A Status-Enhancement Account of Overconfidence

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2012, 103, 718-735.

76 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2014 Last revised: 11 Mar 2016

See all articles by Cameron Anderson

Cameron Anderson

University of California, Berkeley - Organizational Behavior & Industrial Relations Group; University of California, Berkeley

Sebastien Brion

University of Navarra, IESE Business School

Don A. Moore

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business

Jessica Kennedy

Vanderbilt University - Organizational Behavior

Date Written: December 1, 2014

Abstract

In explaining the prevalence of the overconfident belief that one is better than others, prior work has focused on the motive to maintain high self‐esteem, abetted by biases in attention, memory, and cognition. An additional possibility is that overconfidence enhances the person’s social status. We tested this status‐enhancing account of overconfidence in six studies. Studies 1 through 3 found overconfidence leads to higher social status in both short and longer‐term groups, using naturalistic and experimental designs. Study 4 applied a Brunswikian (1956) lens analysis and found that overconfidence leads to a behavioral signature that makes the individual appear competent to others. Studies 5 and 6 measured and experimentally manipulated the desire for status and found that the status motive promotes overconfidence. Together, these studies suggest that people might so often believe they are better than others because it helps them achieve higher social status.

Keywords: overconfidence, self‐perception, status, power, groups, person‐perception

Suggested Citation

Anderson, Cameron P. and Brion, Sebastien and Moore, Don A. and Kennedy, Jessica, A Status-Enhancement Account of Overconfidence (December 1, 2014). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2012, 103, 718-735., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2532677

Cameron P. Anderson (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Organizational Behavior & Industrial Relations Group ( email )

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Sebastien Brion

University of Navarra, IESE Business School ( email )

Avenida Pearson 21
Barcelona, 08034
Spain

Don A. Moore

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Jessica Kennedy

Vanderbilt University - Organizational Behavior ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States

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