David A. DeSteno
Stephen G. Harkins (1948- ), Kim Nancy
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Department or Academic Unit
College of Arts and Sciences. Department of Psychology.
emotion, functionalism, leadership, pride, self-conscious emotions
Interpersonal relations--Case studies, Pride and vanity, Emotions, Case studies
The presented studies examined the ability of pride to serve as an adaptive emotion within the context of interpersonal situations. Two functional hypotheses for this positive self-conscious emotion are posited. First, pride should organize and direct behaviors in interpersonal settings such that domain knowledge or expertise is shared or demonstrated. Second, pride should engender behaviors that signal warrant of increase in social capital to others. Building off of previous work, which demonstrated that pride facilitates increased efforts on valued tasks in intrapersonal situations (Williams & DeSteno, 2008), two studies examined these hypotheses in interpersonal settings.
Study 1 specifically tested the hypothesis that pride will motivate individuals to engage in behaviors that display or communicate their expertise to others. Once engaged in such sharing, proud individuals were found to exert more effort to demonstrate to peers skills and knowledge associated with the source of the emotion. Self-reported pride intensity demonstrated a predictive role in this effect, while alternative mechanisms of positivity and self-efficacy did not. Thus, Study 1 produced initial support for the first of two hypothesized functional roles of pride: interpersonally, pride impels individuals to demonstrate their success and skills with peers.
Study 2 utilized group problem solving tasks designed to determine if proud individuals would exert domain-relevant leadership within an interpersonal, cooperative setting. Of import, Study 2 asked also whether peers view individuals exhibiting pride positively, as opposed to with disdain. Both functional hypotheses were supported; proud participants took on a leadership role within the group problem-solving task, but of high import, were also perceived as the most likeable interaction partners.
These findings suggest that pride, when representing an appropriate response to actual performance, constitutes a functional social emotion with important implications for leadership, status attainment and the building of social capital. This work provides an important piece to the puzzle of elucidating the myriad mechanisms involved in successful intra- and interpersonal functioning, yet also opens doors to numerous and potentially highly valuable veins of research.
Lisa A. Williams
Williams, Lisa A., "Developing a functional view of pride in the interpersonal domain" (2009). Psychology Dissertations. Paper 11. http://hdl.handle.net/2047/d20000041
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