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The five pillars of self-enhancement and self-protection

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... Despite several qualitative reviews of the BTAE and related phenomena (Alicke & Govorun, 2005;Chambers & Windschitl, 2004;Moore & Healy, 2008;Sedikides, Gaertner, & Cai, 2015), no quantitative review of the BTAE literature has been published. The lack of major research syntheses on the BTAE is surprising, given its fundamental link to selfrelated theories (Alicke & Sedikides, 2009;Sedikides & Alicke, 2019), and its prominence in social psychology textbooks (Kassin, Fein, & Markus, 2017;Myers & Twenge, 2016). By synthesizing the BTAE literature, this article seeks to provide an up-to-date summary of what is known about the effect, in addition to identifying gaps that may spark future inquiry. ...
... Self-enhancement. Self-enhancement theories propose that people have positively distorted, but not grandiose, perceptions of self across judgment domains, and engage in various strategies to promote or maintain these beliefs (Alicke & Sedikides, 2009;Sedikides & Alicke, 2019). Evidence for self-enhancement has been obtained in many contexts. ...
... Motivational mechanisms. Evidence indicates that people are motivated to perceive themselves favorably and that this desire for positive self-beliefs partly underlies the BTAE (Alicke & Govorun, 2005;Sedikides & Alicke, 2019;. Consistent with the motivational perspective, the BTAE is larger for positive traits and weaker for negative traits that are perceived as controllable (Alicke, 1985), perhaps because people are motivated to attribute their strengths to internal factors (e.g., effort, ability) and their weaknesses to external factors (e.g., fate). ...
Article
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Thesis (M.A.)--University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1984. Includes bibliographical references (leaves [56]-59).
... The notion that the FAB is a healthy coping process/reaction resulting in a positivity bias is congruent with contemporary theories on motivation and emotion, such as the mobilization-minimization hypothesis (Taylor, 1991) and the self-enhancement theory (Sedikides & Alicke, 2018). The mobilization-minimization hypothesis suggests that humans respond to unpleasant and pleasant events asymmetrically, such that they mobilize heavy amounts of physiological, cognitive, emotional, and social resources in reaction to threatening events in the short-term with the goal of minimizing the threat in the long-term. ...
... Alternatively, self-enhancement theory suggests that humans process and interpret events and alter their perceptions of themselves and other individuals with the primary goal of feeling good about themselves. Based on self-enhancement theory (Sedikides & Alicke, 2018), the FAB and the rehearsals that drive it are some of the many mechanisms that enhance individuals' positive selfperceptions. ...
... This model was founded on research showing that anxiety is positively related to negative affect only, whereas depression is positively related to negative affect and negatively related to positive affect (Watson & Clark, 1984;Watson et al., 1988;Watson & Tellegen, 1985 depression, and anxiety) further support the notion that the FAB is a healthy, involuntary coping process/reaction (Ritchie, Walker, et al., 2014; elicited by cognitive rehearsals, which are likely unintentional as well, that lead to short-term mobilization and long-term minimization. Specifically, the FAB is the result of mobilized physiological, cognitive, emotional, and social resources that reduce the sting of unpleasant event emotions in memory over time (Taylor, 1991), which enhances both pleasant-experience seeking (Ritchie, Walker, et al., 2014;) and positive selfperceptions (Sedikides & Alicke, 2018). ...
Article
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Unpleasant affect fades faster than pleasant affect and this Fading Affect Bias (FAB) phenomenon is positively related to healthy outcomes and negatively related to unhealthy outcomes, which makes the FAB a healthy coping process/reaction. Rehearsal seems to be the cognitive mechanism responsible for the FAB. Although the FAB and its relation to healthy outcomes and rehearsal have been examined in many contexts, they have not been evaluated in the realm of politics. Therefore, we evaluated the FAB across event type and we examined the relation of FAB to political leaning (conservatism), unhealthy variables, healthy variables, and rehearsal for the 2016 US Presidential Election. We expected and found that FAB was larger for non‐political events than for election/political events, and conservatism positively predicted FAB. We also expected and found that unhealthy/healthy outcome variables related to FAB in predictable ways. Importantly, we found that negative affect moderated the relation of FAB and conservatism, and rehearsal ratings mediated this 3‐way interaction. The results supported emotion regulation models, such as the mobilization‐minimization hypothesis and self‐enhancement theory.
