Master of Arts (MA)
Faculty of Science
Past research on temporal self-appraisal theory has revealed that individuals are able to maintain a positive sense of self by subjectively moving favourable past events forward and unfavourable past events backward in time. The current study extends past work by examining whether individuals alter subjective distance from historical injustices to protect their collective identity. Men, as members of a perpetrator group, may perceive past injustices against women as a threat to their collective identity. As such, men may be motivated to subjectively move past injustices backward in time. On the other hand, women, as members of a victim group, may perceive past injustices against women as a crucial aspect of their collective identity. As such, women may be motivated to subjectively move past injustices forward in time. Study 1 examined subjective distance from past injustices and its relation to collective guilt and support for compensation. When the threat posed by past injustices had not been mitigated by the "advances made in women's rights", men distanced past injustices more than women. Furthermore, men who distanced injustices furthest in the past reported less collective guilt and less support for compensation; whereas women who perceived injustices to be closer to the present reported greater support for compensation. Study 2 examined the causal role of subjective distance in determining collective guilt and support for compensation. Further support was provided for the role of subjective distance in men's acceptance of collective guilt and willingness to compensate women. However, results suggest that subjective distance may not have played as large a role for women's assignment of collective blame. We discuss the powerful role of time perception in forging, or severing, connections between history and current experience.
Gunn, Gregory Roy, "Forging and severing connections between historical injustices and current experience" (2005). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 772.