The psychological significance of humility

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The psychological significance of humility

Humility is a virtue with a rich and varied past. Its benefits and pitfalls – indeed, its status as a virtue – have been debated by philosophers and theologians. Recently, psychologists have entered into the dialectic, with a small but growing body of empirical research at their disposal. We will discuss this research on humility, including our own recent contributions. Our goal is to shed light on the following three important questions: First, what is humility? Second, why we should care about being humble? Finally, are there constructive steps we can take to induce people to adopt more humble at titudes towards themselves and others? In the process of answering these questions, we will consider the major empirical accounts of humility in the literature, highlight their primary difficulties, and then introduce a new account that cuts through the confusion, getting to the core of what we take humility to be.

The Journal of PosiTive Psychology, 2017 vol. 12, no. 1, 3–12

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