To test the hypothesis that self-affirmation increases pro-social behavior, participants provided two measures of helping behavior (see Measures). First, participants completed an indirect survey measure of hypothetical charitable giving. Second, participants’ helping behavior was measured in response to a surprise shelf-collapse incident that occurred while they completed some final questionnaires. The experimenter waited 1 min after the completion of these questionnaires before re-entering the room to pick up the fallen shelf items if participants had not already done so. Participants were then probed for suspicion (none were suspicious about the shelf-collapse incident), debriefed, and dismissed.

Like the self-resources account, our findings indicate that self-affirmation boosts one’s self-image by increasing positive self-feelings, but provide additional specificity about the nature of these feelings; self-affirmation increases feelings related to self-compassion (e.g., sympathy, trust, and less criticism; Study 1). Like self-esteem, self-compassion predicts positive feeling states, but is distinguished by its more stable relationship to self-worth, independent of positive or negative outcomes (Neff and Vonk, 2009). Consistent with this, in response to a potentially embarrassing video of oneself, affirmed participants maintained positive self-feelings (Study 2). The effect of self-affirmation writing on self-compassion may explain why few studies have shown that self-affirmation increases general feelings of state self-esteem or positive affectivity (Sherman and Cohen, 2006).


Peggy Orenstein is the author of Flux: Women on Sex, Work, Love, Kids and Life in a Half-Changed World. An award-winning writer and speaker on issues affecting girls and women, she is a regular contributor to The New York Times Magazine, and her work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Vogue, Glamour, Mirabella, Details, Elle, Mother Jones, The New Yorker, and other publications. Additionally, she has served as an editor at Esquire, Manhattan inc., 7 Days, and Mother Jones magazines.
Judges typically have no training in how to cope with unrepresented litigants who may have mental illnesses, or are in the grip of powerful but unfounded feelings that the system is biased and working to hurt them. Unhappy litigants can pose physical danger to judges.23 Handling cases with unrepresented litigants and writing decisions that can be understood by them takes longer, putting pressure on already full workdays. Unrepresented litigants tax the system and the resilience of judges. Stressed out and overwhelmed judges cannot do their work well.24
(6) A judge should not make public comment on the merits of a matter pending or impending in any court. A judge should require similar restraint by court personnel subject to the judge’s direction and control. The prohibition on public comment on the merits does not extend to public statements made in the course of the judge’s official duties, to explanations of court procedures, or to scholarly presentations made for purposes of legal education.
(a) the degree of relationship is calculated according to the civil law system; the following relatives are within the third degree of relationship: parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, great grandparent, great grandchild, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, niece, and nephew; the listed relatives include whole and half blood relatives and most step relatives;

In Study 1 we found that self-affirmation increased feelings related to state self-compassion, and these feelings statistically explained how self-affirmation increased pro-social behavior to a shelf-collapse event. Self-affirmation also increased desire for charitable giving, but we were not able to shed light on the process explaining this effect in Study 1. And notably, although Study 1 was appropriately powered to test main effects of self-affirmation on self-compassion and helping outcomes, it was underpowered to test potential mediating pathways. Nonetheless, Study 1 provided the first test of sensitive pre-post-affirmation changes in affective mechanisms (including self-compassion) of behavioral helping to a shelf-collapse incident (see Figure ​Figure11). Our results provide preliminary evidence that self-affirmation increases compassionate feelings compared to the control writing exercise. In accordance with the self-compassion perspective, affirmation increased compassionate feelings (e.g., sympathy) but also decreased self-criticism dimensions (e.g., critical; consistent with theoretical accounts of self-compassion, Neff, 2003a). Though our results do not suggest that feelings of love or connection or general positive affect mediate the effects of self-affirmation on pro-social behavior, we can not definitively rule out that possibility.
In 2011, the Federal Judicial Conference surveyed federal court clerks offices regarding pro se issues. They found that only 17 of 62 responding judges report that discovery is taken in most non prisoner pro se cases and only 13 reported that discovery is taken in most prisoner pro se cases.[16]:21 In the same survey, 37% of judges found that most pro ses had problems examining witnesses, while 30% found that pro ses had no or few problems examining witnesses.[16]:22 53% found that represented parties sometimes or frequently take advantage of pro se parties.[16]:23 Only 5% reported problems of pro ses behaving inappropriately at hearings.[16]:24 Respondents to the FJC study did not report any orders against non prisoner pro se litigation.[16]
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