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The impostor syndrome, sometimes called impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome, is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.
The psychological experience of believing that one’s accomplishments came about not through genuine ability, but as a result of having been lucky, having worked harder than others, or having manipulated other people’s impressions, has been labeled the impostor phenomenon.
The term impostor actually has two meanings which are often present all together. The Oxford English Dictionary defines an impostor as someone who imposes on others, a person who is a deceiver, swindler, or cheat. The other meaning is that of a person who takes on a false character or perceives him or herself as someone other than he or she really is. However, one can find examples where the two roles are combined, in that a person takes on a false identity in order to cheat on others. One can also encounter individuals who pass themselves off as someone else without receiving any benefits from doing so. 
The impostor syndrome tends to be studied as a reaction to certain stimuli and events. It is not perceived to be a psychological disorder among people, but it has been the topic of research for many psychologists. Evidence gathered from research does not support the idea that this syndrome is a distinct personality trait, but certain people are more prone to impostor feelings.
In Satoshi Kanazawa's article, The Impostor Syndrome, she writes about a book by Susan Pinker. Pinker explains that she interviewed a couple of highly accomplished women in which they claim, "Despite accolades, rank, and salary the women felt like phonies." These women did not believe in their own accomplishments, and they felt like they were scamming everyone with the skills they said they had. These women frequently asked why people believe this about them. 
The impostor syndrome was formerly thought to occur primarily in women. According to Pinker 1978, "it is purely limited to successful women; successful men apparently never feel like they are frauds. Success is more likely to be attributed to internal factors for men, compared to external factors for women. Failure for men is attributed to external factors, whereas for women it is internal factors.
Leigh Buchanan wrote an article and published it in the INC.com journal, where she writes about how people who feel like 'fakes' explain that their accomplishments are from external factors such as luck and timing, or worry. The accomplishments are achieved because of charm and personality rather than talent. Psychological research done in the early 1980s estimated that two out of five successful people consider themselves frauds and other studies have found that 70 percent of all people feel like impostors at one time or another. “Some people, the more successful they become, the more they feel like frauds,” says Valerie Young, who leads workshops and professional development programs on the subject. “They feel as though they’re fooling people. There’s a dissonance between self-image and external reality.” This seems untrue because entrepreneurs who own large companies should have self-confident attitudes and few positions are more exposed than the decline of one's own business. Many business owners also think they are only successful because of the amount of time they put into their business, not because they are talented at their work naturally. 
It is not an officially recognized psychological disorder, and is not among the conditions described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, but it has been the subject of numerous books and articles by psychologists and educators. The term was coined by clinical psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978. Though traditionally perceived as an ingrained personality trait, impostor syndrome has more recently been studied as a reaction to certain situations. Under this pretense, it is a response, experienced by many different people, to situations that prompt such feelings. Though certain people are more prone to impostor feelings, experience them more intensely than most, and can be identified through the use of personality scales, evidence does not support impostor syndrome to be a distinct personality trait.
The impostor syndrome, in which competent people find it impossible to believe in their own competence, can be viewed as complementary to the Dunning–Kruger effect, in which incompetent people find it impossible to believe in their own incompetence.
The impostor syndrome was once thought to be particularly common among women who are successful in their given careers, but has since been shown to occur for an equal number of men. There have been workshops for women that worked to dissolve the sense of inadequacy. It is commonly associated with academics and is widely found among graduate students. Another demographic associated with this phenomenon is African Americans. Affirmative action may cause a minority to doubt their own abilities and suspect that their skills were not what allowed them to be hired.
With job related performance, women believe that their success or failure directly reflects upon their female peers. Females believe that they are being watched more closely than that of their male co-workers. Besides older women, younger girls and boys come into play. Nature and nurture issues apply to the issues of younger children. Boys tend to blame things that are outside of their control when things don't happen accordingly: there wasn't enough time to answer the question; the other team had an advantage. Girls tend to blame themselves such that, when a sale isn't made, the customer isn't saying that the product doesn't pique his interest--he's saying, "You're inadequate."  It is stated that because of the women's movement, younger women may experience fewer internal struggles than older women, thus reporting lower levels of impostor feelings. Women today have much more empowerment and support compared to women in the early 70s and 80s. In contrast, women with high levels of impostor feelings believe that their success has not been earned and that most of all their accomplishments have somehow been given to them by mistake or by chance. These ideas start to deteriorate as time goes on with the ongoing rise of social and educational status being respectfully earned by more and more women. 
The impostor syndrome can be especially problematic among women according to Buchanan. In the business realm, female CEOs are still rare enough that many believe their performances are being watched more closely and that their success or failure reflects directly on their female peers. Fundamental issues of nature and nurture also apply. There's a lot of evidence that boys, as they grow up, tend to blame things on others rather than themselves when things go wrong. Girls, on the other hand, tend to blame themselves.  Impostor syndrome tends to fabricate a new truth that becomes a way of covering up something painful from their past. Lies tend to serve as a self protective function when dealing with a threatening inner conflict. In acting the way impostors do, they seem to have lost the capacity to differentiate between a fantasy and reality. In clinical findings, evidence suggests that impostors feel much better when they consume the identity of someone else.
Signs and symptoms 
If one would look at common themes among the various descriptions and take into consideration other observations about this type of person, he/she would recognize that potential impostors come from families where there is often a background of shared betrayal, lying, cheating, and make-believe. It is stated that appearance over substance is what really counts. Relationships tend to be superficial.
There are ways in which someone can deal with having and experiencing the impostor syndrome. There are several different approaches one can take to overcome it as well. It is all personal preference with which way you choose to take.
The behavioral approach: Is simply addressing the idea that taking risks or completing tasks that are undesirable can help to address your fear of failure. Questions may be asked, maybe about the person's early childhood, to find out what makes that person feel uncomfortable or inadequate in a certain situation.
The cognitive approach: This approach involves the idea that a person refuses to acknowledge their own worth or accomplishments, and looks at the thought processes to find out why they admire success or brilliance. Certain assumptions need to be overcome to help with the problem. One includes that making a single mistake means there's something wrong with you.
You can overcome impostor phenomenon if you actively recognize and avoid negative or destructive thoughts. Once you recognize these thoughts as you have them, you will learn how to match them with reality to see the flaws in your thinking.
There are a few different techniques that someone can try to rid themselves of impostor syndrome. One technique allows you to organize your thoughts by writing everything out. People tend to make sense of our lives when they see something that they have done physically outside of our own heads. Another strategy states that writing down all of your accomplishments and going back to review or catch up on all of the things that you have done is a huge self esteem booster, making you have feelings of some self worth. Also taking on challenges or daily routines right away helps us get rid of procrastination, which increases the feeling of incompetence. When people are able to cross something off their "to do" lists, it's a feeling of self accomplishment. The biggest technique to overcome impostor syndrome is to simply understand what it is. Understanding what it is allows a person to grasp what is happening when they start to feel like they have no self worth. It is normal to feel natural anxiety but it is beneficial to make sure those feelings don't get in the way of self-confidence and celebration of achievements. 
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- Langford, Joe; Clance, Pauline Rose (1993). "The Impostor Phenomenon: Recent Research Findings Regarding Dynamics, Personality and Family Patterns and Their Implications for Treatment" (PDF). Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training 30 (3): 495–501.
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- Buchanan. The Impostor Syndrome, Inc, 28(9), 37-3, 2006.
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- The Impostor Syndrome
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- Overcoming my Biggest Roadblock, Myself Conference: WiAC 2012