Research Shows Pride’s Potential to Foster Individual Success

March 4, 2009

( -- The age-old question of whether pride is the seventh sin or an adaptive virtue has been answered by two Northeastern University scientists. Contrary to popular belief, the researchers found that pride not only leads individuals to take on leadership roles in teams, but also fosters admiration, as opposed to scorn, from teammates.

"We found that pride is quite undeserving of its negative reputation," said David DeSteno, associate professor of psychology and co-author of the study. "Pride actually constitutes a functional social emotion with important implications for leadership and the building of social capital."

DeSteno and lead author Lisa Williams designed an experiment including individual and group activities. For the individual activities, certain participants were induced to feel proud. Participants next interacted cooperatively on a problem-solving task and were asked to evaluate their partners' leadership and likability. The participant who received the pride induction took on a dominant role and was perceived as the most “hands-on” during the activity. In addition, their teammates viewed them as more likable than the other participants.

“These are some of the first findings that show functional outcomes of pride within the context of actual social behavior,” said Williams. “Although when taken to extremes, pride can certainly be maladaptive, this research demonstrates the emotion's potential for fostering successful interpersonal interaction.”

The findings were published in the March issue of the journal Psychological Science. The authors believe that these findings hold implications for successful management and team dynamics, especially in the context of organizational behavior.

"Pride," they note, "can play an integral role in enhancing team functioning by fostering confidence and admiration."

Provided by Northeastern University

Explore further: Ethnic pride may boost African-American teens' mental health

Related Stories

Ethnic pride may boost African-American teens' mental health

November 13, 2009

Most adolescents who belong to an ethnic minority group wrestle not only with their self-esteem (like most teens), but also with identity issues unique to their ethnic group, such as dealing with social stigma. A new study ...

Ethnic pride key to black teen mental health

December 1, 2009

Ethnic pride may be as important as self-esteem to the mental health of young African-American adolescents, according to a new study in the Nov/Dec issue of the journal Child Development.

U.S., Canadian citizens differ in pride

June 28, 2006

U.S. and Canadian citizens are among the world's most patriotic, but a study suggests they are proud of their nations for differing reasons.

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

( -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.