Affirming The Self To Promote Agreement With Another: Lowering A Psychological Barrier To Conflict Resolution

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Personality And Social Psychology Bulletin


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.

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