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Lichtenfeld, Stephanie; Buechner, Vanessa L.; Maier, Markus A.; Fernández-Capo, Maria (2015): Forgive and Forget: Differences between Decisional and Emotional Forgiveness.
In: PLOS ONE 10(5), e0125561
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Abstract

To forgive and forget is a well-known idiom, which has rarely been looked at empirically. In the current experiment, we investigated differences between emotional and decisional forgiveness on forgetting. The present study provides the first empirical support that emotional forgiveness has a strong influence on subsequent incidental forgetting. Specifically, our results demonstrate that emotional forgiveness leads to substantially higher levels of forgetting in respect to offense relevant traits compared to both decisional forgiveness and no forgiveness. This provides evidence for our hypothesized effect that only individuals who have emotionally forgiven a transgression, and not those who just decided to forgive, subsequently forget offense relevant traits attributed to the transgressor.