Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Am I an imposter?

Sometimes a fraud is a fraud, that is sometimes those who say they are not confident are not telling the truth, according to Dr. Mark Leary and his study on self deprecation and self evaluation that is the subject of an article in today's Science Times.

...they adopt self-deprecation as a social strategy, consciously or not, and are secretly more confident than they let on.

The bit I found most interesting was the differences another study conducted at Purdue by Shamala Kumar and Carolyn Jagacinski found between men and women on their confidence and feelings of being an imposter vs their desire to compete.

women who scored highly also reported a strong desire to show that they could do better than others. They competed harder.
By contrast, men who scored highly on the imposter scale showed more desire to avoid contests in areas where they felt vulnerable. "The motivation was to avoid doing poorly, looking weak," Dr. Jagacinski said.
One more nail in the coffin of the myth of male superiority - no wonder most members of my sex are always watching football, carrying big guns, and going to war.


Sheila O'Malley said...

Makes me think of 2 things:

-- the wonderful book Learned Optimism - that Bill gave me. This dude found that those who were, by his reckoning, "Pessimists", often had deeper self-knowledge than those who were "optimists". Pessimists seemed to know their own faults, and did not OVER-estimate their appeal - where those who were optimistic often thought they were funnier, smarter, than they actually were. Very interesting - and not at all in line with conventional wisdom.

-- the awesome profile of Clay Aiken in last week's NY Magazine - did you read it?? He's here doing Spamalot ... I highly recommend the article. The author noticed how often Aiken calls himself a "geek", a "dork", etc. - and that she didn't think such attitudes really fly in New York, where people do have a pretty keen bullshit meter. She recognized that it was a defense of some kind (or that was her theory anyway) - a way of stepping out of competition, and deflecting deeper questions (about, say, his sexuality - the big white elephant in the room). She sensed that there was something false in his self-deprecation (after all, the guy is a huge star) - but that he himself is not even aware of the duplicity in it. Really interesting article if you haven't read it.

Ted said...

S - I didn't read that profile - I should check it out.