The Role of Overconfidence in Romantic Desirability and Competition

Sean C. Murphy, William von Hippel, Shelli L. Dubbs, Michael Angilletta, Robbie S. Wilson, Robert Trivers, Fiona Kate Barlow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Four studies and a computer simulation tested the hypothesis that people who are overconfident in their self-assessments may be more successful in attracting mates. In Study 1, overconfident people were perceived as more confident in their dating profiles, and this perceived confidence predicted increased romantic desirability. Study 2 revealed that overconfident people also tend to be perceived as arrogant, which counteracts the positive effects of perceived confidence. However, Study 3 revealed that overconfidence might confer an advantage in intrasexual competition, as people were less likely to compete with overconfident individuals by virtue of their perceived confidence and arrogance. Study 4 showed that overconfident raters were also more likely to choose to compete for romantic partners. In Study 5, agent-based modeling incorporating the coefficients from these studies suggested that overconfidence facilitates mate acquisition in the presence of intrasexual competition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1036-1052
Number of pages17
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 14 2015


  • confidence
  • evolutionary psychology
  • intrasexual competition
  • mating
  • overconfidence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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