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Changing the Angle: The Effect of Group Membership and Apology on the Willingness to Take Perspective of Ex-prisoners

Schrimpf, Lisa (2013) Changing the Angle: The Effect of Group Membership and Apology on the Willingness to Take Perspective of Ex-prisoners.

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Abstract:The stigmatization of ex-prisoners can complicate their reintegration into society because they perceive themselves as not being part of it. This perceived exclusion might lead to a higher risk of recidivism. Perspective taking is argued to counteract stigmatization as people are encouraged to find similarities between themselves and the other person. This study aims to focus on the effect of group membership of an ex-prisoner and on the effect of apologizing on the willingness to take the perspective of this ex-prisoner. It is suggested that people are more willing to take an ex-prisoner’s perspective when he is part of the out-group compared to being part of the in-group because of the “black sheep effect”. This effect states that in-group members are judged more harshly as the positive image of the whole group is affected and therefore the group needs to distance itself from the “black sheep”. Apologizing is expected to increase the willingness to take perspective of an ex-prisoner because it restores the positive image of an ex-prisoner. The “black sheep effect” is expected to hold true for the interaction effect as being part of the out-group and apologizing leads to a higher willingness to take perspective compared to an ex-prisoner who is part of the in-group and apologizes. The same tendency is expected to apply if no apology is given although the effect will be less clear. In this online survey 207 participants were asked to take perspective of either an in- or an out-group ex-prisoner who apologized or not. Overall, the main effects as well as the interaction effects turned out to be less strong than expected. Although most of the effects were not found to be significant, the tendencies emphasized the hypothesis stated except in the case of membership. Here the opposite result was found which can be explained using the ultimate attribution error (Pettigrew, 1979) which suggests that negative attributions of in-group members are ascribed to the situation rather than to dispositional factors. Further research need to be carried out in order to underline the results. Implicates are discussed.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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