Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 215–236 | Cite as

Accounts for Success as Determinants of Perceived Arrogance and Modesty

  • Shlomo Hareli
  • Bernard Weiner


Two factors are assumed to induce impressions of arrogance and modesty in reaction to others' accounts for success: the dimensions underlying the cause for success and the perceived desirability of the cause. Guided by Weiner's attribution theory (B. Weiner, 1986), it was proposed that accounts ascribing success to internal, stable, uncontrollable, and desirable causes represent positive given qualities of a person (e.g., intelligence and beauty) that lead to perceptions of arrogance and lack of modesty. Three vignette experiments measuring subjects' reactions to others' accounts for achievements in school and sports confirmed these predictions. Accounts induce impressions of arrogance and modesty regardless of the level of the achievement. Additionally, arrogance reduces admiration toward the achiever whereas increments in modesty and/or level of success increase it. The present findings provide further evidence of the significance of attributional information for social judgments.


Social Psychology Present Finding Attribution Theory Social Judgment Success Increase 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shlomo Hareli
    • 1
  • Bernard Weiner
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on EmotionsUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaLos Angeles

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