Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2015

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Psychology & Neuroscience

First Advisor

Akira Miyake

Abstract

Forgiveness has been predicted by and correlated with aspects of personality, although few have analyzed these relationships by a forgiveness of self and others distinction, or by components of forgiveness (benevolence, avoidance, revenge). This study tested 91 university students using the Big Five Personality Inventory, and assessed forgiveness through scenario based measures. The study addressed three questions in specific: (a) are there differences between forgiveness of self and forgiveness of others; (b) does personality predict forgiveness; and (c) are there any moderating variables (explanatory style or working memory capacity) in the relationships found. I found that differences existed within types of forgiveness (self and other); that neuroticism is the most significant personality predictor of forgiveness; and that explanatory style moderates the forgiveness by condition (self versus other) relationship. These results suggest that people on average are more willing to forgive themselves than others, that across types of forgiveness (self and other), individuals scoring higher in neuroticism are less likely to forgive in general, and that the effect of condition on forgiveness becomes less prominent in individuals with higher explanatory style scores.

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