Send to

Choose Destination
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2014 Jun;40(6):775-790. Epub 2014 Feb 28.

Pushing in the Dark: Causes and Consequences of Limited Self-Awareness for Interpersonal Assertiveness.

Author information

Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.


Do people know when they are seen as pressing too hard, yielding too readily, or having the right touch? And does awareness matter? We examined these questions in four studies. Study 1 used dyadic negotiations to reveal a modest link between targets' self-views and counterparts' views of targets' assertiveness, showing that those seen as under- and over-assertive were likely to see themselves as appropriately assertive. Surprisingly, many people seen as appropriately assertive by counterparts mistakenly thought they were seen as having been over-assertive, a novel effect we call the line crossing illusion. We speculated that counterparts' orchestrated displays of discomfort might be partly responsible-behaviors we termed strategic umbrage. Study 2 revealed evidence for widespread strategic umbrage in real-world negotiations and Study 3 linked these behaviors to the line crossing illusion in a controlled negotiation. Study 4 showed that this illusion predicted outcomes in a multi-round negotiation.


assertiveness; meta-accuracy; meta-perceptions; self-awareness; self-enhancement


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center