The Power of Mercy

Granting forgiveness for the wrongs done to us can be one of the hardest things we face in life. But forgiveness can also be transformative. In the first of a two-part series on apologies and mercy, we talk with psychologist Charlotte Witvliet about the benefits of forgiveness, for both the mind and the body.  

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Additional Resources

Research Studies: 

Apology and Restitution: Offender Accountability Responses Influence Victim Empathy and Forgiveness. Charlotte V. O. Witvliet, Nathaniel Wade, Everett Worthington, Lindseyt Root Luna, Daryl Van Tongeren, Jack Berry, and Jo-Ann Tsang. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 2020.

The Mandate of the Collective: Apology Representativeness Determines Perceived Sincerity and Forgiveness in Intergroup Contexts. Michael Wenzel, Tyler Okimoto, Matthew Hornsey, Ellie Lawrence-Wood, and Anne Marie Coughlin. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 2017.

The Thorny Issue of Forgiveness: A Psychological Perspective. Julie Juloa Exline. Pepperdine Dispute Resolution Law Journal, 2013.

Compassionate reappraisal and emotion suppression as alternatives to offense-focused rumination: Implications for forgiveness and psychophysiological well-being. Charlotte V.O.  Witvliet, Alicia Hofelich and P. A. Deyoung. Journal of Positive Psychology, 2011.

The Dark Side of Forgiveness: The Tendency to Forgive Predicts Continued Psychological and Physical Aggression in Marriage. James McNulty. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 2011.

Interpersonal consequences of forgiveness: Does forgiveness deter or encourage repeat offenders? Harry Wallace, Roy Baumeister, Julie Exline. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 2008.

Granting Forgiveness or Harboring Grudges: Implications for Emotion, Physiology, and Health. Charlotte V. O. Witvliet , T E Ludwig, K L Vander Laan. Psychological Science, 2001.


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