Mark D Alicke

Mark D Alicke
Ohio University · Department of Psychology

PhD

About

104
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Publications

Publications (104)
Article
This chapter describes the Egocentric Tactician Model. The model purports to account for the influence of the self on social thought. Such thought refers to the social world and those who inhabit it (i.e., characterizing or construing another’s actions, predicting others’ preferences or behaviors, evaluating what is normative or right). The model p...
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Abundant research concerning the role of the self in social judgment suggests that people have a strong tendency to evaluate others’ actions, preferences, and values with regard to their own. Reliance on self-standards contrasts with the legal standard of the Reasonably Prudent Person (RPP) standard, which presumably represents the behavior of the...
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True Self; Self-Enhancement
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Researchers have assumed that people judge their own true selves, or their authentic and fundamental nature, to be no better than that of others. This assumption conflicts with self-enhancement perspectives, and with studies on comparative biases in self and social judgment, which assume that people tend to view their characteristics and life prosp...
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Abundant research concerning the role of the self in social judgment suggests that people have a strong tendency to evaluate others’ actions, preferences, and values with regard to their own. Reliance on self-standards contrasts with the legal standard of the reasonably prudent person (RPP) standard, which presumably represents the behavior of the...
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The better-than-average-effect (BTAE) is the tendency for people to perceive their abilities, attributes, and personality traits as superior compared with their average peer. This article offers a comprehensive review of the BTAE and the first quantitative synthesis of the BTAE literature. We define the effect, differentiate it from related phenome...
Chapter
Local comparisons involve thinking about the self in relation to one or a few people, such as friends, family, neighbors, or coworkers. Conversely, general comparisons involve thinking about the self in relation to larger samples, such as the average person in one’s profession or country. This chapter first describes a program of research that exam...
Chapter
This chapter describes the Egocentric Tactician Model. The model purports to account for the influence of the self on social thought. Such thought refers to the social world and those who inhabit it (i.e., characterizing or construing another's actions, predicting others’ preferences or behaviors, evaluating what is normative or right). The model p...
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Findings from research on self-enhancement and self-protection are generally understood to provide evidence for “motivated bias.” Despite their ubiquity, the meaning of “motivation,” “bias,” and “motivated bias” are usually left to intuition. In this article, we clarify the meaning of these terms as they apply to constructing and maintaining desire...
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Research indicates that actors who intentionally bring about harmful consequences are blamed more for their actions than those who do so unintentionally. However, in many instances of harmful behavior, intentions are ambiguous. The Culpable Control Model of Blame (CCM) predicts that the degree to which an actor is blamed for causing a harmful outco...
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Three studies explored whether self-enhancement is precluded when people recognize or even exaggerate their worst faults and behaviors. Even when acknowledging their faults, participants minimized the extent to which their bad characteristics re ected what kind of people they were, predicted that they would improve more in the future than would oth...
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Previous research indicates that local comparisons with one or a few people in the immediate environment have a stronger influence on self-evaluations than general comparisons with larger samples. Two studies examined whether this local dominance effect extends to intrinsic motivation. Study 1 suggests that local comparisons have a stronger effect...
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Understanding the causes of human behavior is essential for advancing one’s interests and for coordinating social relations. The scientific study of how people arrive at such understandings or explanations has unfolded in four distinguishable epochs in psychology, each characterized by a different metaphor that researchers have used to represent ho...
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People evaluate themselves more favorably when they outperform a referent (downward comparison) than when they underperform a referent (upward comparison). However, research has yet to examine whether people are sensitive to the status of the referent during social comparison. That is, does defeating a highly skilled referent yield more favorable s...
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The current studies tested the hypothesis that, despite experiencing high rates of performance failure, athletes maintain positive ability perceptions by basing assessments of their ability on peak, rarely occurring performances rather than on their more typically occurring base rate averages. Findings from two studies support this assertion. Study...
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Evaluation is the one of the most fundamental aspects of human judgment and mental capacity. This chapter tackles the two most notable methods that emphasize the importance of evaluation within the context of ethical affairs. The first view, also known as the culpable-control model, claims that blame and responsibility involves causation, intention...
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That people evaluate themselves more favourably than their average peer on desirable characteristics - the better-than-average effect (BTAE) - is one of the most frequently cited instances of motivated self-enhancement. It has been argued, however, that the BTAE can be rational when the distribution of characteristics is skewed such that most peopl...
