Accounts for success as determinants of perceived arrogance and modesty

Shlomo Hareli, Bernard Weiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-236
Number of pages22
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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