Are courageous actions successful actions?

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Are courageous actions successful actions?

When asked to describe a courageous action they have taken personally people overwhelmingly describe an action with a successful outcome (Pury Kowalski & Spearman 2007). Study 1 replicated these findings in observations of other people. Fifty participants described a courageous action taken by another person and made parallel ratings to Pury et al. Participants in Study 1 also described actions with overwhelmingly successful outcomes. In Study 2 152 participants rated otherwise identical scenarios differing in success of outcome and attribution (internal vs. external) for outcome.

Successful actions were rated as more courageous than unsuccessful outcomes although this effect was attenuated for external attributions. Thus we suggest that successful outcome is an unarticulated part of implicit theories of courage. Authentic happiness theory supported by impact of religion on life satisfaction: A longitudinal analysis with data for Germany.

The Journal of Positive Psychology Vol. 5, No. 1, January 2010, 62–72

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