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Southern Criminals Are More Polite

Update Date: Apr 08, 2014 05:22 PM EDT
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Southern death-row inmates are more polite, according to a new study.

Americans living in Southern states are more likely to uphold a culture of honor and follow traditional guidelines on politeness.

A new study reveals that Southern death-row criminals are more likely to apologize for their crimes in their final statements compared to those from other U.S. regions.

Researchers analyzed the final statement of executed prisoners from across the U.S. between January 2000 and December 2011. The study involved 299 Southerners and 60 non-Southerners.

The findings revealed that offenders were twice as likely to apologize in their final statements if they were from a southern state.

For the study, researchers analyzed three additional elements of each apology: whether the apology contained a request for forgiveness, showed feelings of regret, and appeared to be sincere and so remorse.

While Southerners did apologize more often, researchers found that there were no differences in degree of remorse between Southerners and non-Southerners.

Researchers said the findings suggest that apologizing by saying "sorry" may be significantly more different than showing remorse. Nonetheless, researchers believe that apologies can still be beneficial for victims and offenders.

"If Southern victims (or their families) adhere to the same politeness norms or social scripts as offenders, it may be that an apology from an offender, regardless of whether it is sincere, may make victims' families feel better," lead researcher Judy Eaton said in a news release.

The findings were published in the journal SAGE Open, an award-winning, peer-reviewed, "Gold" open access journal from SAGE that publishes original research and review articles in an interactive, open access format.

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