Relational Humility

Authored by: Don E. Davis , Vanessa Placeres , Elise Choe , Cirleen DeBlaere , David Zeyala , Joshua N. Hook

Handbook of Humility

Print publication date:  December  2016
Online publication date:  December  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138960008
eBook ISBN: 9781315660462
Adobe ISBN: 9781317337164


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The study of humility has many ironies and paradoxes. For example, someone who claims to be humble may actually seem like they are bragging. Even though we want others to be humble, practicing humility ourselves may seem risky because it involves prioritizing the interest of another person or relationship. In the present chapter, we review the extant research on humility in light of several hypotheses derived from our theory of relational humility, which aligns the study of humility with the rich theoretical and empirical literature on personality judgments (Funder, 1995). First, we define humility from this theoretical viewpoint. Then, we organize our chapter by evaluating seven hypotheses. The first pertains to the modesty effect hypothesis, which relates to concerns that self-reports of humility are inherently paradoxical. The next five pertain to theorized benefits of humility for interpersonal relationships. The final hypothesis predicts a relationship between humility and health.

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