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Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2011 Sep;37(9):1216-28. doi: 10.1177/0146167211409439. Epub 2011 May 17.

Affirming the self to promote agreement with another: lowering a psychological barrier to conflict resolution.

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Department of Psychology, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA 19081, USA.


Two studies investigated the capacity of a self-affirmation intervention to lower a psychological barrier to conflict resolution. Study 1 used a role-play scenario in which a student negotiated with a professor for greater rewards for work on a collaborative project. A self-affirmation manipulation, in which participants focused on an important personal value, significantly reduced their tendency to derogate a concession offered by the professor relative to one that had not been offered. Study 2 replicated this effect and showed that the phenomenon did not depend on the self-affirmed participant's experience of a heightened sense of deservingness or a tendency to make positive attributions about the professor. Distraction and explicit mood enhancement were also ruled out as mediators of the self-affirmation effect, which appears to stem from motivational rather than explicit cognitive processes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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