All apologies. On the willingness of perpetrators to apologize

JM (Joost) Leunissen

Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral ThesisInternal


An apology is one of the most common ways for a perpetrator to initiate the reconciliation process. Numerous studies have shown the positive effects of apologies. Contrary to this, almost no research has investigated when perpetrators are actually willing to offer such an apology. In this dissertation the willingness of perpetrators to apologise to a victim after an interpersonal transgression is investigated. Leunissen shows the reactions of victims after a transgression can influence the willingness of perpetrators to apologise in the sense that perpetrators are more willing to apologise to forgiving victims than to unforgiving victims. He investigated how the intentionality of transgressions influences both the willingness to apologise and a victim¿s desire to receive an apology. Perpetrators are more willing to apologise after unintentional than after intentional transgressions, while victims have a greater desire for an apology after intentional than unintentional transgressions. These differences are mediated by unique emotions: guilt and anger. Leunissen focuses on how the value that perpetrators ascribe to the relationship influences their willingness to apologise. Finally, in this dissertation, he shows how perpetrators often overestimate the unpleasantness of apologising, which can have a negative effect on their willingness to apologise.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • De Cremer, Supervisor
  • Giessner, Steffen, Doctoral committee member
  • Meijs, Lucas, Doctoral committee member
  • Kaptein, Muel, Doctoral committee member
  • van Dijke, Marius, Co-supervisor
Award date10 Jan 2014
Place of PublicationRotterdam
Print ISBNs9789058923486
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2014

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