Everyone knows a braggart, and most people have witnessed endless self-promotion on social media sites. For those who are more self-conscious, preferring humility to self-aggrandizement, the idea that people are judged on what they do rather than what they say can be comforting. According to new research, though, overestimating yourself may encourage others to overestimate you as well. Braggarts may actually be seen as more competent.
When Bragging Helps You Get Ahead
The study asked 72 university students to predict their final grade on the first day of class. Fifteen percent of students correctly predicted their grades, while 45% underestimated their final grades and 40% overestimated their grades. Students were also asked to predict their classmates’ final grades. Researchers found that students were more likely to predict good grades for students who overestimated their own eventual grades. Thus students perceived excessively confident students as more competent than they actually were.
The study’s authors point out that their results show that confidence and self-promotion can be just as important in others’ assessments as achievement. Indeed, confidence could be even more important than achievement. In the working world, assessment of one’s abilities can become key to getting ahead, and this latest study suggests that managers might promote the most aggressive self-promoter or the most confident employee—rather than the one who quietly and diligently works to get ahead.
Self-confidence can be a positive trait in academic settings. Previous research has shown that self-confidence can affect learning. For example, in one 2011 study, students’ self-confidence increased the more they learned, so confidence was a good measure of a student’s skill level. For students and workers hoping to get ahead and be positively perceived, faking confidence could prove to be a convincing strategy.
- Preidt, R. (2014, August 27). Overconfident folks may blind others to their real abilities. Retrieved from http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2014/08/27/overconfident-folks-may-blind-others-to-their-real-abilities
- Student confidence correlated with academic performance, horticultural science class study finds. (20111, April 4). Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110404105901.htm
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