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Open Access Dissertation
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Conflicts between groups harm positive intergroup relations. Parties to intergroup conflict have developed a variety of methods for fostering reconciliation following conflicts. Out of these different mechanisms, intergroup apology is the most studied empirically but there are still a number of gaps in this research. To address these gaps, my research brought together intergroup apology research, attitude change and persuasion research, and findings on the role of group identification. In this research I assumed that apologies and other efforts for reconciliation function as persuasive messages for intergroup reconciliation. The research assessed the way in which participants from both victim and perpetrator groups cognitively process these messages. According to persuasion research, if an individual is inoculated to a persuasive message prior to hearing it, that person will be more likely to resist attitude change. Studies 1, 2, and 3 were all 2 (victim vs. perpetrator group member) x 2 (inoculation vs. no inoculation) factorial designs with a continuous moderator, with researcher race (person of color vs. White) also examined in Study 1. The context of Study 1 was an interracial injustice committed against African-Americans by the United States government. The context of Study 2 was the long history of interracial violations committed against the largest indigenous group in Chile by the dominant group and government. Finally, the context of Study 3 was the conflict between the political Left and Right in Chile during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Overall, I found that the way participants processed the messages was related to the outcome variables. Study 1 revealed expected effects of inoculation and similar effects of researcher race. Studies 2 and 3 demonstrated group differences largely in line with positions on each side of the conflicts in Chile. The implication, limitations, and future directions of this research were discussed.
Steele, Rachel R., "Processing Messages for Reconciliation: What Produces Changes in Attitudes Instead of Resistance?" (2016). Doctoral Dissertations. 760.