Playing Dumb and Knowing it All: Two Sides of an Impression Management Coin

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Individual Differences Research


Two studies examined opposing self-presentational strategies for impression management — "playing dumb" and "knowing it all." In the first study, men (n = 120) reported greater use of both strategies than did women (n = 129), but there were no gender differences noted among personality correlates. However, both strategies were associated with lower self-esteem, higher public self-consciousness and social anxiety, greater fear of negative evaluation, and more hypercompetitiveness. Those with more egalitarian attitudes toward the roles of women and men were less likely to engage in these strategies. Results of a second study (98 women, 100 men) suggest that the use of either strategy is associated with gender-role typing rather than simply with gender in that androgynous men and women reported using these strategies less often than masculine or feminine gender-typed men and women.


† indicates Undergraduate Student

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