Be it ever so humble: Proposing a dual-dimension account and measurement of humility

Journal Article (Journal Article)

What does it mean to be humble? We argue that humility is an epistemically and ethically aligned state of awareness–the experience of ourselves as a small part of a larger universe and as one among a host of other morally relevant beings. So conceived, humility can be operationalized and measured along the dual dimensions of low self-focus and high other-focus and is distinct from other related constructs (e.g., modesty and open-mindedness). We discuss our newly developed scale (Study 1 and 2), and provide preliminary validation using self-report (Study 3) and behavioral measures (Study 4), showing that humility is related to people’s general ethical orientation (e.g., empathy, universalism/benevolence, and civic responsibility), their well-being (e.g., sense of autonomy, life-purpose, and secure attachment), mature religious beliefs/practices, and reactions to disagreement–specifically, people high in humility sat closer and less angled away from their conversation partner with whom they disagreed. Together, this provides support for our new Dual-Dimension Humility Scale.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Wright, JC; Nadelhoffer, T; Thomson Ross, L; Sinnott-Armstrong, W

Published Date

  • January 2, 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 17 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 92 - 125

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1529-8876

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1529-8868

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/15298868.2017.1327454

Citation Source

  • Scopus