When Bad Things Happen to Good Feedback: Exacerbating the Need for Self-Justification with Self-Affirmations Academic Article uri icon


  • In numerous self-affirmation studies, Claude Steele and colleagues have demonstrated that self-affirmations reduce the need to justify dissonant behavior even when the affirmation is unrelated to the dissonance-evoking action. However, research has not sufficiently examined the impact of reaffirming self-aspects that are related to the dissonance. The authors argue that relevant affirmations of this sort can make salient the standards that are violated in the course of dissonant behavior; thereby increasing dissonance and the need for self justification. In a laboratory study using the induced-compliance paradigm, it was demonstrated that dissonance can be exacerbated by reaffirming standards that are violated in the course of the dissonant behavior.

published proceedings

  • Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

author list (cited authors)

  • Blanton, H., Cooper, J., Slkurnik, I., & Aronson, J.

citation count

  • 82

complete list of authors

  • Blanton, Hart||Cooper, Joel||Slkurnik, Ian||Aronson, Joshua

publication date

  • July 1997