This research was supported by a fellowship from Evangelisches Studienwerk e.V. Villigst to Roland Imhoff. We thank Pascale Bonus, Magdalena Jasinska, and Stefanie Stein for their help with data collection.
When the Past is Far from Dead: How Ongoing Consequences of Genocides Committed by the Ingroup Impact Collective Guilt
Article first published online: 7 MAR 2013
© 2013 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
Journal of Social Issues
Special Issue: The Aftermath of Genocide: Psychological Perspectives
Volume 69, Issue 1, pages 74–91, March 2013
How to Cite
Imhoff, R., Wohl, M. J. A. and Erb, H.-P. (2013), When the Past is Far from Dead: How Ongoing Consequences of Genocides Committed by the Ingroup Impact Collective Guilt. Journal of Social Issues, 69: 74–91. doi: 10.1111/josi.12004
- Issue published online: 7 MAR 2013
- Article first published online: 7 MAR 2013
In two experimental studies, we examined how the ongoing negative consequences for victims of genocides committed by Germans influence the acceptance of collective guilt in young Germans living today. Experiment 1 showed that collective guilt is undermined when the genocide against the Herero people in Namibia is framed as having no impact on contemporary tribe members. The downstream consequence was reduced reparatory intentions. Extending these results, Experiment 2 replicated these findings in the context of Nazi crimes against Jews. In addition, we manipulated to what degree the compliance with the Holocaust was perceived as intentional, a widely debated issue in Holocaust studies. In line with predictions derived from attribution theory, collective guilt and reparatory intentions were particularly prevalent when the Holocaust was explained as the result of deliberate intentions of the ingroup. Implications for ingroup responses to historical harmdoing are discussed.