Are you a braggart? Beware, self-promotion often backfires

  • PTI, Washington
  • Updated: May 13, 2015 17:55 IST

Bragging to co-workers about a recent promotion or posting a photo of your brand new car on Facebook may not be the best way to share good news, according to a new study which found that self-promotion often backfires.

Researchers found that recipients of excessive self-promotion view self-promoters as less likeable and as braggarts.

The study from City University London, Carnegie Mellon University in the US and Bocconi University in Italy found that self-promoters overestimate how much their self-promotion elicits positive emotions and underestimate how much it elicits negative emotions.

As a consequence, when people try to increase the favourability of the opinion others have of them, they excessively self-promote, which has the opposite of the intended effect.

"Most people probably realise that they experience emotions other than pure joy when they are on the receiving end of someone else's self-promotion," said Irene Scopelliti, study's lead author and a lecturer in marketing at City University London who conducted the research while a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon.

"Yet, when we engage in self-promotion ourselves, we tend to overestimate others' positive reactions and underestimate their negative ones," said Scopelliti.

"These results are particularly important in the Internet age, when opportunities for self-promotion have proliferated via social networking.

"The effects may be exacerbated by the additional distance between people sharing information and their recipient, which can both reduce the empathy of the self-promoter and decrease the sharing of pleasure by the recipient," she said.

The study was published in the journal Psychological Science.

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