... Despite several qualitative reviews of the BTAE and related phenomena (Alicke & Govorun, 2005;Chambers & Windschitl, 2004;Moore & Healy, 2008;Sedikides, Gaertner, & Cai, 2015), no quantitative review of the BTAE literature has been published. The lack of major research syntheses on the BTAE is surprising, given its fundamental link to selfrelated theories (Alicke & Sedikides, 2009;Sedikides & Alicke, 2019), and its prominence in social psychology textbooks (Kassin, Fein, & Markus, 2017;Myers & Twenge, 2016). By synthesizing the BTAE literature, this article seeks to provide an up-to-date summary of what is known about the effect, in addition to identifying gaps that may spark future inquiry. ...
... Self-enhancement. Self-enhancement theories propose that people have positively distorted, but not grandiose, perceptions of self across judgment domains, and engage in various strategies to promote or maintain these beliefs (Alicke & Sedikides, 2009;Sedikides & Alicke, 2019). Evidence for self-enhancement has been obtained in many contexts. ...
... Motivational mechanisms. Evidence indicates that people are motivated to perceive themselves favorably and that this desire for positive self-beliefs partly underlies the BTAE (Alicke & Govorun, 2005;Sedikides & Alicke, 2019;. Consistent with the motivational perspective, the BTAE is larger for positive traits and weaker for negative traits that are perceived as controllable (Alicke, 1985), perhaps because people are motivated to attribute their strengths to internal factors (e.g., effort, ability) and their weaknesses to external factors (e.g., fate). ...
Article
Full-text available
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 phenomena, and describe relevant methodological approaches, theories, and psychological mechanisms. Next, we present a comprehensive meta-analysis of BTAE studies, including data from 124 published articles, 291 independent samples, and more than 950,000 participants. Results indicated that the BTAE is robust across studies (dz = 0.78, 95% CI [0.71, 0.84]), with little evidence of publication bias. Further, moderation tests suggested that the BTAE is larger in the case of personality traits than abilities, positive as opposed to negative dimensions, and in studies that (a) use the direct rather than the indirect method, (b) involve many rather than few dimensions, (c) sample European Americans rather than East-Asians (especially for individualistic traits), and (d) counterbalance self and average peer judgments. Finally, the BTAE is moderately associated with self-esteem (r = .34) and life satisfaction (r = .33). Results from selection model analyses clarify areas of the BTAE literature in which publication bias may be of elevated concern. Discussion highlights theoretical and empirical implications. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
... Brown (1997:645) argued that "individuals have a need to maintain a positive sense of self, and they engage in ego-defensive behaviour to preserve self-esteem". From this perspective, Sedikides and Alicke (2018) proposed five pillars that underpin the self-enhancement and selfprotection motives, 1) the self-serving bias (SSB), 2) Better-than-Average Effect (BTAE), 3) ...
... The self-enhancement strategy is used to enhance self-esteem and maintain positive self-view, whereas self-protection strategy is used to protect the self from falling below the social tolerance level and protect from negative self-views (Alicke and Sedikides, 2009). A core premise of this theoretical framework is that individuals need to maintain a positive self-view, particularly in the face of negative life events (Sedikides and Alicke, 2018). Failed entrepreneurs need to psychologically protect themselves from social stigma and enhance their self-identity to cope with failure (Brown, 1997;Dutton and Brown, 1997). ...
... Muslim entrepreneurs use their religious beliefs and interpret failure as follows: They appeal to Allah interceeding to 1) protect from future losses, 2) protect them from missing future opportunity, 3) test one's faith, 4) punish them for bad deeds, and further protect their identity by 5) redefining the meaning of a venture's failure. Moreover, drawing from self-enhancement/protection motive pillars, we maintain that Muslim entrepreneurs' coping strategies mostly rely on the self-serving bias (SSB), better than the average effect (BTAE), and socially desirable respondings (SDR) motives (Sedikides and Alicke, 2018). The study also shows that Islamic institutions afford appropriate cultural-cognitive resources for coping with failure in the entrepreneurial context. ...
