In this article we review research relevant to Rokeach's (1973) suggestion that, by appealing to socially shared conceptions of what is good, people may use values to ego defensively rationalize or justify their attitudes. In line with this value justification hypothesis, research suggests that, although attitudes may originally stem from the relative importance that people ascribe to various values, once formed, attitudes may well produce self‐serving biases that affect both the values that people deem relevant to an issue and the complexity or open‐mindedness of their reasoning about an issue. In addition, just as people may appeal to values to justify their attitudes toward social issues such as nuclear weaponry or abortion, data suggest that people may exaggerate perceptions of intergroup value differences in an effort to rationalize prejudicial intergroup attitudes and justify discrimination. Aspects of the ego defensive use of values that merit elaboration and have yet to be addressed, as well as the more general implications of a functional approach to the study of values, are discussed. 1994 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues

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Journal Journal of Social Issues
Kristiansen, C.M, & Zanna, M.P. (Mark P.). (1994). The Rhetorical Use of Values to Justify Social and Intergroup Attitudes. Journal of Social Issues, 50(4), 47–65. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4560.1994.tb01197.x