Is accurate, positive, or inflated self-perception most advantageous for psychological adjustment? A competitive test of key hypotheses

Sarah Humberg*, Michael Dufner, Felix D. Schönbrodt, Katharina Geukes, Roos Hutteman, Albrecht C. P. Küfner, Maarten H. W. Van Zalk, Jaap J. A. Denissen, Steffen Nestler, Mitja D. Back

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Empirical research on the (mal-)adaptiveness of favorable self-perceptions, self-enhancement, and self-knowledge has typically applied a classical null-hypothesis testing approach and provided mixed and even contradictory findings. Using data from 5 studies (laboratory and field, total N = 2,823), we used an information-theoretic approach combined with Response Surface Analysis to provide the first competitive test of 6 popular hypotheses: that more favorable self-perceptions are adaptive versus maladaptive (Hypotheses 1 and 2: Positivity of self-view hypotheses), that higher levels of self-enhancement (i.e., a higher discrepancy of self-viewed and objectively assessed ability) are adaptive versus maladaptive (Hypotheses 3 and 4: Self-enhancement hypotheses), that accurate self-perceptions are adaptive (Hypothesis 5: Self-knowledge hypothesis), and that a slight degree of self-enhancement is adaptive (Hypothesis 6: Optimal margin hypothesis). We considered self-perceptions and objective ability measures in two content domains (reasoning ability, vocabulary knowledge) and investigated 6 indicators of intra- and interpersonal psychological adjustment. Results showed that most adjustment indicators were best predicted by the positivity of self-perceptions. There were some specific self-enhancement effects, and evidence generally spoke against the self-knowledge and optimal margin hypotheses. Our results highlight the need for comprehensive and simultaneous tests of competing hypotheses. Implications for the understanding of underlying processes are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)835-859
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume116
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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Keywords

  • AIC MODEL SELECTION
  • BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY
  • ENHANCEMENT BIAS
  • INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES
  • KNOW THYSELF
  • LENS MODEL
  • MULTIMODEL INFERENCE
  • OPTIMAL MARGIN
  • R PACKAGE
  • REGRESSION-ANALYSIS
  • information-theoretic approach
  • intelligence self-views
  • response surface analysis
  • self-enhancement
  • self-knowledge

Cite this

Humberg, Sarah ; Dufner, Michael ; Schönbrodt, Felix D. ; Geukes, Katharina ; Hutteman, Roos ; Küfner, Albrecht C. P. ; Van Zalk, Maarten H. W. ; Denissen, Jaap J. A. ; Nestler, Steffen ; Back, Mitja D. / Is accurate, positive, or inflated self-perception most advantageous for psychological adjustment? A competitive test of key hypotheses. In: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 2019 ; Vol. 116, No. 5. pp. 835-859.
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abstract = "Empirical research on the (mal-)adaptiveness of favorable self-perceptions, self-enhancement, and self-knowledge has typically applied a classical null-hypothesis testing approach and provided mixed and even contradictory findings. Using data from 5 studies (laboratory and field, total N = 2,823), we used an information-theoretic approach combined with Response Surface Analysis to provide the first competitive test of 6 popular hypotheses: that more favorable self-perceptions are adaptive versus maladaptive (Hypotheses 1 and 2: Positivity of self-view hypotheses), that higher levels of self-enhancement (i.e., a higher discrepancy of self-viewed and objectively assessed ability) are adaptive versus maladaptive (Hypotheses 3 and 4: Self-enhancement hypotheses), that accurate self-perceptions are adaptive (Hypothesis 5: Self-knowledge hypothesis), and that a slight degree of self-enhancement is adaptive (Hypothesis 6: Optimal margin hypothesis). We considered self-perceptions and objective ability measures in two content domains (reasoning ability, vocabulary knowledge) and investigated 6 indicators of intra- and interpersonal psychological adjustment. Results showed that most adjustment indicators were best predicted by the positivity of self-perceptions. There were some specific self-enhancement effects, and evidence generally spoke against the self-knowledge and optimal margin hypotheses. Our results highlight the need for comprehensive and simultaneous tests of competing hypotheses. Implications for the understanding of underlying processes are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record.",
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author = "Sarah Humberg and Michael Dufner and Sch{\"o}nbrodt, {Felix D.} and Katharina Geukes and Roos Hutteman and K{\"u}fner, {Albrecht C. P.} and {Van Zalk}, {Maarten H. W.} and Denissen, {Jaap J. A.} and Steffen Nestler and Back, {Mitja D.}",
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Humberg, S, Dufner, M, Schönbrodt, FD, Geukes, K, Hutteman, R, Küfner, ACP, Van Zalk, MHW, Denissen, JJA, Nestler, S & Back, MD 2019, 'Is accurate, positive, or inflated self-perception most advantageous for psychological adjustment? A competitive test of key hypotheses', Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 116, no. 5, pp. 835-859. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000204

Is accurate, positive, or inflated self-perception most advantageous for psychological adjustment? A competitive test of key hypotheses. / Humberg, Sarah; Dufner, Michael; Schönbrodt, Felix D.; Geukes, Katharina; Hutteman, Roos; Küfner, Albrecht C. P.; Van Zalk, Maarten H. W.; Denissen, Jaap J. A.; Nestler, Steffen; Back, Mitja D.

