Triumphalism and the Inconvenient Truth: Correcting Inflated National Self-Images in a Rising Power

Haifeng Huang, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of California, Merced

12:30pm - 2:00pm | CSCC Conference Room, 133 S. 36th St, Room 418

Do people in a rising authoritarian power with pervasive propaganda and information control overestimate their country’s power and popularity in the world? This is an important question since inflated national self-images and bravado can intensify international conflicts and harm a country’s own development. I show with survey evidence that the Chinese public overwhelmingly overestimate China’s soft power and global popularity. Correcting such misperceptions negatively affects Chinese citizens’ views of China and moderates their expectations about the country’s external success. These effects from simple and brief information treatments last at least two weeks, and they suggest that self-aggrandizement and triumphalism can be meaningfully mitigated.

This event will be held on-site in the CSCC conference room, but with a Zoom option.

To attend in person:

Please use this link to RSVP for this event: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/triumphalism-and-the-inconvenient-truth-tickets-170552095910 Grad-and-go lunch served at 11:45AM.

You must be a Penn Card holder. Please indicate in the RSVP link that you plan to attend in person. Under the university’s current COVID-19 protocols, we must limit on-site attendance at our events to Penn card holders and, to comply with contact-tracing requirements, we must have a record of who attends our in-person events. Therefore, we are asking that you RSVP is you plan to attend in person. If you do not RSVP and still wish to attend, you are still welcome to show up, but will need to sign in on arrival. Although social distancing is not required under current university rules, we will be limiting the number of people in our conference room to somewhat less than our past highest turnout events.

To participate by Zoom:

We understand that some of you will be unable or uncomfortable attending in person, but wish to participate. We will send you a Zoom link if you register here: