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Conservatives are more reluctant to give and receive apologies than liberals

Hornsey, M.J.; Schumann, K.; Bain, P.G.; Blumen, S.; Chen, S.X.; Gómez, Á; González, R.; Guan, Y.; Kashima, E.; Lebedeva, N.; Wohl, M.J.A.

Conservatives are more reluctant to give and receive apologies than liberals Thumbnail


M.J. Hornsey

K. Schumann

P.G. Bain

S. Blumen

S.X. Chen

Á Gómez

R. González

E. Kashima

N. Lebedeva

M.J.A. Wohl


This article examines the proposition that conservatives will be less willing than liberals to apologize and less likely to forgive after receiving an apology. In Study 1, we found evidence for both relationships in a nine-nation survey. In Study 2, participants wrote an open-ended response to a victim of a hypothetical transgression they had committed. More conservative participants were less likely to include apologetic elements in their response. We also tested two underlying mechanisms for the associations: social dominance orientation (SDO) and entity beliefs about human nature. SDO emerged as a stronger and more consistent mediator than entity beliefs. Apologies are theorized to be a rhetorical vehicle for removing power inequities in relationships posttransgression. Consistent with this theorizing, it was those who are relatively high in commitment to equality (i.e., those high in liberal ideology and low in SDO) who are most likely to provide and reward apologies.


Hornsey, M., Schumann, K., Bain, P., Blumen, S., Chen, S., Gómez, A., …Wohl, M. (2017). Conservatives are more reluctant to give and receive apologies than liberals. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 8(7), 827-835.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 8, 2016
Online Publication Date Feb 28, 2017
Publication Date Sep 1, 2017
Deposit Date Mar 21, 2017
Publicly Available Date Mar 22, 2017
Journal Social Psychological and Personality Science
Print ISSN 1948-5506
Electronic ISSN 1948-5514
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 7
Pages 827-835
Public URL


Accepted Journal Article (454 Kb)

Copyright Statement
Hornsey, M.J. and Schumann, K. and Bain, P.G. and Blumen, S. and Chen, S.X. and Gómez, Á. and González, R. and Guan, Y. and Kashima, E. and Lebedeva, N. and Wohl, M.J.A. (2017) 'Conservatives are more reluctant to give and receive apologies than liberals.', Social psychological and personality science., 8 (7). pp. 827-835. Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.

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