In: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 116, No. 5, 2019, p. 835-859.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Is accurate, positive, or inflated self-perception most advantageous for psychological adjustment?

T2 - A competitive test of key hypotheses

AU - Humberg, Sarah

AU - Dufner, Michael

AU - Schönbrodt, Felix D.

AU - Geukes, Katharina

AU - Hutteman, Roos

AU - Küfner, Albrecht C. P.

AU - Van Zalk, Maarten H. W.

AU - Denissen, Jaap J. A.

AU - Nestler, Steffen

AU - Back, Mitja D.

PY - 2019

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N2 - Empirical research on the (mal-)adaptiveness of favorable self-perceptions, self-enhancement, and self-knowledge has typically applied a classical null-hypothesis testing approach and provided mixed and even contradictory findings. Using data from 5 studies (laboratory and field, total N = 2,823), we used an information-theoretic approach combined with Response Surface Analysis to provide the first competitive test of 6 popular hypotheses: that more favorable self-perceptions are adaptive versus maladaptive (Hypotheses 1 and 2: Positivity of self-view hypotheses), that higher levels of self-enhancement (i.e., a higher discrepancy of self-viewed and objectively assessed ability) are adaptive versus maladaptive (Hypotheses 3 and 4: Self-enhancement hypotheses), that accurate self-perceptions are adaptive (Hypothesis 5: Self-knowledge hypothesis), and that a slight degree of self-enhancement is adaptive (Hypothesis 6: Optimal margin hypothesis). We considered self-perceptions and objective ability measures in two content domains (reasoning ability, vocabulary knowledge) and investigated 6 indicators of intra- and interpersonal psychological adjustment. Results showed that most adjustment indicators were best predicted by the positivity of self-perceptions. There were some specific self-enhancement effects, and evidence generally spoke against the self-knowledge and optimal margin hypotheses. Our results highlight the need for comprehensive and simultaneous tests of competing hypotheses. Implications for the understanding of underlying processes are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record.

AB - Empirical research on the (mal-)adaptiveness of favorable self-perceptions, self-enhancement, and self-knowledge has typically applied a classical null-hypothesis testing approach and provided mixed and even contradictory findings. Using data from 5 studies (laboratory and field, total N = 2,823), we used an information-theoretic approach combined with Response Surface Analysis to provide the first competitive test of 6 popular hypotheses: that more favorable self-perceptions are adaptive versus maladaptive (Hypotheses 1 and 2: Positivity of self-view hypotheses), that higher levels of self-enhancement (i.e., a higher discrepancy of self-viewed and objectively assessed ability) are adaptive versus maladaptive (Hypotheses 3 and 4: Self-enhancement hypotheses), that accurate self-perceptions are adaptive (Hypothesis 5: Self-knowledge hypothesis), and that a slight degree of self-enhancement is adaptive (Hypothesis 6: Optimal margin hypothesis). We considered self-perceptions and objective ability measures in two content domains (reasoning ability, vocabulary knowledge) and investigated 6 indicators of intra- and interpersonal psychological adjustment. Results showed that most adjustment indicators were best predicted by the positivity of self-perceptions. There were some specific self-enhancement effects, and evidence generally spoke against the self-knowledge and optimal margin hypotheses. Our results highlight the need for comprehensive and simultaneous tests of competing hypotheses. Implications for the understanding of underlying processes are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record.

KW - AIC MODEL SELECTION

KW - BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY

KW - ENHANCEMENT BIAS

KW - INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES

KW - KNOW THYSELF

KW - LENS MODEL

KW - MULTIMODEL INFERENCE

KW - OPTIMAL MARGIN

KW - R PACKAGE

KW - REGRESSION-ANALYSIS

KW - information-theoretic approach

KW - intelligence self-views

KW - response surface analysis

KW - self-enhancement

KW - self-knowledge

U2 - 10.1037/pspp0000204

DO - 10.1037/pspp0000204

M3 - Article

VL - 116

SP - 835

EP - 859

JO - Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

JF - Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

SN - 0022-3514

IS - 5

ER -