THE ROLE OF SELF-IMPROVEMENT AND SOCIAL NORMS One of the most enduring and cherished traditions of philosophical thought is the observation that people have an unduly favorable view of themselves. From Aristippus and Epicurus (De Witt, 1973; Tatarkiewicz, 1976), through Hobbes (1651/1950) and Bentham (1789/1982), to Freud (1905/1961) and Nietzsche (1886/1966), philosophers have commented on the human peculiarity to overrate (if not trumpet) strengths and to underrate (if not conceal) weaknesses. James (1890/1950) put it succinctly, when he suggested that “each of us is animated by a direct feeling of regard for his [self]” (p. 308). Characteristically, James regarded the self (the empirical “me”) as a collection of ego-relevant interests.