friedman, 2012), nor do people always have high executive control across all situations (Hofmann et al., 2012). And yet, forgiveness nevertheless seems to occur in relationship contexts that do not allow people to rely on executive control (Karremans & Aarts, 2007;Stanton & Finkel, 2012) and, until now, research remained mute regarding the source of these impulsive responses. Our work contributes to this gap in showing that, under such conditions, people's forgiving responses are guided by automatic and effortless processes, such as by the spontaneous affective associations that they have toward their partner. ...
Article
Recent work suggests that implicit partner evaluations have long-term implications for relationship success. However, little evidence shows whether and under which conditions implicit partner evaluations affect relationship maintenance processes in daily life, especially those exhibited in situations that may be highly decisive for the fate of the relationship, such as when partners hurt each other. Drawing upon dual-process theories, we predicted that, when executive control is limited—either as a trait or a state—people’s implicit partner evaluations influence forgiveness toward their partner. Results revealed that when temporarily impairing people’s executive control with an experimental manipulation (Study 1), or for people with lower trait executive control (Study 2), more positive implicit partner evaluations were associated with more forgiveness, both in laboratory settings and in an 8-day diary. These findings highlight the importance of implicit partner evaluations under specific, yet common, conditions for promoting reparatory responses that are key to relationship success.
... Some of the participants were explicitly aware of the detrimental impact of unforgiveness on themselves at the same time and felt the positive impact of their practice. Supporting the results of the study, forgiveness appears to be driven by fatigue due to negative emotions from not forgiving although this does not apply to severe cases (Stanton & Finkel, 2012). (1), 72-88 ...
Article
Full-text available
Evidence of the effectiveness of forgiveness meditation intervention among college students in 'emerging adulthood' is still limited. This study aims to examine the effect of forgiveness meditation intervention toward forgiveness, self-forgiveness, forgiveness of others, and forgiveness of situations among college students. This study used a quasi-experimental one-group pretest-posttest design with measurements follow-up two weeks after treatment ended. The subjects were "emerging adulthood", as many as 9 college students from Diponegoro University, Indonesia (MAge = 20.67; SDAge = 0.5; Female = 77.8%). The results of quantitative analysis using statistical test of Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test between pretest and posttest showed a significant increase in forgiveness (z =-2.668, p < .01), self-forgiveness (z =-2.670, p < .01), and forgiveness of situations (z =-2.384, p < .05). Testing between posttest and follow-up were not significant (p > .05). However, the test results between pretest and follow-up on these three variables were still significant, z =-2.668, p <.01; z =-2.673, p < .01; and z =-2.388, p < .05, respectively. In contrast, no significant increase in the variable of forgiveness of others (p > .05). The qualitative analysis and further discussions are also presented. Keywords: college student; emerging adulthood; forgiveness; meditation. https://ejournal.undip.ac.id/index.php/psikologi/article/view/33220
... In line with this idea, Righetti, Finkenauer, and Finkel (2013) showed that in highly committed relationships, one's capacity for self-control can prevent people from making certain types of sacrifice for their partner. Similarly, in the domain of forgiveness, research by Stanton and Finkel (2012) showed that a higher level of self-control is related to lower forgiveness of mild transgressions. These findings suggest that in close relationships, partners may need selfcontrol to override an automatic response in favor of the relationship or partner and thereby maintain an optimal balance between self-and relational interest. ...
Article
Full-text available
Do partners' levels of self-control and forgiveness change over the course of marriage? Based on the idea that marriage may function as a training ground for these vital relationship abilities, we hypothesized that people increase their levels of self-control and forgiveness over time and that these developments take place simultaneously. We tested these predictions among 199 newlywed couples in the first 4 years of marriage, using a dyadic latent growth curves analysis. Confirming our hypotheses, results showed significant increases in self-control and forgiveness as well as a positive concurrent correlation between these variables. However, the developments of self-control and forgiveness were unrelated. So, while people become more self-controlled and forgiving over the course of a marriage, these developments do not coincide.
