"Basking in reflected glory" (BIRG) is the tendency to create, magnify or promote one's association with successful or desirable others. This tendency has been linked to some of the more prominent motivational drives researched in social psychology over the 20th century, including the drive to maintain cognitive consistency, the drive to be viewed positively by others (i.e., impression management), and the drive to maintain positive self-esteem. This research represents the first attempt to systematically investigate the effects of basking in reflected glory on self-esteem. In doing so, this research will rely not only on self-report measures of self-esteem, but also on a research paradigm designed to document self-esteem involvement in the absence of self-report assessment. Study 1 is a conceptual replication of prior basking in reflected glory research that includes the self-reported self-esteem. The study replicates the basking in reflected glory effect, but does not document any effect on self-esteem. Studies 2 and 3 are an attempt to demonstrate that BIRG affects self-esteem by showing that other self-esteem palliatives reduce the tendency to bask in reflected glory (Study 2), and that basking in reflected glory reduces the tendency to use other self-esteem palliatives. Studies 2 and 3 did show this substitution of self-esteem palliatives, yet continue to show no self-reported effects on self-esteem. In short, mixed results leave the self-esteem role of BIRG uncertain. The implications of these findings for basking in reflected glory, and more broadly, the self-esteem motive, are discussed.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. April 2013. Major: Psychology. Advisors: Mark Snyder, Eugene Borgida. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 171 pages, appendix A.
Miller, Christopher Bradley.
Basking In reflected glory and the tactics of self-esteem maintenance.
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