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Saving Face: The Benefits of Not Saying I'm Sorry

14 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2009  

Brent T. White

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law

Date Written: February, 16 2009

Abstract

This forthcoming article explores the question of why individuals resist apologizing, even when it is rationally in their best interest to do so - such as when it would significantly reduce a criminal sentence or settle a civil lawsuit at little or no cost. Drawing on a significant body of research by social psychologists on apology, the article posits that individuals primarily resist apology when it poses an intolerable threat to their face - or their claimed identity as competent, intelligent, or moral persons. In light of this research, the article then critiques the failure of recent laws designed to encourage or compel apology to take face into account.

Keywords: apology, law and psychology, sociology, torts, criminal law

JEL Classification: K42, K4, K14, K13

Suggested Citation

White, Brent T., Saving Face: The Benefits of Not Saying I'm Sorry (February, 16 2009). Law and Contemporary Problems, 2009; Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 09-07. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1344552

Brent T. White (Contact Author)

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States

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