What is impostor syndrome?

Katherine Jane Hawley

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People are described as suffering from impostor syndrome when they feel that their external markers of success are unwarranted, and fear being revealed as a fraud. Impostor syndrome is commonly framed as a troubling individual pathology, to be overcome through self-help strategies or therapy. But in many situations an individual’s impostor attitudes can be epistemically justified, even if they are factually mistaken: hostile social environments can create epistemic obstacles to self-knowledge. The concept of impostor syndrome prevalent in popular culture needs greater critical scrutiny, as does its source, the concept of impostor phenomenon which features in psychological research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203–226
JournalAristotelian Society Supplementary Volume
Issue number1
Early online date20 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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