Groups’ search for meaning: Redemption on the path to intergroup reconciliation

Katie N. Rotella*, Jennifer A. Richeson, Dan P. McAdams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Four studies investigated the utility of finding meaning in past wrongdoing to promote intergroup reconciliation. Studies 1a, 1b, and 2 demonstrated that prompting members of perpetrator groups to engage in redemption narratives increases collective guilt and willingness to make reparations—both important in obtaining victims’ forgiveness. Further, Study 2 suggests that redemption narratives (but not sense-making) increase willingness to reconcile and reduce perceived justification. Study 3 suggests that perpetrators’ redemption, but not simply sense-making, narratives led victims to perceive greater change in the perpetrator group and increased victims’ willingness to reconcile, but not forgive. Taken together, the present work highlights the potential for redemption narratives to serve as an intervention for past intergroup conflict, increasing the chance for intergroup reconciliation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)696-715
Number of pages20
JournalGroup Processes and Intergroup Relations
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 24 2015


  • intergroup reconciliation
  • meaning-making
  • redemption narratives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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