Thesis
This thesis researches the influence of Islamic institutions on aspects of the entrepreneurial phenomenon. It draws from institutional theory and social psychology and contributes to the scholarly study of religion and entrepreneurship. It comprises three papers that examine different facets of the entrepreneurial phenomenon in an Islamic institutional context. The first paper affords a critical review of the cognate literature, to unpack the intricacies of the relationship between Islamic institutions and entrepreneurship – typically eclipsed under one-dimensional treatments of the relationship. Focusing on the cognitive pillar, the second paper discusses how Islamic institutions affect the phenomenon of overcoming doubt during the process of entrepreneurial opportunity belief formation. The third paper examines how Muslim entrepreneurs make sense of failure in light of Islamic cognitive institutions. The first paper is conceptual and analyses the literature from the standpoint of institutional theory. The second and third papers are informed from in-depth interviews with 35 Muslim entrepreneurs from Oman. Overall, the thesis demonstrates that religion is an important element of the community fabric that can materially influence entrepreneurial decision-making and sense-making by shedding light on the nuances of the process.
... The malleability of their strengths, coupled with the positive direction of expected change, suggest that young people are optimistic about the continued development of their strengths, in that they will improve rather than decline or remain stable. This optimism enables the individual to protect their beliefs about both their current and future selves and to develop a positive sense of self (Sedikides & Alicke, 2018). In the PE sample, this positive motivational perspective is further enhanced through students having a stronger desire to change their strengths rather than their weaknesses. ...
... It is possible that this greater desire to change a weakness may override the expected effects of the implicit theory and encourage the gymnast to invest effort in improving their weakness. The greater desire for change may work as a self-protective motive to enable the gymnasts to minimise the effects of their less malleable view of their weaknesses on their current and future training practices (Sedikides & Alicke, 2018). The contextual differences in desire to change observed in the present research may be reflective of the educational versus competitive focus of the two contexts. ...
... The need for gymnasts to address their weaknesses in order to be successful may be stronger than for students in the educational PE setting where the consequences of weaknesses may be less important. Consequently, the self-protective motive of desire for change is energised in gymnasts in response to these situational demands and the potential threat of the weakness to the individual's level of performance (Sedikides & Alicke, 2018). ...
Article
We explored motivation, and specifically the motivation to see oneself in a positive light, as an antecedent of implicit theory endorsement in two youth sport contexts. Data from two studies that represent four samples are reported. We provide the first evidence of an antecedent of implicit theories in the physical domain and show that young people's implicit theories may be shaped by motivation and self-enhancement. In both contexts, we found that strengths were viewed as more malleable than their weaknesses, and that these differences disappeared when considering the same attributes in others. Moreover, in one context, we showed that desire to change a perceived weakness may act as a self-protective motive against the potentially negative effects of beliefs about its stability. The current study enhances our understanding of how implicit theories may be shaped in young people through identifying internal factors that promote the endorsement of these important motivational constructs.
... The psychological study of the self in relation to others encompasses a very long and sophisticated history of research on the parallel processes of self-versus other-focus (e.g., Aron et al., 1991;Markus & Kitayama, 1991;Schwartz, 2012;Van Lange et al., 1997). Researchers have conceptualized these complementary phenomena various ways, however, only a few initial studies have begun to address the outcomes of self-enhancement (i.e., thinking favorably of the self; Sedikides & Alicke, 2019) versus the explicit enhancement of others -that is, the mental process of thinking about others' positive qualities. ...
... From a trait perspective, selfenhancement comprises both grandiosity and social desirability (Raskin et al., 1991), and self-enhancers are those who generally have a more favorable view of themselves than they do of others (Alicke et al., 1996;Asendorpf & Ostendorf, 1998;Paulhus, 1998). The inclination to self-enhance is extremely widespread (Reeve, 2014;Sedikides & Alicke, 2019) and classic research goes so far as to suggest that the tendency to see the self in an exceptionally positive light is ubiquitous (Taylor & Brown, 1988) -due in part to its functional benefits for wellbeing and goal pursuit (O'Mara et al., 2012;Schmitt & Allik, 2005). For instance, people are more likely to notice, think about, and remember positive information about themselves, and to lose sight of or forget negative self-related information (Mischel et al., 1976;Sedikides & Alicke, 2019). ...
