Pride expressions draw positive attention to one’s achievements. There is also evidence that expressing pride can result in negative outcomes, such as being envied and negatively evaluated. We investigated whether people anticipate such negative outcomes and regulate their pride expressions accordingly. Five experiments (total N = 953) suggest that people selectively inhibit their expressions of pride when their achievements are relevant to the audience, and that failing to do so could result in social costs. Pride expressions were reported to be less intense when the achievement was relevant to the observer of those expressions, both in hypothetical (Experiments 1a, b, c, 2a, b, and 3) and actual pride experiences (Experiment 4; first four experiments Hedge’s g = 0.50). This effect was independent of the experienced intensity of pride. In Experiment 5, we recorded actual pride expressions of people expressing pride to relevant and non-relevant audiences and found that raters also perceived pride expressions to be less intense towards relevant than non-relevant audiences. The results illustrate the importance of social context in understanding the intensity of pride expressions.
DSA proof. - Method: 5 experiments were conducted by the researchers. - Universe: University students (Tilburg University / Fontys University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands).