10th European Congress of Psychology edition:10 location:Prague date:3-6 July 2007
Because most people think that they are better than others, self-superiority beliefs must perspire in how they describe themselves to others. We examined how people respond to self-superiority claims as compared to other positive self-descriptions.
Design and methods.
Participants read a quote in which an individual claimed being a better friend than others (self-superiority claim), an equally good friend as others (self-equality claim) or a good friend (non-comparative positive self-description). They judged the individual, the self-view of the individual and his or her look upon others. Half of the participants read that the quote was made during a group discussion (i.e., in public) whereas the other half read that it was made on a confidential questionnaire (i.e., in private).
Irrespective of the self-description being made in public or in private, participants judged the individual who made the self-superiority claim unfavorably. They judged the individual who gave a non-comparative positive self-description favorably and the individual who made a self-equality claim neutrally. In all three cases, they thought that the individuals looked positively upon themselves. However, they thought that only the individual who made a self-superiority claim looked negatively upon others.
People hold self-superiority claims against the individual who makes them, even if these claims were never meant to be made public. This unfavorable response is probably related to the unfavorable look upon others that such claims communicate. It suggests that self-superiority beliefs may have detrimental effects on social relationships if they lead to self-superiority claims.