Mario Pandelaere is now at the University Gent, Belgium.
The Hubris Hypothesis: You Can Self-Enhance, But You'd Better Not Show It
Article first published online: 25 SEP 2012
© 2011 The Authors. Journal of Personality © 2011, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Journal of Personality
Volume 80, Issue 5, pages 1237–1274, October 2012
How to Cite
Hoorens, V., Pandelaere, M., Oldersma, F. and Sedikides, C. (2012), The Hubris Hypothesis: You Can Self-Enhance, But You'd Better Not Show It. Journal of Personality, 80: 1237–1274. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2011.00759.x
This research was supported by a Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Vlaanderen grant (project G.0159.04) awarded to Vera Hoorens.
- Issue published online: 25 SEP 2012
- Article first published online: 25 SEP 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 3 NOV 2011 09:41AM EST
- Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Vlaanderen grant
We tested whether and why observers dislike individuals who convey self-superiority through blatant social comparison (the hubris hypothesis). Participants read self-superiority claims (“I am better than others”; Experiments 1–7), noncomparative positive claims (“I am good”; Experiments 1–2, 4), self-equality claims (“I am as good as others”; Experiments 3–4, 6), temporally comparative self-superiority claims (“I am better than I used to be”; Experiment 5), other-superiority claims (“S/he is better than others”; Experiment 6), and self-superiority claims accompanied by persistent disclaimers (Experiment 7). They judged the claim and the claimant (Experiments 1–7) and made inferences about the claimant's self-view and view of others (Experiments 4–7) as well as the claimant's probable view of them (Experiment 7). Self-superiority claims elicited unfavorable evaluations relative to all other claims. Evaluation unfavorability was accounted for by the perception that the claimant implied a negative view of others (Experiments 4–6) and particularly of the observer (Experiment 7). Supporting the hubris hypothesis, participants disliked individuals who communicated self-superiority beliefs in an explicitly comparative manner. Self-superiority beliefs may provoke undesirable interpersonal consequences when they are explicitly communicated to others but not when they are disguised as noncomparative positive self-claims or self-improvement claims.