Yo, a revolution's what it's smelling like, it ain't going be televised
Governments is hellified, taking cake and selling pies
I ain't got a crust or crumb, to get some I'd be well obliged
Murder is commodified, felon for the second time
Never was I into chasing trouble I was followed by
Facing trouble with no alibi, had to swallow pride
Vilified, victimized, penalized, criticized
Ran into some people that's surprised I was still alive
Look into my daughter's eyes, wonder how can I provide
Got to get from A to B but how can I afford to drive?
Messed around, tried to get a job and wasn't qualified
Had to see a pal of mine, got to get the lightning rod
Now I'm in the black Impala looking for the dollar sign
Palms get the itching man I got to get the calamine
Before I fall behind, guess the grind will be my 9 to 5
I will not be conquered by, I will not apologize
Taken together, the results of these two studies provide converging evidence that there can be beneficial psychological consequences for individuals who refuse to provide an apology to the victims of their harmful actions. The positive relationship between apology refusals and indices of self-worth were consistent across the two methodologies. This pattern was evident when manipulating the type of event recalled in Study 1, suggesting that it is indicative of a harm-doers' authentically unapologetic feelings about a past transgression. Furthermore, this basic pattern was replicated when manipulating participants' unapologetic response in Study 2, suggesting that the findings of Study 1 were not due to confounding features of the different event types recalled and that the act of refusal had a causal impact on feelings of self-worth.
Notwithstanding the need for further specification, the current findings are remarkable given that an apology refusal may, in some cases, reinforce commitment to antisocial behavior that has harmed another individual and is largely perceived by others to be unjust. In the current research, the heightened self-relevant perceptions of power/control and value integrity implied by the explicit act of refusing to apologize appeared to trump any potential negative effect on self-esteem resulting from the defense of harmful actions. Such findings may help to explain barriers to reconciliation and the seemingly irrational, antisocial, or callous behavior of harm-doers in real-world contexts. For example, in judicial proceedings, even when apologies are inadmissible as evidence of culpability, many offenders still refuse their counsel's suggestion to apologize despite the likelihood that it will reduce sentencing severity (Robbennolt, 2003). Within organizations, effectiveness and learning may be hindered by a leader's reluctance to admit error and take responsibility, perhaps indicative of a more fundamental tension between the organizational goals that leaders are charged with implementing and their self-oriented goals to maintain power and status (see Magee, Gruenfeld, Keltner, & Galinsky, 2004). In intergroup contexts, symbolic apologies in response to historical victimizations are a common strategy for trying to promote reconciliation (see Blatz & Philpot, 2010; Chapman, 2007; Philpot & Hornsey, 2008, 2011; Wohl, Hornsey, & Bennett, 2012), but the debate about whether or not such apologies should be conferred often becomes a major political issue, giving rise to added contention between groups. Recognition of the self-serving consequences of nonconciliatory behaviors, which may deny victims of harm psychological closure, provides much needed insight into the psychology of unrepentant harm-doers.
For example, the act of refusing to apologize may be much less psychologically advantageous for harm-doers when considering relational outcomes (e.g., relationship quality, group identification, and belongingness) that are less self-focused and are more likely to capture the importance of the dialogical interplay between a harm-doer and his or her victim.
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