Intergroup Contact and Contact Norms as Predictors of Postconflict Forgiveness

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Abstract

The aim of this research was to examine the pathway to intergroup forgiveness in postconflict contexts from the framework of improved intergroup relations and with an emphasis on identifying context-specific variables. Two studies investigated the relationship between intergroup contact and ingroup contact norms, and postconflict forgiveness. In the context of Anglo-German post-WWII relations, Study 1 provided evidence that intergroup anxiety and common ingroup identity were significantly predicted by positive intergroup contact and ingroup norms, which then predicted forgiveness of the German outgroup for wartime actions. Accordingly, focusing on Greek and Turkish Cypriot relations in Cyprus the results of Study 2 showed that positive contact with Greek Cypriots and ingroup contact norms were related to decreased intergroup anxiety and dehumanization, which in turn were associated with increased forgiveness. The results are discussed in the context of intergroup relations and postconflict resolution.

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