Ch. 11 Forgiveness
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What is forgiveness (as defined by Thompson and colleagues)?
a freeing from a negative attachment to the source of the transgression. This definition of forgiveness allows the target of forgiveness to be oneself, another person, or a situation.
What is forgiveness (as defined by McCullough and colleagues)?
an increase in prosocial motivation such that there is less desire to avoid or seek revenge against the transgressor and an increased desire to act positively toward the transgressing person. This theory of forgiveness is applicable only when another person is the target of the transgression.
What is forgiveness (as defined by Enright and colleagues)?
the willingness to give up resentment, negative judgment, and indifference toward the transgressor and to give undeserved compassion, generosity, and benevolence to him or her. Enright and colleagues also limit their definition of forgiveness to people and do not include situations.
What is forgiveness (as defined by Tangney and colleagues)?
a process involving "(1) cognitive-affective transformation following a transgression in which (2) the victim makes a realistic assessment of the harm done and acknowledges the perpetrator's responsibility, but (3) freely chooses to "cancel the debt," giving up the need for revenge or deserved punishments and any quest for restitution. This "canceling of the debt" also involves (4) a "cancellation of negative emotions" directly related to the transgression. In particular, in forgiving, the victim overcomes his or her feelings of resentment and anger for the act. In short, by forgiving, the harmed individual (5) essentially removes himself or herself from the victim role"
What is one factor that led to the growth of research and theoretical development in the area of forgiveness?
philanthropist John Templeton initiation of calls for grants involving research on forgiveness from the Templeton Foundation.
How are the four definitions of forgiveness different and similar from each other?
Thompson's forgiveness can be focused on ourselves or someone else. McCullough's forgiveness can only be focused on the transgressions another person has committed unto you. Enright's forgiveness can only be focused on other people, not yourself (similar to McCullough). Tangney's forgiveness focuses on forgiving those who have done you wrong and, at the same time, forgiving yourself (similar to Thompson).
Why is it important to consider individual and group conceptualizations of forgiveness?
individual concepts of forgiveness vary in how it is interpreted and applied from one person to another (people have different interpretations and uses of forgiveness). If the transgressor has a mutual understanding of what forgiveness means to the victim then he/she can make more efforts to meet that meaning.
Why is it important to consider forgiveness in the contexts of another person, oneself, and a situation?
- another person (diminishing of hurt and outpouring of negative feelings, especially for the victimized partner)
- oneself (the consequences of not forgiving oneself can be much more severe than the consequences of not forgiving another person)
- situation (letting go of a bad situation is part of moving forward so as to have hope in life)
What are the main ways of measuring forgiveness?
- Heartland Forgiveness Scale (high score: more flexibility and trust, as well as less hostility, rumination, and depression)
- Transgression-Related Interpersonal Motivations Inventory (motive to avoid contact with transgressing person, or motive to seek revenge against transgressor)
- Enright Forgiveness Inventory (thoughts about recent interpersonal transgression)
- Willingness to Forgive Scale (degree to which a person is willing to use forgiveness as a problem-solving coping strategy)
- Multidimensional Forgiveness Inventory
Why do researchers argue that forgiveness is adaptive from an evolutionary perspective?
forgiveness enables a reduction in aggression and violent tendencies toward the group and thus lead to cooperation and survival of the group.
What are the neurobiological correlates associated with forgiveness?
starts with a sense of self which is located in the frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes. then injury to self is registered via sensorimotor input. next the initiation of the reconciliation process by the person transgressed against involves activation of the temporal, parietal, and frontal lobes, along with limbic system input and finishes with the actual outward direction of the forgiveness occurs through the limbic system and is associated with positive emotions.
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