Reflecting on Identity-Change Facilitates Confession of Past Misdeeds

Helgason, B A and Berman, J Z (2022) Reflecting on Identity-Change Facilitates Confession of Past Misdeeds. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 151 (9). ISSN 0096-3445 OPEN ACCESS


Across four studies (N = 3,351), we demonstrate that reflecting on identity-change increases confession and decreases justification of past misdeeds. Moreover, publicly communicating one’s identity-change to others increases confession above and beyond privately reflecting on identity-change. By severing their connection with their past self, individuals can admit to past a misdeed (“I did it”), while reducing their fear that doing so will implicate their present moral character (“But that’s not who I am anymore”).

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Item Type: Article
Subject Areas: Marketing
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© 2022 American Psychological Association.

This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. The final article is available, upon publication, at:

Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2022 20:13
Date of first compliant deposit: 15 Dec 2021
Subjects: Decision-making
Last Modified: 30 May 2024 01:59

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