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Cogn Emot. 2012;26(6):1084-97. doi: 10.1080/02699931.2011.646956. Epub 2012 Apr 23.

Is pride a prosocial emotion? Interpersonal effects of authentic and hubristic pride.

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Erasmus Centre of Behavioural Ethics, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Pride is associated with both prosocial and antisocial behaviour. Do others also infer such behaviours when pride is expressed and does this affect their own prosocial behaviour? We expected that authentic pride (i.e., confidence, accomplishment) would signal and elicit more prosocial behaviour than hubristic pride (i.e., arrogance, conceit). In a first laboratory experiment, a target in a public-good dilemma was inferred to have acted less prosocially when displaying a nonverbal expression of pride versus no emotion. As predicted, inferences of hubristic pride-but not authentic pride-mediated this effect. Participants themselves also responded less prosocially. A second laboratory experiment where a target verbally expressed authentic pride, hubristic pride, or no emotion replicated the effects of hubristic pride and showed that authentically proud targets were assumed to have acted prosocially, but especially by perceivers with a dispositional tendency to take the perspective of others. We conclude that authentic pride is generally perceived as a more prosocial emotion than hubristic pride.

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