Predicting College Students' Propensity to Forgive with Dimensions of Executive Functioning

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Dillon, Michelle Renee
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Middle Tennessee State University
There is a shortage of research that investigates how, and to what extent, the propensity to forgive is predicted by neurocognitive processes. To address this, the current study analyzed how forgiveness was predicted by the core executive functioning (EF) dimensions of behavior regulation (i.e., inhibition skills) and metacognition (i.e., working memory skills). College students (N = 243) were administered two forgiveness measures, the Forgiveness Scale (Rye, 1998) and the Transgression-Related Interpersonal Motivations Inventory-12 (TRIM-12; McCullough, Rachal, Sandage, Worthington, Brown, & Hight, 1998) and one EF measure, the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function Adult Version (BRIEF-A; Roth, Isquith, & Gioia, 2005). Results indicated that global EF skills successfully predicted overall forgiveness. Furthermore, when investigating each core EF dimension separately, EF behavior regulation skills were a better predictor of forgiveness when compared to metacognitive skills. When analyzing two forgiveness dimensions individually, both positive and negative forgiveness dimensions predicted EF behavior regulation skills. Findings from the current study clarify previous forgiveness and EF research and extend the investigation by applying a dimensional approach to both of the constructs.
Executive Functioning, Forgiveness