The effects of third-party validation and minimization on judgments of the transgressor and the third party


Judy Eaton, Laurier Brantford, 73 George St., Brantford, ON, Canada, N3T 2Y3 (e-mail:


Victims of interpersonal transgressions often turn to friends, family, and trusted others when trying to make sense of negative events. This research explored the effect of two of the many ways that these informal third parties can respond: validating the victim's experience, and downplaying or minimizing the transgression. Two studies found that validation from a third party increases revenge motivations and that minimization of the transgression is more effective than validation at reducing revenge motivations. However, results also indicated that victims judge third parties more positively if they validate rather than minimize the transgression. These findings suggest that, when choosing between validation and minimization, third parties must make a choice between promoting forgiveness and promoting themselves.