An interesting study based on the adage “forgive and forget.” Here are some key points:
- They base the study on forgive first in order to forget.
- Forgiving may be a coping strategy: to forget the upsetting memories of the bad transgression.
However, with the last one, I often wonder why some people hold grudges. Is it because holding on to the bad memory is a way to keep one’s distance from that person? Perhaps holding on to grudges is a way to still protect the self in a way. Yet the article presents forgiveness as a form of control. From the article itself:
From the perspective of cognitive science, overcoming strong negative emotions toward the person who did us wrong and quashing impulses for retribution or vengeance — processes that are critical to forgiveness — may be seen as a function of executive control.
And research suggests that this executive control is also involved in our ability to forget something when we’re motivated to forget it.
Still, could holding a grudge also be seen as a function of executive control. After all, if this person wronged me, I hold a grudge in order to have executive control of the situation. Or perhaps the grudge, and the transgression, is controlling me!