The Paradox That Isn’t

  • Raymond L. Higgins
  • C. R. Snyder
  • Steven Berglas

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Raymond L. Higgins
    Pages 1-35
  3. Elizabeth A. Self
    Pages 37-68
  4. Frederick Rhodewalt
    Pages 69-106
  5. C. R. Snyder
    Pages 107-150
  6. Steven Berglas
    Pages 151-186
  7. Raymond L. Higgins, Steven Berglas
    Pages 187-238
  8. Raymond L. Higgins, C. R. Snyder
    Pages 239-273
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 275-292

About this book


The concept of self-handicapping can be legitimately anchored in a vari­ ety of intellectual contexts, some old and some newer. As this volume reminds us, Alfred Adler was perhaps the first to articulate the signifi­ cance of various self-defeating claims and gestures for protecting the self­ concept. Thus the apparent paradox of "defeat" in the interests of "pro­ tection. " More recently (but still more than 30 years ago), Heider's "naive psychology" added attributional rhetoric to the description of self-defeat­ ing strategies. While predominantly cognitive in its thrust, the attribu­ tional approach incorporated several motivational influences-especially those involving egocentric concerns. Heider hardly violated our common sense when he suggested that people are inclined to attribute their performances in a self-serving manner: the good things I caused; the bad things were forced upon me. The notion of self-handicapping strategies, proposed by Berglas and myself a little more than a decade ago, capitalized on these homely truths while adding a particular proactive twist. We not only make ex­ cuses for our blunders; we plan our engagements and our situational choices so that self-protective excuses are unnecessary. In doing so, we use our attributional understanding to arrange things so that flawed and failing performances will not be interpreted in ways that threaten our self-esteem.


Motivation attribution psychology

Authors and affiliations

  • Raymond L. Higgins
    • 1
  • C. R. Snyder
    • 1
  • Steven Berglas
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  2. 2.McLean HospitalHarvard Medical SchoolBelmontUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag US 1990
  • Publisher Name Springer, Boston, MA
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-1-4899-0863-6
  • Online ISBN 978-1-4899-0861-2
  • Series Print ISSN 1568-2528
  • Buy this book on publisher's site