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Rationalization
Rationalization

And oftentimes excusing of a fault

Doth make the fault the worse by the excuse.

—William Shakespeare, 1623/1990, King John, act IX scene ii, lines 30–311

Making excuses for shortcomings and providing justification for one's particular faults are common human tendencies. People frequently attempt to protect their self-images by offering socially acceptable reasons for what may be considered objectionable or inappropriate actions. A guest, for example, on arriving late at a relative's celebration of the purchase of a new home, immediately begins to detail the extent of heavy traffic en route or the difficulty in locating the house. Attempting to save face under such circumstances is understandable, even when it is obvious to others that the person's explanations are false and unnecessary. In such instances, although individuals ...

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