Can You Forgive?

Can you forgive? Do happier people forgive more easily?

Can you forgive? Do happier people forgive more easily?

As famously stated by Gandhi “the weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” But what attributes or conditions are required to forgive?

Research recently published in the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology aimed to examine how happiness correlates with forgiveness.

We attempt to investigate whether people with different happiness levels and different group status, ingroup or outgroup, show different levels of forgiveness

The researchers stated that:

Happiness represents positive human feelings, and forgiveness demonstrates positive thinking and human virtue.

Happiness and forgiveness are apparently positively related

The researchers conducted 2 experiments in order to establish how happiness and forgiveness are correlated:

Study 1, we find that unhappy people tend to be less forgiving when the victims of killings are ingroup members rather than outgroup members.

Highly happy people, however, tend to be more forgiving no matter whether the victims are ingroup or outgroup members.

That is to say that very happy people would forgive individuals from their own friendship group, family or people they didn’t know very well.

The researchers discussed how the findings may be used on a practical level:

The present research findings suggest that happiness states and group status could significantly influence willingness to forgive. Understanding this pattern could provide a psychological perspective to analyze and intervene in ethnic conflicts such as those in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Israel, beyond sole political perspectives.