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Reflecting on Identity-Change Facilitates Confession of Past Misdeeds


Journal of Experimental Psychology: General



Authors / Editors

Helgason B A;Berman J Z


Publication Year



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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