Self-Confidence And Personal Motivation
AbstractWe analyze the value placed by rational agents on self-confidence, and the strategies employed in its pursuit. Confidence in one's abilities generally enhances motivation, making it a valuable asset for individuals with imperfect willpower. This demand for self-serving beliefs (which can also arise from hedonic or signaling motives) must be weighed against the risks of overconfidence. On the supply side, we develop a model of self-deception through endogenous memory that reconciles the motivated and rational features of human cognition. The resulting intrapersonal game of strategic communication typically leads to multiple equilibria. While "positive thinking" can improve welfare, it can also be self-defeating (and nonetheless pursued). Believe what is in the line of your needs, for only by such belief is the need fulfilled . . . Have faith that you can successfully make it, and your feet are nerved to its accomplishment [William James, Principles of Psychology]. I have done this, says my memory. I cannot have done that, says my pride, remaining inexorable. Finally - memory yields [Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil[. I had during many years followed the Golden Rule, namely, that whenever a published fact, a new observation or thought came across me, which was opposed to my general results, to make a memorandum of it without fail and at once; for I had found by experience that such (contrary and thus unwelcome) facts and thoughts were far more apt to escape from memory than favorable ones [Charles Darwin in The Life of Charles Darwin, by Francis Darwin]. © 2001 the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by MIT Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.
Volume (Year): 117 (2002)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/
Other versions of this item:
- Bénabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2002. "Self Confidence and Personal Motivation," Open Access publications from University of Toulouse 1 Capitole http://neeo.univ-tlse1.fr, University of Toulouse 1 Capitole.
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Karie Kirkpatrick).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.