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Social Justice Speaker Series – On The Hidden Reluctance To Forgive

March 28 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Free – $15.00

The Social Justice Speaker Series Presents:

On The Hidden Reluctance To Forgive

Presenter: Dr. Melissa Ferguson

Date & Time:  Thursday, March 28th, 2024 from 7:00-8:00PM

Location: Zoom


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FREE to attend FREE CE for CPA Members $15.00 CE Processing Fee for Non-members

Continuing Education:  Eligible for 1 CE


When do we forgive others? I will describe new research on Americans’ automatic versus controlled reports of their forgiveness toward formerly incarcerated individuals. When a formerly incarcerated individual shows redemptive efforts, or is shown to be innocent, Americans self-report considerable forgiveness and positivity toward that individual. However, their more automatic responses to the same individual are much less positive and sometimes do not change at all compared with only knowing about the individual’s crime.  Participants’ automatic feelings toward the individual predicted their behavior toward them in a later task.  I will discuss theoretical and practical implications of this work.

Learning Objectives:

1.       Identify at least 2 evaluative responses people can generate toward others.

2.       Explain when as well as why people update their evaluations of others.

3.       Name at least 2 implications of people’s tendency to forgive, or not, others.

Research Citations

Kurdi, B., Krosch, A. R., & Ferguson, M. J. (in press). Oppressed groups engender implicit positivity: Seven demonstrations using novel and familiar targets.  Psychological Science.

Korkmaz, A., Mann, T. C., Eibelman, J., Sommers, R., & Ferguson, M. J. (2023).  Judging Guilt: Implicit impressions predict jury verdicts. (*shared first authorship). Social Psychological and Personality Science, 19485506231177328.

Kurdi, B., Mann, T. C., & Ferguson, M. J. (2021). Persuading the implicit mind.  Changing negative implicit evaluations with an 8-minute podcast. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 13(3), 688-697.

Presenter Biography

DR. MELISSA J. FERGUSON is an experimental social psychologist. She received her doctorate in social psychology from New York University, and was a faculty member in the psychology department at Cornell University until 2020, when she joined the psychology department at Yale University.  Her research focuses on the implicit cognitive processes that enable evaluation, goal-pursuit, self-control, and social behavior.  Three recent topics of research in the lab are how we can update our impressions of others, how we control our behavior, and how we express prejudice.  Her research has appeared in outlets such as Psychological Science, the Journal of Personality and Social PsychologyTrends in Cognitive SciencesJournal of Experimental Psychology: General, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. She recently won the Diener Award in Social Psychology, from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.

Post-Event Evaluation Form:



The Connecticut Psychological Association (CPA) is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Connecticut Psychological Association maintains responsibility for this program and its content.  1 CE credit is available per hour for attendees who are present for the entire program. We ask that all participants return the post-program evaluation form at the conclusion of the program. CPA and our speakers have not received any commercial support for this program or its contents and will not receive any commercial support prior to or during this program.


March 28
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free – $15.00
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Connecticut Psychological Association – Social Justice Speaker Series


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