Department of Psychology Title OSU Psi Logo

Department Faculty

Robert Arkin

Arkin received his Ph.D. in 1976 from the University of Southern California. He has been Associate Editor of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Personality Processes and Individual Differences, and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Arkin's research interests include attribution theory, self-presentation, self-handicapping, and more general issues in the area of emotion and motivation.

Recent work in Arkin's laboratory has been focused on the topic of overachievement. The self-handicapper and the overachiever may in many ways be similar. Each is fearful that failure will implicate competence. Each has an abnormal investment in the question of self-worth. However, one succeeds in avoiding failure through persistent effort, the other embraces failure as an alternative to self-implicating feedback. Phenotypically, the self-handicapper and the overachiever could not look more different. For instance, the self-handicapper is likely to withdraw effort; the overachiever is likely to expend heroic effort. The overachiever avoids failure, seemingly at all costs; the self-handicapper flirts with disaster, enhancing the probability of failure by the very act of self-handicapping. Yet, genotypically, the two types of behavior appear to be inspired by the same motivational force: self-doubt.

Because overachievers tend to do well and enjoy outcomes conventionally regarded in our society as "success," little attention has been paid to this group. Our research shows that overachievers are distinguishable not only by their thoughts and feelings, but by their behavior as well. The overachievement strategy appears to be as intriguing as its companion, self-handicapping. A scale designed to measure overachievement, with a two-factor structure ("self-doubt" and "need for success"), is both reliable and shows convergent and discriminant construct validity.

Selected Publications


Kolditz, T.*, & Arkin, R. M. (1982). An impression management interpretation of the self-handicapping phenomenon. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, 492-502.

Lake, E. A.*, & Arkin, R. M. (1985). Reactions to objective and subjective interpersonal evaluation: The influence of social anxiety. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 3, 143-160.

Baumgardner, A. H.*, Heppner, P. P., & Arkin, R. M. (1986). Role of causal attribution in personal problem solving. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 50, 636-643.

Shepperd, J. A.*, & Arkin, R. M. (1988). Determinants of self-handicapping: Task importance and the effects of preexisting handicaps on self-generated handicaps. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 15, 101-112.

Shepperd, J. A.*, & Arkin, R. M. (1989). Self-handicapping: The mediating roles of public self-consciousness and task importance. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 15, 252-265.

Shepperd, J. A.*, & Arkin, R. M. (1991). Behavioral other-enhancement: Strategically obscuring the link between performance and evaluation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 60, 79-88.

Shepperd, J. A.*, Arkin, R. M., Strathman, A. J.*, & Baker, S. M.* (1993). Dysphoria as a moderator of the relationship between perceived effort and perceived ability. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66, 559-569.

Oleson, K. C.*, & Arkin, R. M. (1994). More than ingratiating. Retrospective review of E. E. Jones (1964) Ingratiation. Contemporary Psychology, 39, 455-458.

Poehlmann, K. M.*, & Arkin, R. M. (1994). Social comparison. In V. S. Ramachandran (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Human Behavior. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Shepperd, J. A.*, Arkin, R. M., Slaughter, J. (1995). Constraints in excuse-making: The deterring effects of shyness and anticipated retest. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 21, 1061-1072.

Arkin, R. M., Oleson, K. C.* (1996). Self-Handicapping. In J. Darley & J. Cooper (Eds.), The legacy of Ned Jones. American Psychology Association.



Address

100A Lazenby Hall
1827 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
(614) 292-2726
arkin.2@osu.edu