Forgiveness Involving Biology and Human Evolution
Animal studies shed light on basic reactions and responses to fighting.
Process & Overcome Socially Negative Events"
Frans de Waal, Ph.D., at the Living Links Center at Emory University,
proposes to seek an understanding of how chimpanzees remember fights,
and under which circumstances they overcome retaliatory tendencies.
De Waal indicates that this research can contribute to an understanding
of human forgiveness by illuminating the evolutionary antecedents
of forgiveness-like tendencies, confirming the social and psychological
benefits of relationship restoration, and inspiring further research
into human behavior.
"Forgiveness from Evolutionary & Cross-cultural Perspective"
David Sloan Wilson, Ph.D., in the Department of Biological Sciences at Binghamton University, proposes to study whether forgiveness is essential to adaptive moral systems in cultures around the world. Morality will be explained as an evolved set of traits that causes whole groups to function as adaptive units, and the way tendencies to forgive are used as building blocks to preserve order within and between smaller societies throughout human history. The ability of people to form into functionally integrated social groups is a broad development in evolutionary biology that provides the foundation for the research.
"Scientific Studies on the Subject of Forgiveness"
E. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, Ph.D., in the Department of Biology at Georgia State University when the study was funded is now at Great Ape Trust of Iowa. She proposes to look at the development of inter-individual patterns of interaction between youngsters and caregivers that results in teaching forgiveness as a behavioral strategy in response to perceived wrongs. She proposes to prove that behavioral patterns of forgiveness are formed in humans and apes via early infant rearing/caretaking interactions and that these inter-individual patterns manifest themselves in social structures that promote forgiveness to different degrees. Finally, she proposes that these things are not biologically determined but are established in the history of a species and are subject to change.
A Campaign for Forgiveness Research
funded 46 innovative research projects on the effects of forgiveness.
Now you can read about their discoveries.