This week, Rachel Maddow reminded viewers of the “Streisand effect” – a game theory-esque predicament whereby a person attempting to prevent moderately publicized material from gaining wider exposure instead ensures the exact opposite, as their very willingness to silence it makes it exponentially more attractive to the public eye.

A vaguely analogous effect could be observed in Southern chef Paula Deen’s recent attempts at quelling the allegations of racism, where her own apology and admission of guilt seemed to further inflame the situation, as the Food Network, Smithfield Foods, Home Depot and Walmart almost instantly terminated her contract.

Deen’s apology came at a price, and the recent developments would have one speculate whether the consequences had been just as harsh had she refused to address the allegations at all. But do all apologies really have to founder on their implied admission of guilt? Are there any concrete advantages of not saying you’re sorry?

In a recent article published by Scientific American, psychology professor Cindi May of the College of Charleston explains how refusing to apologize may actually bring psychological benefits to the wrongdoer. Besides avoiding the awkward acquiescence of culpability, a person who declines to offer an apology may spare themselves of the subtle mental crises naturally attending such admissions.

A compelling reason behind standing one’s ground following an offense is the evasion of hypocrisy, as an apology essentially confirms that one’s actions failed to align with one’s actual beliefs. By saying “sorry,” the offender is telling the victim that he or she knew their actions were unacceptable, but that he or she went ahead with them anyway.

In addition, the act of apologizing effectively restores power to the victim, who is now in position to grant or not grant the sought forgiveness. For this reason, denying or minimizing any wrongdoing may allow the offender to retain the upper hand, and spare him or her from the uncomfortable diminution of power.

According to two studies authored by Dr. Tyler Okimoto and his colleagues at the Univerity of Queensland, the business of apologizing or not is extremely complex – in fact, the two options can paradoxically result in the same feeling of being “true to oneself.”

The experiments, which involved subjects reflecting on past infractions and subsequent actions, found that an apology and a refusal to apologize both elicited a similar sense of empowerment in the offender, who reportedly felt “in control.”

Thus, on strictly personal level, the refusal to apologize may have the same psychological benefit as an actual apology.

Admittedly, the emotional impact becomes difficult to calculate once the victim’s own reaction to the apology, or lack thereof, is considered. Still, Okimoto and his colleagues’ studies show how an apology can hardly be considered an “easy way out.”