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  • 7/21/2019 Pride Facets



    The Psychological Structure of Pride: A Tale of Two Facets

    Jessica L. TracyUniversity of British Columbia

    Richard W. RobinsUniversity of California, Davis

    To provide support for the theoretical distinction between 2 facets of pride, authentic and hubristic (J. L.Tracy & R. W. Robins, 2004a), the authors conducted 7 studies. Studies 1 4 demonstrate that the 2 facets(a) emerge in analyses of the semantic meaning of pride-related words, the dispositional tendency toexperience pride, and reports of actual pride experiences; (b) have divergent personality correlates anddistinct antecedent causal attributions; and (c) do not simply reflect positively and negatively valenced,high- and low-activation, or state versus trait forms of pride. In Studies 57, the authors develop anddemonstrate the reliability and validity of brief, 7-item scales that can be used to assess the facets of pridein future research.

    Keywords: pride, authentic pride, hubristic pride, self-conscious emotions

    One must not confuse pride and self-love, two passions very dif-ferent in their nature and in their effects. Self-love is a naturalsentiment which prompts every animal to watch over its own conser-vation. . . Pride is only a relative, artificial sentiment born in society,a sentiment which prompts each individual to attach more importanceto himself than to anyone else. . .

    Rousseau (1754/1984, p. 167)

    Pride is an important emotion that plays a critical role in manydomains of psychological functioning. In particular, feelings of pride reinforce prosocial behaviors such as altruism and adaptivebehaviors such as achievement (Hart & Matsuba, in press; Weiner,1985). The loss of pride is part of what provokes aggression andother antisocial behaviors in response to ego threats (Bushman &Baumeister, 1998). The regulation of pride is intrinsically linked toself-esteem regulation and maintenance; many acts of self-enhancement are likely attempts to increase ones feelings of pride.In fact, pride is the primary emotion (along with shame) that givesself-esteem its affective kick (J. D. Brown & Marshall, 2001), and

    self-esteem in turn influences a wide range of intrapsychic andinterpersonal processes.

    Despite its centrality to social behavior, pride has received littleattention in the socialpersonality literature, even relative to otherself-conscious emotions such as shame and guilt. As a self-conscious emotion, pride traditionally has been viewed as belong-ing to a secondary class of emotions, separate from the so-calledbasic emotions that are thought to be biologically based anduniversal. However, recent research showing that pride has adistinct, cross-culturally recognized nonverbal expression that isaccurately identified by children and adults (Tracy & Robins,

    2004b, 2006; Tracy, Robins, & Lagattuta, 2005) suggests thatpride might meet the requisite criteria to be considered a basicemotion. In fact, pride may serve important adaptive functions.The expression of pride may communicate an individuals success(which elicits the emotion) to others, thereby enhancing the indi-viduals social status; and the subjective experience of pride mightreinforce the behaviors that generate proud feelings, boost self-esteem, and communicate to the individual that she or he meritsincreased status. Thus, following a socially valued success, pridemight function to maintain and promote an individuals socialstatus and group acceptance (Leary, Tambor, Terdal, & Downs,1995), thereby helping to prevent group rejection. This evidencefor the importance of pride in social life raises questions aboutwhat, exactly, pride is. How can we characterize its psychologicalstructure?


    Several researchers have argued that pride is too broad a conceptto be considered a single, unified construct and is better viewed astwo or more distinct emotions (Ekman, 2003; M. Lewis, 2000).Consistent with this perspective, pride has been empirically andtheoretically linked to highly divergent outcomes. On the onehand, pride in ones successes might promote positive behaviors in

    Editors Note. Mark R. Leary served as the action editor for this arti-cle.CSC

    Jessica L. Tracy, Department of Psychology, University of British Co-lumbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Richard W. Robins, De-partment of Psychology, University of California, Davis.

    This research was supported by National Institute of Aging GrantAG022057, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Grant 410-2006-1593, and a predoctoral fellowship from Nation Institute of MentalHealth Grant T32 MH2006. We thank June Tangney for helpful commentson a draft of this article.

    Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Jessica L.Tracy, Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, 2136West Mall Vancouver, British Columbia, V6T 1Z4 Canada. E-mail:

    Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2007, Vol. 92, No. 3, 506525Copyright 2007 by the American Psychological Association 0022-3514/07/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.92.3.506


  • 7/21/2019 Pride Facets


    the achievement domain (Herrald & Tomaka, 2002) and contributeto the development of a genuine and deep-rooted sense of self-esteem. On the other hand, the hubristic pride theoretically asso-ciated with narcissism (M. Lewis, 2000), which has been labeledthe deadliest of the Seven Deadly Sins (Dante, 1308 1321/1937),might contribute to aggression and hostility, interpersonal prob-

    lems, relationship conflict, and a host of maladaptive behaviors(Bushman & Baumeister, 1998; Campbell, 1999; Kernberg, 1975;Kohut, 1976; Morf & Rhodewalt, 2001; Paulhus, Robins, Trz-esniewski, & Tracy, 2004). How can the same emotion serve suchvaried and, in many ways, antagonistic roles?

    This paradox can be resolved if we tease apart the prosocial,achievement-oriented form of the emotion from the self-aggrandizing, hubristic form and postulate two distinct facets of pride (M. Lewis, 2000). A large body of research indicates thatshame and guilt are distinct, negative self-conscious emotions withdivergent elicitors and outcomes (see Tangney & Dearing, 2002,for a review), and it might make sense to conceptualize pride in asimilar manner (M. Lewis, 2000; Tangney, Wagner, & Gramzow,1989). Specifically, the pride that results from a specific achieve-ment or prosocial behavior might be distinct from pride in onesglobal self. This distinction parallels the conceptualization of guiltas derived from a focus on negative aspects of ones behaviorthething that was done or not doneand shame as derived from afocus on negative aspects of ones selfthe self who did or did notdo it (H. B. Lewis, 1971; M. Lewis, 2000; Tangney & Dearing,2002). In numerous studies, Tangney and her colleagues (seeTangney & Dearing, 2002, for a review) have demonstrated thatthis distinction characterizes the key difference between shameand guilt and might be the source of the wide range of divergentoutcomes associated with the two emotions (e.g., guilt and shamehave divergent effects on variables ranging from self-esteem andoptimism to depression, anxiety, and recidivism).

    Building on these ideas and findings, we recently developed atheoretical model of self-conscious emotions in which we hypoth-esized the existence of two distinct variants of pride, elicited bydistinct cognitive processes (Tracy & Robins, 2004a). Accordingto our model, self-conscious emotions (pride, shame, guilt, andembarrassment) are elicited when individuals direct attentionalfocus to the self, activating self-representations, and appraise anemotion-eliciting event as relevant to those representations. In thecase of pride, the event also must be congruent with positiveself-representations. Individuals then must make a series of causalattributions. Psychologists have long noted that pride occurs inresponse to internal attributionsthat is, when the self is creditedas the cause of the event (Ellsworth & Smith, 1988; M. Lewis,2000; Roseman, 1991; C. A. Smith & Lazarus, 1993; Weiner,1985). However, building on previous theoretical work, we haveargued that two facets of pride can be distinguished by subsequentattributions. Specifically, authentic , or beta , pride ( Im proud of what I did ) might result from attributions to internal, unstable,controllable causes ( I won because I practiced ), whereas pride inthe global self ( Im proud of who I am ), referred to as hubristic , oralpha , pride (M. Lewis, 2000; Tangney et al., 1989), might resultfrom attributions to internal, stable, uncontrollable causes ( I wonbecause Im always great ).

    We have labeled the first facet authentic to emphasize that it istypically based on specific accomplishments and is likely accom-panied by genuine feelings of self-worth. This label also connotes

    the full range of academic, social, moral, and interpersonal accom-plishments that might be important elicitors. 1 However, we do notwish to imply that hubristic pride is not an authentic emotionalexperience. Rather, from a theoretical perspective at least, theelicitors of hubristic pride might be more loosely tied to actualaccomplishments and might involve a self-evaluative process that

    reflects a less authentic sense of self (e.g., distorted and self-aggrandized self-views). Of note, our theoretical model specifiesthat there are two facets of pride, but it does not indicate whetherthese two facets constitute distinct emotions in the way that shameand guilt are generally conceptualized. We hope that the presentfindings provide insights into this issue, and we return to it in theGeneral Discussion.

    In addition to explicating the nature of a comple