School of Psychology

Self Affirmation Research Group (SARG)

Self-affirmation, first proposed in 1988 by Professor Claude Steele of Stanford University (pictured above with some of our team), is a brief but surprisingly powerful psychological tool whereby people are reminded about something important to them and their lives. This gives them confidence in themselves and helps them see threatening situations with greater perspective.

Self-affirmation can help people respond constructively to bad news about their health, or worry less about conforming to a negative stereotype. These precise, well-targeted interventions can have substantial impact. For example, school students from low-income families who recently undertook a simple self-affirmation intervention closed the the gap in maths performance with their better-off peers by over half.

Our team looks at many areas of life where self-affirmation can help, with a particular focus on health, education and the environment. Our research also includes areas related to self-affirmation such as stereotype threat.

We’re a friendly bunch and we want to help make a positive impact on people’s lives. To do this, we are working to better understand why self-affirmation works better in some circumstances than in others. 

If you’re a policymaker or a practitioner in health or education, then please get in touch if you’d like to participate in our research or explore how we might help you find ways to incorporate self-affirmation into your working practices.

And if you’re a researcher or research student, we’d love to discuss possible opportunities for collaboration.

You can contact one of us directly via the Team and Contact page, or just email and we'll make sure your message gets to the right person.