Are you Guilty of this Devious Form of Self-Promotion?

Neuroscience suggests we enjoy talking about ourselves – however there is one way of doing it that is proving particularly unpopular. Are you guilty?!

Research from the world of neuroscience suggests that there is one specific subject that our brains love to talk about above all others – ourselves! In studies, the part of the brain that lit up when we did so was the same part that fired when we had sex or food. However, relatively recently a phrase has been coined that relates to a way of self-promotion that is a little bit devious – introducing ‘the humblebrag’.

Put simply, the humblebrag is a way of boasting in a back-handed fashion. For example, you may tell someone how you ended up in hospital by crashing your new Ferrari – or maybe that you’re going to have to stop flying first class as the food they serve is just too rich. There are of course limitless ways to humblebrag – but not matter how you do it, it probably isn’t doing you any favours.

A recent article by the British Psychological Society and based on recent research by psychologists in Holland suggested eliminating the humblebrag as one of the best ways of avoiding looking like a jerk in the eyes of others.

So, remember, whilst there is no problem coming across as confident, insincere and even devious ways of self-promotion can backfire. Next time you find yourself about to boast, stop – pause, and perhaps ask a question and take time to listen to the answer, which in many ways is the perfect antidote for the humblebrag.

Thanks very much for visiting the website and, if you haven’t done so already, don’t forget to sign-up on the home page to receive our weekly Meetology® Minute direct to your inbox, as well the latest information on our training courses, and I’ll be back in 7 days with some more Meetology® – the fascinating psychology powering exceptional people skills.

Have a good week,


Jonathan Bradshaw
The Meetology® Lab


Disclosing information about the self is intrinsically rewarding. Diana I. Tamir and Jason P. Mitchell, Department of Psychology, Harvard University. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, May 22, 2012, vol. 109 no. 21




About the Author:

Jonathan Bradshaw presents and trains internationally on the fascinating psychology powering exceptional interpersonal communication. He is Founder of the Meetology® Lab and leads the company’s team of behavioral psychologists in collating and sharing cutting-edge research on exceptional people skills. As an experienced and engaging keynote speaker Jon has presented at conferences and business events in over 30 countries and is an award-winning columnist and blogger. Learn more about him speaking at your next event via or connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.