Boasting, burnishing, and burying in the eyes of the perceivers

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Three studies examined the perceptions formed about impression managers who enhance themselves indirectly by associating themselves with successful others. It was predicted that listeners would take into account not only the information conveyed regarding the target's attributes and degree of closeness to the target, but also the pragmatic implications of this information, including the speaker's perceived attempt to manage his or her impression. The valence of the depiction as well as the closeness between the speaker and the target were manipulated, and they were expected to have an interactive effect on the perception of the speaker as manipulative. The results generally supported the research hypotheses in demonstrating that the speaker was perceived as more manipulative when ascribing positive characteristics to a close other rather than to a distant other and when associating himself with a successful other rather than an unsuccessful other.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-222
Number of pages21
JournalSocial Influence
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008


  • Impression formation
  • Indirect self-presentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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