Walker Siu Hong Au & Pascale Willemsen
Au, W. S. H., & Willemsen, P. (2023). “I forgive you!” – Exploring the impact of forgiveness on negative emotions and blame. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.
Publication year: 2023

Forgiveness plays a significant role in our everyday social life, and, because of that, it has received an increasing amount of attention in academic research. However, philosophers and psychologists are equally worried by the fact that we still lack an empirically adequate characterization of forgiveness. In this paper, we present two preregistered studies in which we explore what ordinary people believe a speaker does when he or she performs the speech act of forgiving by uttering the phrase, “I forgive you”. Study 1 uses a vignette-based stimulus to examine what participants believe to change after the victim granted forgiveness to their wrong-doer. In Study 2, we apply a linguistic test, the cancellability test, to determine whether participants consider forgiving the wrong-doer but still blaming them compatible.