Self-Confidence: Intrapersonal Strategies
This paper analyzes the self-identification process and its role in motivation. We build a model of self-confidence where people have imperfect knowledge about their ability, which in most tasks is a complement to effort in determining performance. Higher self-confidence thus enhances motivation, and this creates incentives for the manipulation of self-perception. An individual suffering from time-inconsistency may thus want to enhance the self-confidence of his future selves, so as to limit their procrastination. The benefits of confidence-maintenance must, however, be traded off against the risks of overconfidence (inappropriate tasks being pursued). Moreover, rational inference implies that the individual cannot systematically fool himself. A first application of the model is self-handicapping: to avoid a negative inference about their ability, people may deliberately impair their performance, or choose overambitious tasks. Another application is selective memory or awareness management: people are (endogenously) more likely to remember or consciously acknowledge their successes than their failures. This, in turn, helps explain the widely documented prevalence of self–serving beliefs –that is, the fact that most people have overoptimistic assessments of their own abilities and other desirable traits. We analyze the workings of this psychological immune system and show that it typically leads to multiple equilibriums in cognitive strategies, self confidence, and behavior. Moreover, while active self-esteem maintenance can improve ex-ante welfare, it can also be self-defeating. Systematically looking on the bright side, avoiding negative thoughts and people, etc., can thus be beneficial in certain environments; but in other circumstances one can only lose by playing such games with oneself, and it would be better to always accept who you are and be honest with yourself.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
1. Check below under "Related research" whether another version of this item is available online.
2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.
|Date of creation:||Dec 1999|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: (609) 258-4000
Fax: (609) 258-6419
Web page: http://www.princeton.edu/~ectheory/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 1997.
"Doing It Now or Later,"
Department of Economics, Working Paper Series
qt7t44m5b0, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 1996. "Doing It Now or Later," Discussion Papers 1172, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Ted O'Donoghue and Matthew Rabin ., 1997. "Doing It Now or Later," Economics Working Papers 97-253, University of California at Berkeley.
- Martin J. Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 1994.
"A Course in Game Theory,"
MIT Press Books,
The MIT Press,
edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650401, June.
- Laibson, David, 1997.
"Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-77, May.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wop:prinet:00s1. See general 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: (Thomas Krichel)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.