-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Apologies are often less
satisfying than people expect them to be, a new Dutch study
The research involved participants who were using a computer and
given 10 euros (about $13.40 in U.S. currency) to either keep or
give to a partner they communicated with online. The money was
tripled so that the partner actually received 30 euros. The partner
then had to decide how much to return, but only gave back five
Some participants received an apology for this meager offer,
while others were told to imagine they'd received an apology.
The participants who imagined an apology valued it more than
those who actually received an apology.
The findings, published in the journal
Psychological Science, suggest that people do a poor job of predicting what is actually needed to resolve conflicts. They want an apology and consider it valuable but the actual apology is less satisfying than expected, said researcher David De Cremer of Erasmus University in the Netherlands.
"I think an apology is a first step in the reconciliation process ... but you need to show that you will do something else," he said in a journal news release.
The results suggest that an apology might be more effective at
convincing outside observers that the wrongdoer feels remorse
rather than making the slighted person feel better, the researchers
For more information on conflict resolution, visit the
American Academy of Pediatrics.
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