Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Program Name/Specialization

Social Psychology


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Dr. Anne E. Wilson

Advisor Role

Dr. Anne E. Wilson


As more and more of our lives take place online, we are developing a very public and permanent record of our past views and actions. It is increasingly common for public figures to have their current image tarnished by their mistakes and transgressions in what is often the distant past. Although factors such as the passage of time and age of the actor are typically given consideration in moral judgement, they may be swept away by identity and politics when the transgressions are viewed along partisan lines. Three experiments (N = 2,018) found that judgements of a public figure who had tweeted racist statements in the past were indeed less harsh when more time had passed and when the public figure was younger at the time of the tweet. However, politics also played a powerful role. Independent of time and age, liberals allowed less possibility of redemption for anti-Black tweets, while conservatives were less forgiving for anti-White tweets. Such partisan differences extended not only to various forms of moral judgement and punitiveness but also general moral principles and participants’ subjective perceptions of the situation itself.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season