... Put differently, although high relationship value (e.g., closeness) may automatically induce the willingness to forgive, executive control is required to translate such intentions into actual forgiveness. Nevertheless, an interesting issue for future studies is to identify the factors that determine when forgiveness requires executive control resources, and when it may occur relatively automatically-for example, when relationshipmaintenance goals are highly salient, or when the offense is less severe (Stanton & Finkel, 2012). ...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research demonstrated that perceived relationship value is a strong predictor of forgiveness. Here we suggest that relationship value may not be sufficient. Given that executive control is an important facilitator of forgiveness, we predicted that relationship value and executive control should interact toward promoting forgiveness. Using different indicators of executive control, including adults and children samples, measured or experimentally varied relationship value, and both self-report and behavioral forgiveness measures, across four studies we found support for our main prediction: Relationship value was positively associated with forgiveness; however, this association was mostly pronounced among individuals high (vs. low) in executive control. In addition, executive control was positively associated with forgiveness, but particularly in relationships of high (vs. low) relationship value. These findings suggest that relationship value and executive control in combination are associated with higher interpersonal forgiveness. Implications for the extant literature on forgiveness, and interpersonal relationships more broadly, are discussed.
... Righetti, Finkenauer and Finkel [42 ] for example showed that in established, communal relationships, having full access to one's capacity for self-control prevents people from making certain types of sacrifice for their partner. Similarly, Stanton and Finkel [43] showed that when an offense is minor, having self-control capacity prevents people from automatically showing high levels of forgiveness toward their partner. ...
... In short, self-control depletion is consistently harmful to people's ability to restrain aggressive or lustful impulses. Although it is unclear whether people who are depleted tend to experience more negative impulses in the first place (this may depend on the situation; see Pronk et al., 2010;Stanton & Finkel, 2012), depletion clearly impairs the ability and/or willingness to inhibit such impulses when they are present. The breadth and the consistency of these findings has led some researchers to speculate that a great deal of prosocial behavior might require self-control resources (Gailliot, 2010). ...
Article
Researchers have only begun to turn their attention to the role of self-control in communal action (rather than communal restraint) in relationships. Conflicting results from early studies indicate that the association between self-control and communal action may be quite complex, and potentially moderated by many variables. Here we investigate how relationship length may moderate the extent to which communal actions require self-control resources. In 5 studies, we investigated the role of self-control resources in implementing (Studies 1 and 2) and in choosing (Studies 3-5) communal actions for a romantic partner, as a function of the length of time partners had been together. The data supported the hypothesis that as relationships mature over time, communal actions may require less self-control to implement and may become a decisional default. These findings suggest that communal actions may be a more deliberative response in newer romantic relationships but a more reflexive response in more established relationships. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
... Depletion of self-regulatory resources is thought to enhance the " default " response to situations, whether negative or positive. In the relationships domain, researchers have reasoned that ego depletion can yield harmful outcomes when impulses are negative or selfish (e.g., greater interest in romantic alternatives, Ritter, Karremans, & van Schie, 2010; more partner-related aggression, Finkel, DeWall, Slotter, Oaten, & Foshee, 2009), but salutary outcomes when impulses are positive or communal (e.g., greater willingness to sacrifice, Righetti, Finkenauer, & Finkel, 2013; more forgiveness of mild offenses, Stanton & Finkel, 2012). Importantly, the context and cues surrounding an interpersonal situation can determine the valence of an impulse (cf. ...
Article
Attachment avoidance is typically associated with negative behaviors in romantic relationships; however, recent research has begun to uncover circumstances (e.g., being in high-quality relationships) that promote pro relationship behaviors for more avoidantly attached individuals. One possible explanation for why more avoidant individuals behave negatively sometimes but positively at other times is that their impulses regarding relationship events vary depending on relationship context (e.g., relationship satisfaction level). An initial unregistered study found support for this hypothesis in an amends-making context. We then conducted three confirmatory high-powered preregistered replication attempts that failed to replicate our initial findings. In our discussion of these four studies we highlight the importance of attempting to replicate one's own work and sharing the results regardless of the outcome.
... In other interpersonal interactions, a stiff, calculated approach was found to reduce the willingness of individuals with high self-control to make "unjustified" sacrifices in close relationships (Righetti, Finkenauer, & Finkel, 2013) and to reduce their level of forgiveness of mild offences by their romantic partners (Stanton & Finkel, 2012). Relatedly, while interacting with strangers in economic game settings, individuals with high selfcontrol were less attuned to other people's needs, making selfish (yet economically rational) decisions (Uziel & Hefetz, 2014). ...
