Wanting to appear smart: Hypercriticism as an indirect impression management strategy

Bryan Gibson, Elizabeth Oberlander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Two experiments explored hypercriticism as a strategy used by people attempting to appear smart. People wanting to appear smart were more critical than either those wanting to be liked, or those in a no-goal control group. Further, more people in the "appear smart" condition selected a disliked topic in order to facilitate hypercritical evaluations. We also found that trying to appear smart led to a drop in the intelligence ratings of an interaction partner. These two studies extend previous work (Amabile & Glazebrook, 1982) by ruling out potential alternative explanations for the hypercriticism effect, by identifying other targets relevant to the hypercritical strategy, and by demonstrating the proactive nature of hypercriticism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-392
Number of pages13
JournalSelf and Identity
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2008


  • Hypercriticism
  • Impression management
  • Intelligence
  • Self-presentation
  • Social interaction


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