Michael E. McCullough, Lindsey M. Root, Benjamin A. Tabak, Charlotte Van Oyen Witvliet

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


We posit that humans have a propensity to forgive, under certain circumstances, that is every bit as intrinsic to human nature as the tendency to seek revenge when harmed. The human tendency to forgive is reliably elicited by social and environmental factors that lead victims to view their transgressors as worthy of care, potentially valuable to the victim in the future, and safe. The victim's personality characteristics may also influence the likelihood of viewing transgressors as careworthy, valuable, and safe. Using these categories, we review recent developments in the scientific study of the social and personality factors that promote forgiveness. We also review developments in the measurement of forgiveness, the links of forgiveness to health and well-being, and quantitative evidence regarding the effectiveness of interventions for promoting forgiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology, (2 Ed.)
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199940615
ISBN (Print)9780195187243
StatePublished - Sep 18 2012


  • Conflict
  • Evolution
  • Forgiveness
  • Health
  • Revenge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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