Decomposing a Sense of Superiority: The Differential Social Impact of Self-Regard and Regard for Others

Michael Harris Bond, Virginia S.Y. Kwan, Chun Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The tendency to self-enhance has been related to a host of beneficial psychological outcomes (Taylor & Brown, 1988), although some negative social consequences have also been identified (Colvin et al., 1995, Paulhus, 1998). One operationalization of self-enhancement is derived by subtracting the rater's evaluations of others from his or her self-ratings to yield a measure of the rater's sense of superiority/inferiority, i.e., rater-derived self-enhancement. The present research assessed the psychological and social correlates of a person's sense of superiority in groups whose members worked on tasks together for 3 months. A sense of superiority was scored as a composite but also separated into its two components, self-regard and regard for others, to determine if these components of a sense of superiority have separate relationships to psychological and social processes. A sense of superiority evidenced the same self-rated psychological benefits as had been found in Western research, though it showed both positive and negative social outcomes, as assessed on an eight-factor measure of the target's personality rated by his or her other group members. Positive psychological characteristics and a stereotypically masculine reputation were associated with higher levels of self-regard; lower levels of self-rated Agreeableness, a stereotypically nonfeminine reputation, and lower liking were associated with lower levels of regard for others. Given their different functions, it is proposed that self-regard and regard for others be separated in future research and attention directed toward characterizing the behavioral profiles of those high and low in these two measures of basic personality orientation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-553
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Psychology(all)


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