The core of the concept of responsible research and innovation (RRI) is the principle of mutual responsiveness; that is, actors should engage in a transparent and interactive exchange of values, concerns and hopes regarding a new technology to arrive at a shared perspective. As such, RRI can be considered a form of social learning. However, whether such mutual responsiveness is feasible depends on the identities of the actors involved. Identities consist of moral framework and a collection of social roles. Identities influence our willingness and capacity to engage in social learning exercises such as RRI. In this paper, I argue that taking the issue of identity into account can help structure RRI exercises to enhance their effectiveness. It can also make us more precise about which societal goals we can achieve through RRI and for which goals we need additional measures.