Forgiveness and justice: a research agenda for social and personality psychology

Pers Soc Psychol Rev. 2003;7(4):337-48. doi: 10.1207/S15327957PSPR0704_06.


Forgiveness and related constructs (e.g., repentance, mercy, reconciliation) are ripe for study by social and personality psychologists, including those interested in justice. Current trends in social science, law, management, philosophy, and theology suggest a need to expand existing justice frameworks to incorporate alternatives or complements to retribution, including forgiveness and related processes. In this article, we raise five challenging empirical questions about forgiveness. For each question, we briefly review representative research, raise hypotheses, and suggest specific ways in which social and personality psychologists could make distinctive contributions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude*
  • Crime
  • Humans
  • Personality*
  • Psychology, Social*
  • Social Justice*
  • Social Responsibility*