Why we shouldn’t be too modest

first_imgPride is the downfall of many a tragic hero. Mr Darcy has to let his go before he can earn Elizabeth Bennet’s love. Dante listed it as one of the seven deadly sins. And as the famous (and oft-misquoted) verse from Proverbs cautions us, it “goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall”.There’s no question about it: we’re consistently told that pride makes us obnoxious at best and doomed at worst.But pride may not entirely deserve this reputation as a destructive force. There’s new evidence that this emotion has an evolutionary function, and that it plays an important role in the way that we interact with the world.This makes sense. Shows of pride occur across cultures and ages, even in toddlers. Pride comes with its own distinctive, widely-recognised stance: an erect posture, expanded arms, and uplifted head. Research by Jessica Tracy, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia and the author of Pride: The Secret of Success, shows that this stance is produced even by people who have been blind since birth. That, too, suggests that pride is part of our evolutionary makeup rather than being socially taught. Read the whole story: BBC More of our Members in the Media >last_img