Article
Full-text available
Self-control is a central human capacity associated with a wide range of personal and societal advantages. In view of its benefits, increasing self-control among children and adults has been advocated as a remedy to many of society’s illnesses. This approach is evident in the popular media, as well as in educating and governing agencies, and has subsequently taken root in the general public. The present article advocates a broader approach by noting some of the downsides of the pursuit of high self-control. It does so by highlighting often-ignored issues relating to (a) uncertainties about the nature of self-control, (b) nuances concerning the benefits of high self-control, and (c) undesirable implications of wanting more self-control. The conclusion is that research on self-control should deal not only with the benefits of self-control but also with the costs associated with advocating, wanting, and even having high self-control. This approach would provide society with informed knowledge about potential side effects of one of the most powerful psychological solutions to its ailments.
... All participants were instructed to respond as quickly as possible while avoiding errors and were given a block of 10 trial rounds with XXXXX in the four font colors (randomized) to acclimate to the controls. Using procedures adapted from Stanton and Finkel (2012), participants in the high self-control condition were given 20 congruent trials. Those in the low self-control condition were given 200 incongruent trials. ...
Article
Full-text available
Apologizing is an effective strategy for reconciling relationships after transgressions. However, transgressors often resist or refuse to apologize. The current research investigated the role of self-control in apologizing. In Study 1, self-control was associated with partici-pants' proclivity to apologize and apologetic and nonapologetic behavior. In Studies 2 and 3, self-control was manipulated to test the causal relationship. Both studies found participants with high self-control were more apologetic and less nonapologetic and were more likely to use apologetic statements in e-mails to their victims. Overall, these studies suggest that transgressors with high self-control are more apologetic than those with low self-control.
... For instance, ego depletion reportedly decreases trust towards another player in economic games (Ainsworth, Baumeister, Ariely, & Vohs, 2014). Relatedly, individuals subject to a depletion manipulation have been found to perceive a romantic partner's cheating behaviour as more severe than those not subject to a depletion manipulation (Stanton & Finkel, 2012). Performing a depletion task also increased negative stereotypical responses (i.e., associating Black male faces with harmful objects in a weapon identification task, Govorun & Payne, 2006). ...
... When people's resources are outstretched or exhausted, they enter a defensive mode to preserve the self which is often defensive, aggressive, and may become irrational (Hobfoll et al., 2018). Meanwhile, resource depletion makes it more difficult for individuals to forgive others' offensive behaviors (Stanton and Finkel, 2012), and when the aversive incidents at work arouse frustration, individuals with resource depletion are unlikely to fully adjust and suppress their aggressive impulses (DeWall et al., 2007;Liu et al., 2015), further causing behavioral problems, such as aggressive behaviors, deviant behaviors, and immoral behaviors (DeWall et al., 2007;Gino et al., 2011;Diestel and Schmidt, 2012). ...
Article
Full-text available
Although customer mistreatment produces harmful consequences for employees and organizations, our understanding of the boundary conditions of customer mistreatment has largely been neglected. This study examines whether and when customer mistreatment influences employee displaced aggression toward coworkers by demonstrating interpersonal sensitivity and moral identity traits as two critical boundary conditions. Through the analysis of 623 employees' questionnaire data, the results showed that customer mistreatment was positively related to employee displaced aggression toward coworkers. Furthermore, interpersonal sensitivity exacerbates the effect of customer mistreatment on displaced aggressive behaviors, while moral identity buffering the effect.
... In addition, some studies have found that forgiveness in lovers is affected by both ED and offending situations, and the influence of ED on forgiveness is inconsistent in different degrees of the offending situation. It is found that when individuals are confronted with offense by their partner, individuals in ego deprivation state are more difficult to forgive severe offenses (Pronk et al., 2010), while it is interesting that they are more likely to forgive minor offenses (Stanton and Finkel, 2012), and this interaction is regulated by the offense severity. This reminds us that it is necessary to consider the severity of the offense situation when exploring the relationship between ego redemption and forgiveness. ...
