The Corner

High Self-Esteem Is Actually Low Self-Esteem

Popper argued that the true mark of a pseudoscience is its unfalsifiability.

Any counterfact, any counterargument, is neatly folded into the system and

used to strengthen it. You don’t accept the Labor Theory of Value? That

just PROVES the delusional effect of having a bourgeois mentality! Well,

here is a little gem along the same lines from the Letters column of the

current (8/2/03) Science News. Background: a few weeks ago, SN

reported on a study by Roy Baumeister of Florida State U, indicating that

high self-esteem does not lead to improved school or job performance, that

“people who evalueated themselves extremely positively” are not more likely

than others to have satisfying relationships, to avoid drug use or

depression, etc. OK, here’s the rebuttal letter from the current issue:

“Your short piece: ‘Findings puncture self-esteem claims’ didn’t say how

self-esteem was assessed. Over-developed egotism is often a compensatory

phenomenon in individuals with low self-esteem and can falsely present as

high self-esteem. Self-reported self-regard taken at face value can lead to

wrong conclusions about the effects of different levels of self-esteem on

behavior, perceptions, relationships, and other aspects of life.” So high

self-esteem can be a marker of low self-esteem. Got that?

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