The social function of rationalization: An identity perspective

Jay J. Van Bavel, Anni Sternisko, Elizabeth Harris, Claire Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this commentary, we offer an additional function of rationalization. Namely, in certain social contexts, the proximal and ultimate function of beliefs and desires is social inclusion. In such contexts, rationalization often facilitates distortion of rather than approximation to truth. Understanding the role of social identity is not only timely and important, but also critical to fully understand the function(s) of rationalization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere52
Pages (from-to)e52
JournalBehavioral and Brain Sciences
StatePublished - Apr 15 2020


  • Rationalization
  • Social Identification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'The social function of rationalization: An identity perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this