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I'm trying to understand the phenomenon of how one's self-image, self-confidence, or personal regard goes up because something they affiliate themselves with "does well." For example, someone whose confidence and self-regard goes up when their team wins, or a character they relate to in a movie succeeds, or a politician they like says something clever.

What is this called?

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This is called BIRGing - Basking in reflected glory:

Basking in reflected glory (BIRGing) is a self-serving cognition whereby an individual associates themselves with known successful others such that the winner's success becomes the individual's own accomplishment. ... The individual does not need to be personally involved in the successful action. ... Examples of BIRGing include anything from sharing a home state with a past or present famous person, to religious affiliations, to sports teams.

Although BIRGing is a useful general term, social psychologists typically study more specific examples, particularly in social identity, where in-group affiliation with a sports team, political party, nation, etc, influences self-image, social status, and out-group derogation; or impression management, where affiliation with successful entities influences the perceptions of others.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you! Yep, I can understand that social psychologists would want more specific (and non-judgemental?) concepts. But, "basking in reflected glory" is the concept I was looking for, I think. $\endgroup$
    – mark1000
    Commented Jan 13, 2023 at 19:22
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I would describe this as a vicarious, or, more specifically, an empathic emotional response. Vicarious emotions are when an individual’s emotional state is determined by the emotional state of another person. However, vicarious response is a broader term as the emotional responses do not have to be the same. An empathic emotional response is a subset of this, wherein the emotional response elicited is congruent with the emotions of the other person. The source linked attributes these responses to the same underlying mechanisms of simulation and process mirroring.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! This is really useful. $\endgroup$
    – mark1000
    Commented Jan 13, 2023 at 19:19

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