Competence Considered

Robert J. Sternberg, Author, Kolligian, Author, John Kolligan, Editor
Robert J. Sternberg, Author, Kolligian, Author, John Kolligan, Editor Yale University Press $47 (435p) ISBN 978-0-300-04567-3
Reviewed on: 08/29/1990
Release date: 09/01/1990
Your perception of your competence or incompetence--rather than your actual abilities--largely determines your self-image, goals, school performance and mental health. That's the startling consensus of the psychiatrists, psychologists and psychoanalysts who contribute to this collection of 15 drily academic essays. They found that fear of failure may lead to arrested development--or to a workaholic frenzy. People who see themselves as frauds or impostors may punish themselves, or else spur themselves to high levels of achievement. Feelings of incompetence purportedly breed stress and depression. Girls were found to disparage their own capabilities more than boys, who inflate theirs; consequently, girls narrow their range of interests and career options, a phenomenon with implications for childrearing. The reader can also glean a critique of narcissistic parents, as well as guidelines for raising exceptionally gifted children. Sternberg is a psychology professor at Yale; Kolligian a doctoral psychology student at Yale. (Apr.)
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