Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Be Forgiving

  • Quésia F. CataldoEmail author
  • Roger S. Sousa
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_1226-1



Forgiveness mechanisms are designed to solve problems connected to preserving valued relationships in spite of previous damages. To be forgiving is to be able to change the motivation and emotional states towards someone who has harmed us, leaving behind a disposition for revenge with negative states of mind, for overcoming of animosities with positive states of mind.


Forgiveness is an inbuilt human nature resource and a standard human social instinct (McCullough 2008). Forgiveness is defined as a prosocial change in relation to a transgressor in spite of his harmful attitudes (McCullough et al. 2000). In general, being forgiving is associated with relational, emotional, and physical well-being (McCullough 2008).

The literature indicates several elements as related to forgiveness, among which are the personality of the individual, specific elements of the individual who has done something wrong, the relationship between the...

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversidade Federal do CearáFortalezaBrazil
  2. 2.Universidade Federal do CearáFortalezaBrazil

Section editors and affiliations

  • Todd K. Shackelford
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOakland UniversityRochesterUSA