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Restoration of Shaken Confidence

Small or seemingly insignificant actions can help an individual recover from a momentary loss of confidence, suggests a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

For example, the purchase of a pen, rather than a candy bar, helps restore a person’s belief in him- or herself as an intelligent person.

Authors Leilei Gao (Chinese University of Hong Kong), S. Christian Wheeler, and Baba Shiv (both Stanford University) look at how subtle manipulations—such as having someone write with his or her non-dominant hand—can measurably reduce a person’s self-confidence.

The authors call this the “shaken self,” and believe it persists until the person is able to do, acquire, or think about something that restores self-confidence.

“We show that threats to an important self-view can momentarily shake one’s confidence in that particular self-view, resulting in the choice of products that help restore confidence in that self-view,” write the authors.

In one of the studies, the researchers asked participants to write about health-conscious behaviors with their dominant or non-dominant hands. Then some of the participants wrote essays about the most important value in their lives (an activity designed to restore confidence).

All participants assessed their moods and self-esteem levels and then chose between a healthy snack (an apple) and an unhealthy snack (candy bar).

Participants whose confidence was shaken (by not using their dominant hand) who didn’t get to self-affirm with the essay were more likely to choose the healthy snack—to restore their health-conscious confidence.

The authors focused their research on the “shaken confidence” phenomenon in people who were generally self-confident rather than people who chronically lack self-confidence.

“Specifically, we show that the effects of lowered self-view confidence on consumer choice can be eliminated by both direct self-view bolstering strategies (for example, purchasing products to restore the specific shaken self-dimension) as well as indirect strategies (for example, affirming an unrelated self-value),” write the authors.

Source: University of Chicago Press Journals

Restoration of Shaken Confidence

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Restoration of Shaken Confidence. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 16, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/01/27/restoration-of-shaken-confidence/3708.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.