Motives to (not) forgive deviant group members: A comparison within and between cultures

Sylvia Huwae, Juliëtte Schaafsma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines people's motives to (not) forgive group members who violate an important group norm. More specifically, we attempt to determine what is the primary focus in such a situation (the group, the offender, the relationship, or the self), and whether this depends on how important the group is and on the cultural context (more individualist or more collectivist). Our sample includes Moluccans living in Indonesia (more collectivist) and Moluccans in the Netherlands (more individualist). Participants were asked to evaluate a scenario in which a group member (close or nonclose other) violated an important group norm. We find that Indonesian Moluccans are more likely not to forgive group members who violate a group norm than Dutch Moluccans. This finding suggests that the group is more important to Indonesian Moluccans. Across the two samples, however, participants were more inclined to forgive an ingroup deviant for the benefit of this person or their relationship than for the benefit of the group. Interestingly, self‐focused concerns were more important among Indonesian Moluccans and differences between the samples in the relative importance of the different motives could not be explained by people's self‐definition (i.e., more independent or interdependent). Implications of these findings for the literature on forgiveness and on individualism–collectivism are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-64
JournalAsian Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2018


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