On the Advantages of Modesty: The Benefits of a Balanced Self-Presentation

Michael D. Robinson, Joel T. Johnson, Stephanie A. Shields

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study investigated the impressions conveyed by enhancing, deprecating, or more balanced self-descriptions, all presented without corroborating evidence. Subjects estimated the honesty, self-knowledge, authenticity, and likability of individuals to whom brief self-descriptive statements were attributed. Although self-enhancers were rated as more likable than self-deprecators, those who presented balanced self-descriptions were rated as significantly more authentic, and significantly more likable, than those who made either deprecating or enhancing statements about themselves. However, multiple regressions indicated that self-deprecators and self-enhancers were disliked for somewhat different reasons. Self-enhancers were liked less than those who described themselves in balanced terms primarily because they were judged less honest. In contrast, self-deprecators were disliked partly because they were perceived as lacking in knowledge about themselves. These results are interpreted in terms of the discounting and augmentation principles of attribution theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)575-591
Number of pages17
JournalCommunication Research
Volume22
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1995

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language

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