A job offer that promises a good salary, and a job interview that consisted of filling out a questionnaire as part of the application. The questionnaire contained an indirect measure of the applicants’ self-esteem .
A fascinating experiment began, from the 1960s, by Stan Morse and Ken Gergen . Applicants are students at the University of Michigan.
And, here comes the crux of the matter, in the middle of filling out that questionnaire, the study authors let in another supposed job applicant to enter the room and also fill out the application.
The people who entered had diametrically opposite aspects.
Better than you
One of the fictitious applicants (they were hookers in the studio) was the epitome of cleanliness, uprightness, professionalism. His dress code was impressive. And besides, his way of proceeding exhibited poise and self-assurance. On the other hand, another one of the type applicants was a poorly dressed guy who smelled bad and looked a bit dizzy .
Next, the participants completed the final part of the application (remember that the hooks enter the middle of it), which incorporated another measure of self-esteem. As Richard H. Smith explains in his book Schadenfreude: bliss by the evil of another , the entrance of Mr. Perfect influenced the self-esteem of the applicant, and the entrance of Mr. Disaster , too, but in different ways:
Participants who resembled Mr. Dirty had poorer self-esteem after comparing themselves to Mr. Clean, and higher self-esteem after comparing themselves to Mr. Dirty. In contrast, participants who resembled Mr. Clean experienced no change in their self-esteem after comparing themselves to Mr. Dirty, and slightly higher self-esteem after buying from Mr. Clean.
Graphically summarized, it would look like this:
In other words, our way of being is built when we see ourselves reflected in others . We are not isolated individuals. We care how our peers are. We seek approval in others, not in our mirror, and if we do so in our mirror, it is by mentally comparing ourselves to others.
The opposite is a lie or is a symptom of a brain malfunction. You can elaborate more on it in the following video: