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I feel you feel what I feel: Perceived perspective‐taking promotes victims‘ conciliatory attitudes because of inferred emotions in the offender

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European Journal of Social Psychology

Published online on


In the context of bullying in a nursing workplace, we test the argument that an offender‘s perspective‐taking promotes victim conciliation, mediated by perceived perspective‐taking, that is, the extent to which the victim perceives the offender as taking their perspective. Perceived perspective‐taking facilitates the attribution of moral emotions (remorse, etc.) to the offender, thereby promoting conciliatory victim responses. However, perceived perspective‐taking would be qualified by the extent to which the severity of consequences expressed in the offender‘s perspective‐taking matches or surpasses the severity for the victim. In Studies 1 and 2 (Ns = 141 and 122), victims indicated greater trust and/or forgiveness when the offender had taken the victim‘s perspective. This was sequentially mediated by perceived perspective‐taking and victim‘s inference that the offender had felt moral emotions. As predicted, in Study 2 (but not Study 1) severity of consequences qualified victims‘ perceived perspective‐taking. Study 3 (N = 138) examined three potential mechanisms for the moderation by severity. Victims attributed greater perspective‐taking to the offender when the consequences were less severe than voiced by the offender, suggesting victims‘ appreciation of the offender‘s generous appraisal. Attributions of perspective‐taking and of moral emotions to the offender may play an important role in reconciliation processes.