Peace and War: Rewarding Intergroup Contacts Make Past Intergroup Aggression Unforgivable

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Past research has shown that contacts with a primary outgroup can increase positive attitudes toward other outgroups (secondary outgroups) that are not involved in the contacts. This effect could influence intergroup forgiveness in 2 different ways. Pleasant contacts with a primary outgroup could lead to transfer of positive evaluations to the secondary outgroups and hence foster forgiveness of past aggressions of the secondary outgroups against the ingroup, or positive intergroup contacts with the primary outgroup could increase the salience of the cooperation norms in intergroup relations, rendering past foreign aggressions more unforgivable. Through the use of the intergroup contact paradigm, the present experiment provided a preliminary test of these 2 competing effects of positive intergroup contacts on intergroup forgiveness. The results showed that positive interactions with Korean people increased the tendency of Singaporeans to not forgive the aggressions of the Japanese against Singaporeans in World War II.

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