Washington, Jan 19 (ANI): What is the real value of an apology? Not much, according to a new study.
Researchers found that people who imagined receiving an apology valued it more than people who actually received an apology.
They said the study results suggested that while people wanted an apology and rated it as highly valuable, the actual apology is less satisfying than predicted.
David De Cremer, who co-wrote the study with Chris Reinders Folmer of Erasmus University in the Netherlands and Madan M. Pillutla of the London Business School, said the study's findings questioned the value of an apology.
"We wondered, what was the real value of an apology?" said De Cremer.
The researchers used an experiment to examine how people think about apologies. Volunteers sat at a computer and were given 10 euros to either keep or give to a partner, with whom they communicated via computer.
The money was tripled so that the partner received 30 euros. Then the partner could choose how much to give back - but he or she only gave back five euros.
Some of the volunteers were given an apology for this cheap offer, while others were told to imagine they'd been given an apology.
The people who imagined an apology valued it more than people who actually received an apology.
The findings suggested that most people were not good at resolving conflicts.
Instead, the researchers found that an apology might be actually better at convincing outside observers that the wrongdoer feels bad than actually making the wronged party feel better.
De Cremer also cited banks' behaviour during the recent global financial crisis as an example of apologies.
"Banks didn't want to apologise because they didn't feel guilty but, in the public eye, banks were guilty," he said.
"And even when banks and CEOs apologised, the public didn't seem to feel any better," he added.
According to De Cremer, an apology is a first step in the reconciliation process.
"You need to show that you will do something else," he added.
The study is published in Psychological Science. (ANI)