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Hypocrisy is a multi-faceted concept that has been studied empirically by psychologists and discussed logically by philosophers. In this study, we pose various behavioral scenarios to research participants and ask them to indicate whether the actor in the scenario behaved hypocritically. We assess many of the components that have been considered to...
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Social self-analysis is the process by which people use comparison information to define and modify their self-concepts or identity images. Self-concepts are beliefs about one's abilities, attitudes, emotions, and behavior tendencies that range from relatively concrete to abstract in a self-knowledge hierarchy. Comparison information includes contr...
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Local comparisons with a few people displace the influence of general comparisons with many people during self-evaluation of performance and ability. The current research examined whether this local dominance effect obtains in the domain of health risk perception, an outcome of critical importance given its direct relation to preventative health be...
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I argue that Dixon et al. fail to maintain a careful distinction between the negative evaluation definition of "prejudice" and the implications of this definition for correcting the social ills that prejudice engenders. I also argue that they adduce little evidence to suggest that if prejudice were diminished, commensurate reductions in discriminat...
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Actions that are intended to produce harmful consequences can fail to achieve their desired effects in numerous ways. We refer to action sequences in which harmful intentions are thwarted as deviant causal chains. The culpable control model of blame (CCM) is a useful tool for predicting and explaining the attributions that observers make of the act...
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Does awareness of female body ideals affect women's global self-esteem? We measured awareness of ideal standards for beauty via two approaches. As one approach, participants (55 undergraduate women) self-reported their general propensity to be aware of society's thin ideal standard. As a second approach, we measured visual attention orienting to id...
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What aspects and features of events impel people to label them as miraculous? Three studies examined people's miracle conceptions and the factors that lead them to designate an event as a miracle. Study 1 identified the basic elements of laypersons' miracle beliefs by instructing participants to define a miracle, to list five events that they consi...
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People desire to maximize the positivity, and minimize the negativity, of their self-views. The tendency to exalt one's virtues and soften one's weaknesses, relative to objective criteria, manifests itself in many domains of human striving. We focus illustratively on three strivings: the self-serving bias (crediting the self for successes but blami...
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People generally evaluate their own attributes and abilities more favorably than those of an average peer. The current study explored whether age moderates this better-than-average effect. We asked young (n = 87), middle-aged (n = 75), and older adults (n = 77) to evaluate themselves and an average peer on a variety of trait and ability dimensions....
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The local dominance effect is the tendency for comparisons with a few, discrete individuals to have a greater influence on self-assessments than comparisons with larger aggregates. This review presents a series of recent studies that demonstrate the local dominance effect. The authors offer two primary explanations for the effect and consider alter...
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The tendency for people to evaluate themselves more favorably than an average-peer--the better-than-average effect (BTAE)--is among the most well-documented effects in the social-psychological literature. The BTAE has been demonstrated in many populations with various methodologies, and several explanations have been advanced for it. Two essential...
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Knobe argues in his target article that asymmetries in intentionality judgments can be explained by the view that concepts such as intentionality are suffused with moral considerations. We believe that the "culpable control" model of blame can account both for Knobe's side effect findings and for findings that do not involve side effects.
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Social comparison information fluctuates over time. We examined how people evaluate their task performance and ability after receiving test feedback specifying not only that they ranked above or below average, but also that their social status was rising, falling, or remaining constant. Participants' self-evaluations were more positive when their s...
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Zell and Alicke (2009) have shown that comparisons with a few people have a stronger influence on self-evaluations than comparisons with larger samples. One explanation for this effect is that people readily categorize their standing in small groups as "good" or "bad," which supersedes large-sample data. To test this explanation, we created a situa...
Chapter
The self-concept—our understanding of our characteristics, preferences, and behavioral tendencies—derives from various sources. These sources include biological predispositions, the culture in which we are reared, and motivationally based needs and desires. However, the factor that transcends all other self-definitional forces is that of social con...
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Social comparisons entail not only information about one's standing in a social group (intragroup or local comparison) but also information about the standing of the group in comparison to other groups (intergroup or general comparison). In Studies 1-3, the authors explored the relative impact of intergroup and intragroup comparisons on self-evalua...
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Blame attributions are influenced by various extralegal factors, although at present there is no compelling evidence to link what may be one of the most pervasive sources of bias in blame judgments—an actor's social attractiveness or likableness—to blame attributions. We conducted 2 studies that varied an actor's social attractiveness and assessed...
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A limitation of most comparative bias studies is that they lack an objective criterion against which to assess the accuracy of self-evaluations. Furthermore, comparisons are usually made with large populations or "average peers" rather than specific others. To assess the robustness of self-enhancement when strong reality constraints are imposed, we...
