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Overcoming competitive victimhood and facilitating forgiveness through re-categorization into a common victim and perpetrator identity




We argue that facilitating forgiveness among groups involved in intractable conflicts requires reducing competitive victimhood which stems from the conflicting parties' motivation to restore agency and a positive moral image. Examining novel and traditional re-categorization interventions, Study 1 found that inducing Israeli Jews and Palestinians with a common victim identity decreased competitive victimhood, which in turn increased forgiveness. Inducing a common regional identity failed to initiate a similar process. Study 2 further revealed that inducing either a common victim or a common perpetrator identity (but not a common regional identity) led to decreased competitive victimhood and increased forgiveness. The mechanisms involved were decreased moral defensiveness in the common victim intervention versus increased sense of agency in the common perpetrator intervention.

Acceptance Date Apr 23, 2013
Publication Date Sep 1, 2013
Journal Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
Print ISSN 0022-1031
Publisher Elsevier
Pages 867 -877
Keywords competitive victimhood, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, intergroup forgiveness, common ingroup identity model, agency, moral image
Publisher URL