Article
Full-text available
Forgiveness, as an important content in the field of morality, means that the offended person overcomes the negative emotion, cognition, and behavior toward the offender and replaces it with positive emotion, cognition, and behavior. Based on the theory of the limitation of psychological resources, ego depletion (ED) will lead to the weakening of self-regulation function, thus making some immoral behaviors, which is not conducive to individual forgiveness. In order to explore the influence of ED on individual forgiveness in different interpersonal offense situations, this study used the Stroop task to manipulate the level of ED and used imaginary situations to distinguish offending situations. We found that the level of forgiveness in a serious offense situation was significantly lower than that in a mild offense situation, p < 0.001, partial η2 = 0.158. In different interpersonal offense situations, ED has different effects on forgiveness. In the severe offense situation, the forgiveness level of high-ED individuals was significantly lower than that of the low-ED individuals, p = 0.023, partial η2 = 0.144; in the mild offense situation, the forgiveness level of high-ED individuals was significantly higher than that of low-ED individuals, p = 0.029, partial η2 = 0.140. The results showed that different levels of ED have no consistent effect on forgiveness in different interpersonal offense situations; high ED hinders individual forgiveness in serious offense situations but can promote individual forgiveness in mild offense situations.
... Our work contributes to the emerging literature demonstrating that under certain circumstances, self-control depletion may promote smooth interpersonal interactions (Apfelbaum, Krendl, & Ambady, 2010; Apfelbaum & Sommers, 2009). An alternative explanation for our findings might be that individuals low in selfcontrol make sacrifices for their partner to avoid the effort required to engage in interpersonal conflict (Stanton & Finkel, 2012). 3 Situations in which the interests of two partners do not correspond can provoke conflicts, which can yield potentially exhausting discussions. ...
Article
Full-text available
Although previous theories and research have suggested that human behavior is automatically driven by selfish impulses (e.g., vengeance rather than forgiveness), the present research tested the hypothesis that in close relationships, people's impulsive inclination is to be prosocial and to sacrifice for their partner-to pursue the interests of the partner or of the relationship at some costs for the self. Results from four studies demonstrated that people with low self-control, relative to those with high self-control, reported greater willingness to sacrifice for their close others. Furthermore, Study 4 demonstrated that communal orientation was more strongly associated with sacrifice among participants with low self-control than participants with high self-control. This moderational pattern supports the hypothesis that communal orientation functions as a default approach to sacrifice in the context of close relationships. Taken together, these findings suggest that under certain crucial conditions in close relationships, gut-level impulses are more likely than deliberative considerations to promote prorelationship behavior.
Chapter
Individuals sometimes communicate impulsively rather than in a planned and strategic fashion. Although impulsive behavior can reflect a genuine desire and result in immediate gratification, it can also have destructive outcomes. Consequently, researchers have been interested in how impulses can be controlled. This entry will examine the nature of impulse control perspective used to understand it and how impulse control is related to communication.
Article
Purpose By applying displaced aggression and conservation of resource theory, this paper aims to investigate the effect of supervisors’ workplace stress over subordinates' unethical behavior through displaced aggression as an underlying mechanism. Moreover, it tests the moderating effect of despotic leadership between supervisors’ workplace stress and displaced aggression. Design/methodology/approach The data consists of three hierarchy levels: despotic leadership (top manager), supervisor’s (immediate supervisor/middle manager) workplace stress and displaced aggression and subordinates’ unethical behavior. The data was collected from 80 managers about their workplace stress and displaced aggression besides perceived unethical behavior of their 240 subordinates. Findings The data analysis of 80 bank managers of Pakistan about their perception of top managers’ despotic behavior and unethical behavior of their 240 subordinates shows the support for all hypothesized relationships. Supervisors’ workplace stress positively affected their displaced aggression over their subordinates, which motivated subordinates to engage in unethical behavior. Moreover, the findings supported the moderating effect of despotic leadership in the relationship between supervisors’ workplace stress and displaced aggression. Originality/value This study contributes to the limited studies on the trickledown displaced aggression phenomenon in the service (banking) sector. Moreover, the manager’s despotic leadership role as a higher-level negative supervisory behavior in increasing the supervisors’ displaced aggression shows the critical aspect in such a stressful workplace situation.
