Are actual and perceived intellectual self-enhancers evaluated differently by social perceivers?

M. Dufner, J.J.A. Denissen, C. Sedikides, M.H.W. van Zalk, W.H.J. Meeus, M.A.G. van Aken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Do actual and perceived self-enhancement entail differing social impressions (i.e. interpersonal evaluations)? Actual self-enhancement represents unduly positive self-views, as gauged by an objective criterion (in this case, IQ scores), whereas perceived self-enhancement involves the extent to which an individual is seen by informants (i.e. peers or observers) as self-enhancing. In an online survey (N = 337), a laboratory experiment (N = 75), and a round-robin study (N = 183), we tested the effects of actual and perceived intellectual self-enhancement on (informant-rated) emotional stability, social attractiveness, and social influence. Actual self-enhancers were rated as emotionally stable, socially attractive, and socially influential. High perceived self-enhancers were judged as socially influential, whereas low-to-moderate perceived self-enhancers were deemed emotionally stable and socially attractive. Privately entertained, illusory positive (even extreme) self-beliefs confer social benefits, whereas being perceived as self-enhancing buys social influence at the cost of being despised.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-633
JournalEuropean Journal of Personality
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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