The Shadow of the Italian Colonial Experience: The Impact of Collective Emotions on Intentions to Help the Victims’ Descendants

  • Silvia Mari
  • Luca Andrighetto
  • Alessandro Gabbiadini
  • Federica Durante
  • Chiara Volpato


Recalling the Italian colonial experience elicits the collective emotions of guilt, shame, and ingroup-focused anger. We expected that these emotions would predict different reparation intentions in favor of the colonized populations' descendants. Students and non-students were recruited (N = 152) and asked to rate their emotions of collective guilt, shame, and anger for the violence that their ingroup had perpetrated against colonized people. Results showed that shame affected intentions to provide economic compensation to current inhabitants of the ex-colonies. This relationship was mediated by concerns of damage for the ingroup's image. Anger toward the ingroup predicted intentions to help immigrants from the ex-colonies now living in Italy. Interestingly, empathy toward the outgroup mediated the latter relation. Finally, collective guilt was not reliably associated with any reparation strategy. These findings have implications for theory and for the historical collective memory of Italian colonialism.
Focus Section