Donald Trump: a case study for hubristic pride

Psychology professor Jessica Tracy says we should celebrate pride because it holds the key to human success. There are two types of pride: authentic and hubristic. Both lead to power, but the later, epitomized by Donald Trump, won't win you any friends.

Psychology professor Jessica Tracy on Donald Trump’s hubristic pride

7 years ago
Duration 0:54
Featured VideoPsychology professor Jessica Tracy on Donald Trump’s hubristic pride
Jessica Tracy, professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia

They say pride is the worst of the seven deadly sins, but Jessica Tracy says it gets a bad rap.

Tracy is a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia and the author of Take Pride: Why the Deadliest Sin Holds the Secret to Human Success. She says we should celebrate our pride.

Authentic Pride

- Based on a realistic appraisal of one's competencies, abilities and achievements.

- We typically feel it when we've worked hard for an achievement

- Generates prestige

- Feelings of confidence

- People feeling authentic pride tend to be accomplished, productive, creative, empathic

- Helps create strong friendships

Hubristic Pride                               

- Not realistic

- Grandiose, inflated sense of self

- Egotism, arrogance, conceitedness

- Not particularly conscientious

- Disagreeable, anti-social, problematic relationships

- Aggressive

- Unempathetic

"One of the many reasons humans are unique from other animals is because we want to feel good about ourselves. I argue the motivation to feel good about ourselves (which really is the motivation to feel pride) is what drives us to do all of the many amazing things that we've done, ranging from great works of art, scientific discoveries, technological innovations, coming up with religious ideologies... all kinds of things we do and have done throughout our history because of a desire to feel pride."

Still, it depends what kind of pride you're talking about -- because there's more than one. Jessica Tracy breaks them down into two main types: hubristic and authentic pride.

A classic example of hubristic pride Professor Tracy has pointed to for years is Donald Trump.

"It's been amazing to watch just how perfectly Trump fits that model every step of the way. Anytime he's challenged, his immediate response is to attack outwards. He's going to show everyone who tries to criticize him that they shouldn't do that because he will retaliate. Whether it's a former Miss America contestant that he's going to go off on because she's raised questions about him, or his competitors in the primary election who he called names, or Hillary [Clinton] who he's constantly attacking… This is his strategy, this is his way of getting power. And like it or not dominance is an effective way of getting ahead and it's worked quite well for him."