Article
Attachment avoidance is typically associated with negative behaviors in romantic relationships; however, recent research has begun to uncover circumstances (e.g., being in high-quality relationships) that promote pro-relationship behaviors for more avoidantly attached individuals. One possible explanation for why more avoidant individuals behave negatively sometimes but positively at other times is that their impulses regarding relationship events vary depending on relationship context (e.g., relationship satisfaction level). An initial unregistered study found support for this hypothesis in an amends-making context. We then conducted three confirmatory high-powered preregistered replication attempts that failed to replicate our initial findings. In our discussion of these four studies we highlight the importance of attempting to replicate one's own work and sharing the results regardless of the outcome.
Chapter
This chapter highlights the contextual nature of intimate relationships. The first two sections review evidence that the implications of four key processes for relationship functioning—behavior, cognition, emotion, and hormones—depend on the context in which the relationship is situated; whereas certain processes are associated with less desirable outcomes on average, all appear to offer interpersonal benefits in certain situations. The third section highlights the importance of these contextual effects for relationship science by reviewing evidence that even the three personal qualities most consistently associated with less desirable interpersonal outcomes on average—attachment insecurity, low self-esteem, and neuroticism—are just as contextual; although they are consistently associated with undesirable outcomes on average, (a) they do not always lead to the processes that are typically harmful and, even when they do, (b) those processes can be beneficial in some contexts. The fourth section organizes the contextual factors into four classes—qualities of the individual, qualities of the partner, qualities of the relationship, and qualities of the environment. Finally, the fifth section challenges researchers to take a more contextual approach to the study of relationships, including focusing on within-person tendencies to properly calibrate psychological processes to different situations as they fluctuate over time.
Article
Prior evidence and existing theories imply that humility engenders intra- and inter-personal attributes that facilitate self-regulatory abilities. Four experiments were conducted to test the hypothesis that humility predicts enhanced self-control. Participants who recalled humility experiences were found to be better able at sustaining their physical stamina in a handgrip task (Studies 1 and 4), resisting indulgence in chocolates (Study 2), and persevering in a frustrating tracing task (Study 3) than those who recalled neutral experiences. Studies 3 and 4 demonstrated that the effect of humility was distinct from that of self-esteem, which did not affect self-control. Study 2 ruled out two alternative hypotheses concerning achievement and compliance motives. We discuss how the findings might relate to outcomes associated with humility as evidenced in past studies.
Article
Full-text available
In the 12 years since scholars first investigated the link between self-control and forgiveness (Finkel & Campbell, 2001), the literature investigating this relation has grown rapidly. The present article reports a meta-analytic review of this link across 40 independent samples and 5,105 independent observations. In addition, it investigates an array of potential moderators. Results revealed that the overall link between self-control and forgiveness is statistically robust and small to moderate in magnitude (r = .18). Consistent with the prevailing theoretical models, this link is stronger when forgiveness is assessed in terms of low vengeance (resisting retaliation: r = .31) rather than in terms of high benevolence (fostering prosociality: r = .16). Discussion focuses on the potentially crucial role of forgiveness, especially vengeance inhibition, in linking self-control to relationship well-being.
Article
Full-text available
Relative to people with low trust in their romantic partner, people with high trust tend to expect that their partner will act in accordance with their interests. Consequently, we suggest, they have the luxury of remembering the past in a way that prioritizes relationship dependence over self-protection. In particular, they tend to exhibit relationship-promoting memory biases regarding transgressions the partner had enacted in the past. In contrast, at the other end of the spectrum, people with low trust in their partner tend to be uncertain about whether their partner will act in accordance with their interests. Consequently, we suggest, they feel compelled to remember the past in a way that prioritizes self-protection over relationship dependence. In particular, they tend to exhibit self-protective memory biases regarding transgressions the partner had enacted in the past. Four longitudinal studies of participants involved in established dating relationships or fledgling romantic relationships demonstrated that the greater a person's trust in their partner, the more positively they tend to remember the number, severity, and consequentiality of their partner's past transgressions-controlling for their initial reports. Such trust-inspired memory bias was partner-specific; it was more reliably evident for recall of the partner's transgressions and forgiveness than for recall of one's own transgressions and forgiveness. Furthermore, neither trust-inspired memory bias nor its partner-specific nature was attributable to potential confounds such as relationship commitment, relationship satisfaction, self-esteem, or attachment orientations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
Full-text available
Self-control is a central function of the self and an important key to success in life. The exertion of self-control appears to depend on a limited resource. Just as a muscle gets tired from exertion, acts of self-control cause short-term impairments (ego depletion) in subsequent self-control, even on unrelated tasks. Research has supported the strength model in the domains of eating, drinking, spending, sexuality, intelligent thought, making choices, and interpersonal behavior. Motivational or framing factors can temporarily block the deleterious effects of being in a state of ego depletion. Blood glucose is an important component of the energy.
Article
Full-text available
In the present research, we examined why some people have more difficulty than others in staying faithful to their romantic partners. Three studies supported our main prediction that executive control is associated with romantically involved individuals' ability to stay faithful. Study 1 showed that participants with a higher level of executive control reported less difficulty in staying faithful to their partners than did those with lower levels of executive control. In Study 2, romantically involved male participants were placed in a waiting room together with an attractive female confederate. Results showed that participants with a higher level of executive control showed less flirting behavior with the confederate than did those with lower levels of executive control. Study 3 demonstrated that a higher level of executive control was related to a lower expressed desire to meet an attractive other, but only for romantically involved participants. Together, these studies showed that executive control helps romantically involved individuals to deal with the lure of attractive alternatives.
Article
Full-text available
Across six field and lab experiments, we found that impaired self-control fosters compliance with charitable requests. Experiments 1 and 2 showed that self-regulatory resource depletion was induced when participants yielded to the initial requests of a foot-in-the-door script aimed at procuring volunteer behavior. Experiment 3 demonstrated that self-regulatory resource depletion mediated the effects of yielding to the initial requests of a foot-in-the-door technique on compliance with a charitable target request. Experiments 4-6 demonstrated that weak temporary and chronic self-control ability fostered compliance through reliance on compliance-promoting heuristics (i.e., reciprocity, liking, and consistency). (c) 2008 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc..
Article
Full-text available
We build on principles from interdependence theory and evolutionary psychology to propose that forgiving bolsters one's self-respect and self-concept clarity if the perpetrator has acted in a manner that signals that the victim will be safe and valued in a continued relationship with the perpetrator but that forgiving diminishes one's self-respect and self-concept clarity if the perpetrator has not. Study 1 employed a longitudinal design to demonstrate that the association of marital forgiveness with trajectories of self-respect over the first 5 years of marriage depends on the spouse's dispositional tendency to indicate that the partner will be safe and valued (i.e., agreeableness). Studies 2 and 3 employed experimental procedures to demonstrate that the effects of forgiveness on self-respect and self-concept clarity depend on the perpetrator's event-specific indication that the victim will be safe and valued (i.e., amends). Study 4 employed a longitudinal design to demonstrate that the association of forgiveness with subsequent self-respect and self-concept clarity similarly depends on the extent to which the perpetrator has made amends. These studies reveal that, under some circumstances, forgiveness negatively impacts the self.
Article
Full-text available
To establish what it takes to forgive, the present research focused on the cognitive underpinnings of the forgiveness process. We conducted four studies that examined and supported the prediction that executive functioning (a set of cognitive control processes) facilitates forgiveness. First, a correlational study revealed a positive relation between executive functioning and dispositional forgiveness (Study 1). Second, a longitudinal study demonstrated that executive functioning predicts the development of forgiveness over a period of 5 weeks after the offense (Study 2). Finally, two experiments examined when and why executive functioning facilitates forgiveness. Specifically, and in line with predictions, Studies 3 and 4 showed that executive functioning facilitates forgiveness only in the case of relatively severe (as compared with mild) offenses. Furthermore, Study 4 provided evidence for a psychological mechanism underlying the relation between executive functioning and forgiveness by demonstrating the mediating role of rumination about the offense. Implications of these findings for the literature on forgiveness and the role of executive functioning in interpersonal relationships more generally are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
Five studies tested the hypothesis that self-regulatory failure is an important predictor of intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration. Study 1 participants were far more likely to experience a violent impulse during conflictual interaction with their romantic partner than they were to enact a violent behavior, suggesting that self-regulatory processes help individuals refrain from perpetrating IPV when they experience a violent impulse. Study 2 participants high in dispositional self-control were less likely to perpetrate IPV, in both cross-sectional and residualized-lagged analyses, than were participants low in dispositional self-control. Study 3 participants verbalized more IPV-related cognitions if they responded immediately to partner provocations than if they responded after a 10-s delay. Study 4 participants whose self-regulatory resources were experimentally depleted were more violent in response to partner provocation (but not when unprovoked) than were nondepleted participants. Finally, Study 5 participants whose self-regulatory resources were experimentally bolstered via a 2-week training regimen exhibited less violent inclinations than did participants whose self-regulatory resources had not been bolstered. These findings hint at the power of incorporating self-regulation dynamics into predictive models of IPV perpetration.
