How effective are different accounts of harm-doing in softening victims' reactions? A scenario investigation of the effects of severity, relationship, and culture

Mitsuteru Fukuno, Kenichi Obuchi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    27 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    In order to examine the effects of different types of accounts in terms of the victims' reactions, we presented 193 American and 186 Japanese participants with scenarios in which an actor unintentionally harmed someone and then gave one of five different accounts. We asked the participants to estimate how the victim would react (emotional alleviation, impression improvement, or forgiveness) to these accounts. The participants rated that the victims would make more positive reactions to the mitigative accounts (apology or excuse) but more negative reactions to the assertive accounts (the denial). Although the reactions to accounts became generally more negative when the harm was severe, the mitigative accounts were more likely to be accepted by the victim than the assertive ones. As compared with the Japanese, the Americans rated the victim as more increasing their impression improvement reactions to one type of justification but more decreasing it to the denial. However, these results did not match the cultural preference of accounts, thereby casting doubt over the validity of cultural efficacy theory.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)167-178
    Number of pages12
    JournalAsian Journal of Social Psychology
    Volume1
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1998 Jan 1

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Psychology
    • Social Sciences(all)

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