Sorry is NOT the hardest word!

Humans are predisposed to forgive others because dismissing someone for one bad deed could cut off access to crucial information in future, scientists claim

Elton John was wrong — sorry is not the hardest word after all, as scientists have found that human beings are genetically hardwired to forgive other people.

Research has found people are reluctant to believe others are inherently bad, even when they have behaved immorally, according to Daily Mail.

When someone who has behaved badly then does something nice, people will be inclined to forgive any previous misgivings.

 This inbuilt forgiveness evolved because dismissing someone entirely based on one bad deed could cut cause someone to miss out on a slew of benefits from any given social connection, scientists explained.

The study found that it is human nature to see the best in someone – and we are predisposed to believe a person who behaves morally is a truly good person. 

Assistant professor Molly Crockett, at Yale University said: 'The brain forms social impressions in a way that can enable forgiveness.

'Because people sometimes behave badly by accident, we need to be able to update bad impressions that turn out to be mistaken.

'Otherwise, we might end relationships prematurely and miss out on the many benefits of social connection.' 

As well as people being likely to create a positive impression from the get-go, they also found that humans are predisposed to give people the benefit of the doubt.   

Researchers found forgiveness is crucial in developing and maintaining important social relationships.

This allows people to redeem themselves in the eyes of their peers, should their first impression be one of questionable character.

Participants in the study were asked to form an opinion on people based on this decision and judge their morality.

They rapidly formed stable, positive impressions of the good stranger and were highly confident of their impressions.

However, the subjects were far less confident the bad stranger was truly bad and could change their minds quickly.

This pattern of updating impressions may provide some insight into why people sometimes hold on to bad relationships.

Assistant Professor Crockett said: 'We think our findings reveal a basic predisposition towards giving others, even strangers, the benefit of the doubt.

'The human mind is built for maintaining social relationships, even when partners sometimes behave badly.'

The research also may eventually help shed light on psychiatric disorders involving social difficulties, such as Borderline Personality Disorder.

Lead author and doctoral student Jenifer Siegel at Oxford University said: 'The ability to accurately form impressions of others' character is crucial for the development and maintenance of healthy relationships.

'We have developed new tools for measuring impression formation, which could help improve our understanding of relational dysfunction.'

N.H.Kh

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