Article
Full-text available
Accommodation refers to the willingness, when a partner has engaged in a potentially destructive behavior, to (a) inhibit impulses toward destructive responding and (b) instead respond constructively. A pilot study and 3 additional studies examined the hypothesis that self-control promotes individuals' ability to accommodate in response to a romantic partner's potentially destructive behavior. Dispositional self-control was positively associated with accommodative tendencies in all 4 investigations. In addition, Study 1 (a retrospective study) and Study 2 (a laboratory experiment) revealed that "in-the-moment" self-regulatory strength depletion decreased the likelihood that an individual would accommodate. Finally, Study 3 demonstrated that self-control exerted a significant effect on accommodation even after the authors included commitment to the relationship in the model. Implications for relationship functioning are discussed.
Article
What kinds of stories do people wish to tell about the development of their close relationships? To address this question, 2 studies of newlyweds compared retrospective reports of marital satisfaction over 4 years with prospective data on marital satisfaction over the same period. In both studies, growth curve analyses revealed that spouses tended to recall satisfaction that had declined in the distant past but made up for those declines with recent improvements. Prospective reports, however, tended to decline linearly over time. Furthermore. Study 2 revealed that current confidence in the future of the relationship was associated with perceptions of change in satisfaction but not perceptions of past levels of satisfaction. Results suggest that the ability to perceive improvements, especially over the recent past, may be a source of hope for partners in less satisfying relationships.
Article
A laboratory experiment tested whether conciliatory behavior predicts lower blood pressure following spouses' discussion of a recent marital transgression. Sixty‐eight married couples discussed unresolved transgressions—with random assignment determining whether the husband or the wife was in the victim role—and then rated victim and perpetrator conciliatory behavior (with the former akin to forgiveness and the latter akin to amends) while watching a videotape of their just‐completed discussion. Participants' blood pressure was measured 40 min later. Actor–partner interdependence modeling analyses revealed that victim conciliatory behavior during the discussion predicted not only lower victim blood pressure but also lower perpetrator blood pressure after the discussion. Perpetrator conciliatory behavior during the discussion was not associated with victim or perpetrator blood pressure.
Article
Across numerous domains, research has con- sistently linked decreased capacity for executive control to negative outcomes. Under some conditions, however, this deficit may translate into gains: When individuals' regulatory strategies are maladaptive, depletion of the resource fueling such strategies may facilitate positive outcomes, both intra- and interpersonally. We tested this prediction in the context of contentious intergroup interaction, a domain characterized by regulatory prac- tices of questionable utility. White participants discussed approaches to campus diversity with a White or Black partner immediately after performing a depleting or con- trol computer task. In intergroup encounters, depleted participants enjoyed the interaction more, exhibited less inhibited behavior, and seemed less prejudiced to Black observers than did control participants—converging evi- dence of beneficial effects. Although executive capacity typically sustains optimal functioning, these results indi- cate that, in some cases, it also can obstruct positive out- comes, not to mention the potential for open dialogue regarding divisive social issues.
Article
The present research addresses the question of how romantically involved individuals are able to shield their ongoing romantic relationship from the temptation of attractive alternative partners. Specifically, two studies examined, and supported, the prediction that self-regulation promotes romantically involved individuals’ tendency to derogate attractive others as potential partners. Heterosexual participants responded to pictures of attractive and unattractive opposite-sex others by indicating their interest in these others as potential partners. In both studies the possibility for self-regulation exertion was manipulated (by means of self-regulation depletion in Study 1, and time-pressure in Study 2). When self-regulatory resources were relatively high, romantically involved participants exhibited less interest in attractive opposite-sex others than non-involved participants. However, when self-regulatory resources were low, interest in attractive opposite-sex others did not differ between romantically involved and non-involved participants.
