Know thyself: misperceptions of actual performance undermine achievement motivation, future performance, and subjective well-being

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2010 Sep;99(3):395-409. doi: 10.1037/a0020555.


Contrary to the popular assumption that self-enhancement improves task motivation and future performance, the authors propose that both inflated and deflated self-assessments of performance are linked to an increased likelihood of practicing self-handicapping and having relatively poor performance in future tasks. Consistent with this proposal, we found that irrespective of the level of actual performance, compared with accurate self-assessment, both inflated and deflated self-assessments of task performance are associated with a greater tendency to (a) practice self-handicapping (Study 1: prefer to work under distraction; Study 2: withhold preparatory effort), (b) perform relatively poorly in a subsequent task (Study 3), (c) have relatively low academic achievement (Study 4), and (d) report a relatively low level of subjective well-being (Study 5). The authors discuss these results in terms of their educational implications.

MeSH terms

  • Achievement*
  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Educational Status
  • Feedback, Psychological / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation / physiology*
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Self Concept*
  • Students / psychology
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • Young Adult