Punishing hubris: the perils of overestimating one's status in a group

Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2008 Jan;34(1):90-101. doi: 10.1177/0146167207307489.


Individuals engage in status self-enhancement when they form an overly positive perception of their status in a group. We argue that status self-enhancement incurs social costs and, therefore, most individuals perceive their status accurately. In contrast, theories of positive illusions suggest status self-enhancement is beneficial for the individual and that most individuals overestimate their status. We found supportive evidence for our hypotheses in a social relations analysis of laboratory groups, an experiment that manipulated status self-enhancement, and a study of real-world groups. Individuals who engaged in status self-enhancement were liked less by others and paid less for their work. Moreover, individuals tended to perceive their status highly accurately. Mediation analyses showed that status self-enhancers were socially punished because they were seen as disruptive to group processes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude
  • California
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Problem Solving
  • Psychology, Social
  • Punishment / psychology*
  • Self Concept*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires