General Meeting of the European Association of Experimental Social Psychology edition:15 location:Opatija, Croatia date:10-14 June 2008
People dislike individuals who claim that they are better than others. In the present research we examined whether they do so because they dislike self-superiority claims in particular or because they dislike superiority claims or overt vertical social comparisons in general. In Study 1, participants read a self-description or an other-description that was a superiority claim or that was positive yet non-comparative in nature. Although they responded less favorably to both the self-superiority claim and the other-superiority claim than to the corresponding non-comparative description, they responded particularly unfavorably to the self-superiority claim. In Study 2, participants read a positive or negative self-description or other-description that was either comparative or non-comparative. They responded more unfavorably to the superiority claims than to the corresponding positive non-comparative person descriptions. Again, they responded more unfavorably to the self-superiority claim than to the other-superiority claim. However, they did not respond more unfavorably to the inferiority claims than to the negative non-comparative person descriptions. We conclude that people’s dislike for self-superiority claims is not due to a general dislike for overt vertical comparison and that it is only partly due to a general dislike for any superiority claim. The theoretical, practical and methodological implications for person perception, impression management, and the interpersonal consequences of self-superiority beliefs will be discussed.