Parsing the components of forgiveness: Psychological and neural mechanisms

Fourie, M. M., Hortensius, R. and Decety, J. (2020) Parsing the components of forgiveness: Psychological and neural mechanisms. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 112, pp. 437-451. (doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2020.02.020) (PMID:32088347)

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Forgiveness―a shift in motivation away from retaliation and avoidance towards increased goodwill for the perceived wrongdoer―plays a vital role in restoring social relationships, and positively impacts personal wellbeing and society at large. Parsing the psychological and neurobiological mechanisms of forgiveness contributes theoretical clarity, yet has remained an outstanding challenge because of conceptual and methodological difficulties in the field. Here, we critically examine the neuroscientific evidence in support of a theoretical framework which accounts for the proximate mechanisms underlying forgiveness. Specifically, we integrate empirical evidence from social psychology and neuroscience to propose that forgiveness relies on three distinct and interacting psychological macro-components: cognitive control, perspective taking, and social valuation. The implication of the lateral prefrontal cortex, temporoparietal junction, and ventromedial prefrontal cortex, respectively, is discussed in the brain networks subserving these distinct component processes. Finally, we outline some caveats that limit the translational value of existing social neuroscience research and provide directions for future research to advance the field of forgiveness.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:MF was supported by a Blue Skies Research grant on Histories ofTrauma from the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa,as well as by Stellenbosch University. RH was supported by a Van derGaag Grant of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, anda Professors’Fund grant of the University Fund Limburg.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hortensius, Dr Ruud
Authors: Fourie, M. M., Hortensius, R., and Decety, J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
ISSN (Online):1873-7528
Published Online:20 February 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd
First Published:First published in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 112:437-451
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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