Journal article

Appealing to common humanity increases forgiveness but reduces collective action among victims of historical atrocities

Katharine H Greenaway, Emerald A Quinn, Winnifred R Louis

European Journal of Social Psychology | WILEY-BLACKWELL | Published : 2011


Appealing to common humanity is often suggested as a method of uniting victims and perpetrators of historical atrocities. In the present experiment (N=109), we reveal that this strategy may actually work against victim groups' best interests. Appealing to common humanity (versus intergroup identity) increased forgiveness of perpetrators but independently also served to lower intentions to engage in collective action. Both effects were mediated but not moderated by reduced identification with the victim group. We, thus reveal an important feature of appeals to common humanity: That this strategy may reduce social change at the same time as helping to promote more positive intergroup attitudes..

View full abstract