Research reveals unexpected advantage for those with imposter syndrome

The imposter syndrome is an exacerbated feeling of insecurity that leads people to doubt their qualities and abilities, thinking that they are not worthy or capable of the roles they perform. The condition causes individuals to believe that they will be “unmasked” at any time by their peers.

The sensation is often described as debilitating to mental health. However, research by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has found at least one advantage for those experiencing the problem.

Conducted through questionnaires and dynamics with 3,603 company employees, the survey showed that “impostors” are likely to develop good interpersonal relationships in the teams in which they work, collaborating for the collective result.

The researchers hypothesize that the feeling of inadequacy drives “imposters” to put more effort into dealing with colleagues and clients, which would make them more competent in the field of social skills.

“People who have imposter thoughts in the workplace become more others-oriented,” says behavioral psychologist Basima Tewfik, one of the authors of the research.

Also according to the work, this advantage in terms of soft skills does not harm office productivity. Basima Tewfik reinforces, however, that the degree of suffering generated by the imposter syndrome should not be disregarded and, therefore, the feeling should not be stimulated as a productivity strategy.

“It is not because people with imposter thoughts are more effective interpersonally that the syndrome ceases to be a problem”, reinforced the researcher in a statement sent to the press.


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