A new paper in Psychological Science by Ewa Szumowska, Natalia Wójcik, Paulina Szwed, & Arie W. Kruglanski!
People typically prefer feedback consistent with what they think of themselves and reject feedback inconsistent with their self-views (e.g., they disregard compliments they find “too good to be true”). This preference, called the self-verification effect, contributes to the persistence of overly negative, maladaptive, or inaccurate self-views. But why does it occur? Psychology has offered two explanations. First, people strive for coherence and seek to confirm their existing self-knowledge. Alternatively, they find self-consistent feedback more accurate. We empirically tested these explanations. Participants with positive and negative social self-esteem received positive and negative feedback regarding their social skills. Self-discrepant feedback (positive for participants with negative self-esteem and vice versa) came from either a student (a lower credibility source) or an experienced psychologist (a higher credibility source). The results showed that people no longer favored self-consistent feedback when self-inconsistent feedback came from a psychologist and was thus seen as credible. This highlights the possibility of providing people with corrective feedback they will not readily reject.
Full text available here: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/09567976211049439