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.

author list (cited authors)

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

citation count

  • 77

publication date

  • July 1997