The impact of acknowledgement and denial of responsibility for harm on victim groups' perceptions of justice, power, and intergroup attitudes

Yeshim Iqbal, Rezarta Bilali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Acknowledgement of responsibility for in-group harmdoing is considered a precondition for reconciliation. However, we know little about its impact on victim groups. Using a mixed methods approach, in two studies in Bangladesh we examined the role of acknowledgement and denial of responsibility on intergroup outcomes. Study 1 used an open-ended survey to assess Bangladeshis' perceptions about acknowledgement and denial of responsibility for the mass violence committed by the Pakistani army on Bangladeshis during the 1971 war. Study 2 experimentally examined the effects and the potential mechanisms (emotional reactions, perceived injustice, and relative power) through which acknowledgement and denial of responsibility impact two intergroup outcomes: out-group animosity and willingness for contact. Both studies demonstrated the importance of anger and perceived injustice as mediators of the effects of acknowledgement and denial of responsibility on intergroup outcomes. We draw implications for theory and for strategies to address past victimization across different contexts of conflict.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-411
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Volume48
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2018

Keywords

  • acknowledgement of responsibility
  • denial of responsibility
  • justice
  • power
  • victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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