Brown graduate student investigates benefits, detriments of bragging

Brown graduate student investigates benefits, detriments of bragging
Brown graduate student investigates benefits, detriments of bragging
A recent study, led by Brown University graduate student Patrick Heck and published in Social Psychology, evaluates whether bragging is helpful or harmful, both in the presence and absence of evidence to back up that person’s claims.
 
"The answer depends on which aspect of your reputation you are concerned with,” Heck said. “If you are more concerned with your perceived morality — your likability, trustworthiness and ethics — the answer is simple: avoid self-enhancing claims, even if the evidence supports them. Here, humility is the best option. If you are more concerned with your perceived competence — your intelligence or capability to get the job done — things are more nuanced.”
 
For those more interested in enhancing their perceived competence, data show that self-aggrandizement is beneficial if evidence will support their claims or if no evidence will ever be revealed.
 
“Our biggest theoretical contribution is that the paper casts the decision to claim to be better than others as a strategic choice,” Heck said. “It turns out that if you know the evidence isn’t ever going to show up, then your reputation as a competent person is in good shape when you claim to be better than others — but the opposite is true for your reputation as a moral person."

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