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imposter phenomenon

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A subjective experience of phoniness in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable, or creative despite evidence of high achievement, and who are highly motivated to achieve but live in perpetual fear of being ‘found out’ or exposed as frauds. The phenomenon was first described in 1978 by the US psychologists Pauline Rose Clance (born 1938) and Suzanne A(ment) Imes (born 1944) in an article entitled ‘The Impostor Phenomenon in High Achieving Women: Dynamics and Therapeutic Intervention’ in the journal Psychotherapy: Theory and Practice. Also spelt impostor phenomenon. Also called the imposter (or impostor) syndrome or fraud syndrome. [From Latin impositus imposed, from imponere, impositum to place upon, from ponere to place]

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