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Striking the right balance of bragging on job interviews and first dates




A job applicant (L) speaks with recruiter Renee Chandler (R) during an interview May 7, 2003 at the offices of Metro Support Group in New York City.
A job applicant (L) speaks with recruiter Renee Chandler (R) during an interview May 7, 2003 at the offices of Metro Support Group in New York City.
Chris Hondros/Getty Images

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How are you perceived and judged for either bragging or for being humble?

That question was posed by Brown University social psychologists and the results can be instructive for crafting social impressions. There are a few different categories the researchers used in their experiment: a bragger who was justified in his boastings; a bragger who was less skilled than he claimed; a humble person who was highly skilled; and a person whose humility matched their low skills.

As explained by AirTalk guest Elizabeth Bernstein in her Wall Street Journal column about the experiment:

"Braggarts are viewed as more competent but less moral than people who remain humble, except if their bragging is unsubstantiated. In that case, they are seen as less competent and more immoral. People who don't brag, the 'humblers,' are seen as moral but incompetent."

In which situations would you rather be seen as competent if not moral? And would you prefer to appear likeable and moral - at the risk of seeming incompetent? How can you achieve the right balance when it matters most, such as during job interviews and first dates?

Guest:

Elizabeth Bernstein, columnist, The Wall Street Journal