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We define self-enhancement and self-protection as interests that individuals have in advancing one or more self-domains or defending against negative self-views. We review ways in which people pursue self-enhancement and self-protection, discuss the role of these motivational constructs in scientific explanations, argue for their importance in main...
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Social and temporal comparisons are two fundamental information sources for evaluating one’s characteristics and abilities. The current study demonstrates that when social comparison (where people’s performance stood in the overall distribution) and temporal comparison (whether performance improved or deteriorated over time) information are both pr...
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This chapter discusses what social comparison theorists have to say about envious people and their targets, as well as the situational factors that nurture or discourage envy. It explores the conditions under which social comparisons are most likely to engender envy, as well as the consequences of envious feelings for oneself and their source. It c...
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Many counterfactual reasoning studies assess how people ascribe blame for harmful actions. By itself, the knowledge that a harmful outcome could easily have been avoided does not predict blame. In three studies, the authors showed that an outcome's mutability influences blame and related judgments when it is coupled with a basis for negative evalua...
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Belief perseverance—the tendency to make use of invalidated information—is one of social psychology’s most reliable phenomena. Virtually all of the explanations proffered for the effect, as well as the conditions that delimit it, involve the way people think about or explain the discredited feedback. But it seems reasonable to assume that the impor...
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Knobe and Burra show that people will ascribe internationality to outcomes that an actor had no intention to effect. I describe this ostensibly contradictory effect in terms of outcome bias - the tendency for people to blame actors for the outcomes of their actions, independent of their casual and intentional role in the event. Whereas intention re...
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Although social comparison theory comprises an extensive literature in social psychology, researchers have recently questioned both its importance and pervasiveness as source for self-evaluation. In this paper, I review some of the arguments and data that have been marshaled to make these claims and show that these arguments can be countered by cla...
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Laboratory research on rape has examined how the context of the offense and characteristics of the victim influence responsibility ascriptions. The present research examined the influence of the perpetrator's personality on such attributions. This study distinguished between evaluative (general likability) and descriptive (aggressiveness) component...
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Research on outcome bias has shown that blame attributions for behavioral decisions depend on the decision's consequences. Five studies of American undergraduates (N = 219, N = 83, N = 62, N = 279, and N = 45, respectively) demonstrated robust outcome effects across a variety of circumstances. A manipulation of prior negligence (Study 1), and attem...
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In 5 studies, the authors investigated the effects of comparison with an individual versus comparison with the statistical average on self-evaluations of performance and ability. In Studies 1 and 2, participants took a test of lie detection ability and were provided with the average score and the score of an individual coactor. Both types of feedba...
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Participants in three studies were asked to estimate the percentage of times they exhibited polar ends of a trait dimension (e.g., behaved cooperatively or uncooperatively) when the opportunity to display that trait arose, and then to evaluate their standing on the trait based on their behavioral estimates. Approximately 6 weeks later, participants...
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A culpable control model is advanced to describe the conditions that encourage as well as mitigate blame and to assess the process by which blame and mitigation occur. The fundamental assumptions of the model are that evidence concerning harmful events is scrutinized for its contribution to personal control and spontaneously evaluated for its favor...
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Attitude transference involves transferring an attitude expressed by one person onto other, neutral targets. This attitude transference phenomenon was investigated in five studies using variations of the attitude-attribution paradigm. Participants heard a target express either favorable or unfavorable attitudes on a topic and were subsequently aske...
Chapter
Social comparison is the process by which people establish, maintain, refine, or embellish their self-concepts. The early history of social comparison research emphasized the comparisons people select to evaluate their abilities and opinions (Latane, 1966). In particular, this research assessed whether people preferred to elucidate their performanc...
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People have many ways of protecting themselves against unfavorable social comparisons. Sometimes, however, the unfavorableness of a comparison is too unambiguous to deny. In such circumstances, people may indirectly protect their self-images by exaggerating the ability of those who outperform them. Aggrandizing the outperformer is conceived to be a...
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People have many ways of protecting themselves against unfavorable social comparisons. Sometimes, however, the unfavorableness of a comparison is too unambiguous to deny. In such circumstances, people may indirectly protect their self-images by exaggerating the ability of those who outperform them. Aggrandizing the outperformer is conceived to be a...
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Research on the conditions under which dispositional generalizations are mitigated has been primarily conducted within two experimental paradigms: the attitude attribution and questioner-contestant paradigms. In these situations, a target's behavior is constrained by random assignment. Despite learning that targets were randomly assigned to express...
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The relative preference effect refers to the tendency for people with incompatible ethical views to differ in their evaluations of targets whose ethical decisions agree versus disagree with their own. For example, people who say they would keep a lost wallet ascribe less blame to a target who does the same than do people who say they would return t...
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Research in which people compare themselves with an average peer has consistently shown that people evaluate themselves more favorably than they evaluate others. Seven studies were conducted to demonstrate that the magnitude of this better-than-average effect depends on the level of abstraction in the comparison. These studies showed that people we...
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Full-text available
Research in which people compare themselves with an average peer has consistently shown that people evaluate themselves more favorably than they evaluate others. Seven studies were conducted to demonstrate that the magnitude of this better-than-average effect depends on the level of abstraction in the comparison. These studies showed that people we...
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The "false consensus effect" refers to the tendency to overestimate consensus for one′s attitudes and behaviors. This overestimation may occur because people are biased in viewing their own positions as normative, or simply because they over generalize from case information, with their own positions representing one salient item of case information...
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Rational decision theories and philosophical theories of moral responsibility stipulate that ascriptions of blame for harmdoing should be based on a priori sources of culpability (e.g., intention, motive, foresight, negligence) rather than on a posteriori outcomes that occur subsequent to an actor's behavioral involvement. The five studies reported...
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What judgmental standards guide the evaluation of social conduct? Four studies were designed to show that conduct evaluations are made egocentrically by holding others up to standards of behavior that correspond to peoples estimates of how they would resolve ethical dilemmas. Consistent with this assumption, subjects in Experiment 1 who evaluated t...
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Two studies examined the effect of enacting a social role on perceptions of a partner in a simulated interaction. Subjects were led to believe they were interacting with a partner whom they saw on a TV monitor (which actually showed a videotaped recording). Subjects evaluated the introversion/extraversion of their 'interaction partner. " Those inst...
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"Culpable causation" refers to the influence of the perceived blameworthiness of an action on judgments of its causal impact on a harmful outcome. Four studies were conducted to show that when multiple forces contribute to an unfortunate outcome, people select the most blameworthy act as the prepotent causal factor. In Study 1, an actor was cited m...
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"Culpable causation" refers to the influence of the perceived blameworthiness of an action on judgments of its causal impact on a harmful outcome. Four studies were conducted to show that when multiple forces contribute to an unfortunate outcome, people select the most blameworthy act as the prepotent causal factor. In Study 1, an actor was cited m...
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Complaining is a pervasive and important form of social communication but one whose social communicative functions have yet to be subject to empirical investigation. The present study was the first to examine the role of complaining in everyday social interactions. College students kept diaries of the complaints they made to other people for 3 cons...
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Reviews the book, Causal Attribution: From Cognitive Processes to Collective Beliefs by Miles Hewstone (see record 1990-97601-000 ). This book is an ambitious and largely successful attempt to analyze both attribution theories and social phenomena that have been studied from the attributional perspective. The primary goal of the book is to provide...
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Negative social evaluations for undesirable behavior are usually forestalled if behavior was constrained by personal limitations and incapacities or external coercive pressures. A study was designed to demonstrate that social evaluations are based not only on the degree of constraint that exists in the immediate situation but also on responsibility...
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Two studies were conducted in which decision makers were evaluated by subjects who had agreed or disagreed with the decision maker's choice. Subjects read one of two vignettes describing the alternatives available to the decision maker, indicated which alternative they personally favored, and then learned about the decision maker's choice and the o...
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Positive and negative motives and outcomes were manipulated in a series of short vignettes, along with whether the outcomes of behavior were relatively foreseeable or unforeseeable. Subjects rated the actor's responsibility (praise—blame) for the outcome and for the goodness or badness of the actor's intentions. As expected, main effects were obtai...
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Information about a behavioral event that an observer possesses with certainty, but which an actor has to assess probabilistically (a posteriori information), strongly influences ascriptions of blame and sanction when the actor's behavior produces negative consequences. This finding was obtained in four experiments in which a victim was killed in a...
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This study tested the hypothesis that the efficacy of a person-schema as an information processing structure will depend on the appropriateness of the schema for the information (i.e., how well the schema fits the information). We manipulated schema appropriateness by asking subjects to evaluate a positive or negative target (target valence), while...
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Mill's (1872/1973) method of difference prescribes that the lay scientist should use consensus information as a control condition for the person and distinctiveness information as a control condition for the stimulus when analyzing their causal effects on the occurrence of the target event. However, in studies of information acquisition, subjects h...