Research Shows Pride’s Potential to Foster Individual Success

Mar 04, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- 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: We are family: Adult support reduces youths' risk of violence exposure

Related Stories

How do we solve science's 'credibility problem'?

Apr 08, 2015

Science is considered a source of truth and the importance of its role in shaping modern society cannot be overstated. But in recent years science has entered a crisis of trust.

Die-hard college sports fans defy expectations

Mar 16, 2015

When March Madness kicks off this week, you might expect the bleachers to be filled with alumni and students from the competing colleges. In fact, only about a third of die-hard college sports fans are alumni of their teams' ...

Recommended for you

Mental disorders don't predict future violence

Apr 24, 2015

Most psychiatric disorders - including depression—do not predict future violent behavior, according to new Northwestern Medicine longitudinal study of delinquent youth. The only exception is substance abuse and dependence.

Practical applications of 'nudge' psychology

Apr 24, 2015

Following the publication of Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein's persuasive book "Nudge", nudges have become a popular tool in many fields from tax collection to public health and not least among advertisers, ...

User comments : 0

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.