Research demonstrates that people are sensitive to information that portrays either themselves or their ingroups in a negative light. Indeed, confronting individuals with their own past misdeeds or those committed by important ingroups can result in victim-blaming and refusals to apologize or make amends. Studies suggest that one reason why people demonstrate these backlash effects is that they immediately blunt the experience of guilt when confronted with either their own or group misdeeds from the past. The more individuals actually experience guilt, however, the more likely they are to respond to information about past wrongdoing with prosocial behavior (e.g., apologies, reparations, etc.). The present research sought to examine how subtle inductions of guilt shape responses to personal and group wrongdoing; namely, by manipulating individuals' body postures. Consistent with predictions, results suggest that embodiment-induced guilt reduces negative backlash and increases prosocial interpersonal and intergroup intentions.
- Collective guilt
- Embodied cognition
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science