Article
Conventional wisdom suggests that older adults are more likely than young adults to speak their mind. Age-related executive function (EF) decline is believed to underlie this tendency by weakening older adults' capacity to inhibit responses. While age-related EF decline disrupts social and cognitive functioning in many domains, such degeneration may also carry the unforeseen benefit of improving communication in uncomfortable social contexts. We examined the performance of relatively low and high EF older adults and young adults on the socially distressing task of providing critical advice to a troubled obese teenager. Relative to higher EF older adults and younger adults, lower EF older adults were more open, provided more advice, and were seen as more empathic. Moreover, doctors specializing in obesity treatment rated lower EF older adults’ advice to the teen as having greater potential for prompting a lifestyle change. Our findings suggest a potential silver lining to age-related cognitive decline.
Article
This article reviews the growing literature on the effects of self-regulatory strength (how much self-regulatory ability people have), self-regulatory content (the goals toward which people self-regulate), and self-regulatory strategies (the manner in which people self-regulate) on close relationships. The extant literature indicates that close relationships benefit when relationship partners (a) have greater versus less self-regulatory strength, (b) prioritize relationship-promotion goals versus self-protection goals, (c) facilitate versus obstruct each other's personal goal pursuits, (d) enact positive relationship behaviors using approach versus avoidance strategies, and (e) pursue shared goals using complementary versus similar regulatory focus strategies. Future research could fruitfully (a) delve deeper into the influences of self-regulatory content and strategies on relationships and (b) integrate multiple lines of research examining the effects of self-regulation on relationships.
Article
Across numerous domains, research has consistently linked decreased capacity for executive control to negative outcomes. Under some conditions, however, this deficit may translate into gains: When individuals' regulatory strategies are maladaptive, depletion of the resource fueling such strategies may facilitate positive outcomes, both intra- and interpersonally. We tested this prediction in the context of contentious intergroup interaction, a domain characterized by regulatory practices of questionable utility. White participants discussed approaches to campus diversity with a White or Black partner immediately after performing a depleting or control computer task. In intergroup encounters, depleted participants enjoyed the interaction more, exhibited less inhibited behavior, and seemed less prejudiced to Black observers than did control participants--converging evidence of beneficial effects. Although executive capacity typically sustains optimal functioning, these results indicate that, in some cases, it also can obstruct positive outcomes, not to mention the potential for open dialogue regarding divisive social issues.
Article
Forgiving is a motivational transformation that inclines people to inhibit relationship-destructive responses and to behave constructively toward someone who has behaved destructively toward them. The authors describe a model of forgiveness based on the hypothesis that people forgive others to the extent that they experience empathy for them. Two studies investigated the empathy model of forgiveness. In Study 1, the authors developed measures of empathy and forgiveness. The authors found evidence consistent with the hypotheses that (a) the relationship between receiving an apology from and forgiving one's offender is a function of increased empathy for the offender and (b) that forgiving is uniquely related to conciliatory behavior and avoidance behavior toward the offending partner. In Study 2, the authors conducted an intervention in which empathy was manipulated to examine the empathy-forgiving relationship more closely. Results generally supported the conceptualization of forgiving as a motivational phenomenon and the empathy-forgiving link.
Article
What kinds of stories do people wish to tell about the development of their close relationships? To address this question, 2 studies of newlyweds compared retrospective reports of marital satisfaction over 4 years with prospective data on marital satisfaction over the same period. In both studies, growth curve analyses revealed that spouses tended to recall satisfaction that had declined in the distant past but made up for those declines with recent improvements. Prospective reports, however, tended to decline linearly over time. Furthermore, Study 2 revealed that current confidence in the future of the relationship was associated with perceptions of change in satisfaction but not perceptions of past levels of satisfaction. Results suggest that the ability to perceive improvements, especially over the recent past, may be a source of hope for partners in less satisfying relationships.
Forgiveness and relational repair
  • C E Rusbult
  • P A Hannon
  • S L Stocker
  • E J Finkel
Rusbult, C. E., Hannon, P. A., Stocker, S. L., & Finkel, E. J. (2005). Forgiveness and relational repair. In E. L. WorthingtonJr. (Ed.), Handbook of forgiveness (pp. 185-205). New York, NY: Brunner-Routledge.