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How Voluntariness of Apologies Affects Actual and Hypothetical Victims' Perceptions of the Offender
Apologies are important in social interactions. Study 1 investigated participants’ reactions after being insulted by a confederate and receiving no apology, a voluntary apology, a coerced apology with consequences (i.e., explicitly coerced apology), or a coerced apology without consequences (i.e., implicitly coerced apology). Receiving any apology produced more positive perceptions of the offender and less serious recommended punishments than no apology. Study 2 replicated Study 1, except participants read about the insult and imagined being a victim (instead of being an actual victim as in Study 1). Actual victims distinguished between types of apologies while hypothetical victims did not. Results have implications for court-ordered apologies.