Science Snippet: How to Apologize

How do you apologize? Scientists analyzed how a group of 755 adults reacted to a range of apologies that included some or all of the following six factors: assertion of regret; admitting responsibility; explaining what went wrong; expression of repentance; offer to repair the damage; and request for forgiveness. The first factor of importance to the individual receiving the apology was acknowledgement of responsibility. An offer to repair the damage ranked second, while the other four factors were somewhat less important. An apology using all six factors would be the most effective, and might sound something like this: “Sorry I borrowed your mower and failed to return it on time. I take full responsibility for the matter, especially since I wasn’t watching and hit a rock with the mower and bent the blade. Of course I will pay to repair the damage, and I hope you will forgive me.” (Mind, Mood, and Memory, 2016, Mass. General Hosp., July issue;

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