Basking in Reflected Glory

Basking in reflected glory (BIRGing) is a self-serving cognition whereby an individual associates themself with successful others such that another’s success becomes their own.

What is interesting about BIRGing is that the simple affiliation of another’s success is enough to stimulate self glory. The person engaging in BIRGing does not even need to have been personally involved in the successful action with which they are affiliating themselves. Examples of BIRGing include anything from sharing a home state with a past or present famous person, to religious affiliations, to sports teams. For example, when a fan of a football team wears the teams jersey and boasts after a win, this fan is engaging in BIRGing. A parent with a bumper sticker reading "My child is an honor student" is basking in the reflected glory of their child. While many people have anecdotal accounts of BIRGing, social psychologists seek to find experimental investigations into BIRGing. Within social psychology, BIRGing is thought to enhance self-esteem and to be a component of self-management.

BIRGing has connections to social identity theory, which explains how self-esteem and self-evaluation can be enhanced by the identification with another person’s success by basking in reflected glory not earned. Social identity is the individual’s self-concept derived from perceived membership of social groups. Having high self-esteem is typically a perception of oneself as attractive, competent, likeable and morally good person. The perception of having these attributes make the person feel as if they are more attractive to the outside social world and thus are more desirable to others to be in a social relationship.

BIRGing is a widespread and important impression management technique to counter any threats to self-esteem and maintain positive relations with others. Some positive effects of BIRGing include increasing individual self-esteem and feeling accomplished. It can show pride of self as well as pride for the other person’s success, thus boosting their self-esteem as well. BIRGing can be negative when done too extensively that the individual engaging in BIRGing becomes delusional or forgets the reality that they did not actually accomplish the successful event.

Read more about Basking In Reflected Glory:  Empirical Findings, Major Theoretical Approaches, Role of Deindividuation, Applications, Controversies, Conclusion

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