... The inclination to self-enhance is extremely widespread (Reeve, 2014;Sedikides & Alicke, 2019) and classic research goes so far as to suggest that the tendency to see the self in an exceptionally positive light is ubiquitous (Taylor & Brown, 1988) -due in part to its functional benefits for wellbeing and goal pursuit (O'Mara et al., 2012;Schmitt & Allik, 2005). For instance, people are more likely to notice, think about, and remember positive information about themselves, and to lose sight of or forget negative self-related information (Mischel et al., 1976;Sedikides & Alicke, 2019). Similarly, people consider themselves superior to their peers in various key life domains, including competence, morality, and attractiveness (Alicke & Govorun, 2005). ...
Article
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Some research suggests that self-enhancement is widespread and may exacerbate ingroup favoritism. What if, rather than engaging in self-enhancement, individuals focused on enhancing others? Could enhancing others produce less prejudice than self-enhancement? Three studies tested the effect of self-enhancement versus 'other-enhancement' on prejudice. In Study 1 (N=95), a repeated measures design showed that participants demonstrated less negative affect and less implicit bias after reflecting on another person's positive traits relative to their own. In Study 2 (N=169), we extended this effect to outgroup enhancement. Participants who reflected on an outgroup strength showed less negative affect and less racism than those who reflected on an ingroup strength and those in a comparison condition. Study 3 (N=380) validated these experimental effects by showing that other-enhancement is negatively associated with racism and sexism, whereas self-enhancement is not. Study 3 also examined a theorized antecedent of other-enhancement-humility. We discuss the importance of enhancing others in reducing prejudice.
... The psychological study of the self in relation to others encompasses a very long and sophisticated history of research on the parallel processes of self-versus other-focus (e.g., Aron et al., 1991;Markus & Kitayama, 1991;Schwartz, 2012;Van Lange et al., 1997). Researchers have conceptualized these complementary phenomena various ways, however, only a few initial studies have begun to address the outcomes of self-enhancement (i.e., thinking favorably of the self; Sedikides & Alicke, 2019) versus the explicit enhancement of others -that is, the mental process of thinking about others' positive qualities. ...
... From a trait perspective, selfenhancement comprises both grandiosity and social desirability (Raskin et al., 1991), and self-enhancers are those who generally have a more favorable view of themselves than they do of others (Alicke et al., 1996;Asendorpf & Ostendorf, 1998;Paulhus, 1998). The inclination to self-enhance is extremely widespread (Reeve, 2014;Sedikides & Alicke, 2019) and classic research goes so far as to suggest that the tendency to see the self in an exceptionally positive light is ubiquitous (Taylor & Brown, 1988) -due in part to its functional benefits for wellbeing and goal pursuit (O'Mara et al., 2012;Schmitt & Allik, 2005). For instance, people are more likely to notice, think about, and remember positive information about themselves, and to lose sight of or forget negative self-related information (Mischel et al., 1976;Sedikides & Alicke, 2019). ...
... The inclination to self-enhance is extremely widespread (Reeve, 2014;Sedikides & Alicke, 2019) and classic research goes so far as to suggest that the tendency to see the self in an exceptionally positive light is ubiquitous (Taylor & Brown, 1988) -due in part to its functional benefits for wellbeing and goal pursuit (O'Mara et al., 2012;Schmitt & Allik, 2005). For instance, people are more likely to notice, think about, and remember positive information about themselves, and to lose sight of or forget negative self-related information (Mischel et al., 1976;Sedikides & Alicke, 2019). Similarly, people consider themselves superior to their peers in various key life domains, including competence, morality, and attractiveness (Alicke & Govorun, 2005). ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Some research suggests that self-enhancement is widespread and may exacerbate ingroup favoritism. What if, rather than engaging in self-enhancement, individuals focused on enhancing others? Could enhancing others produce less prejudice than self-enhancement? Three studies tested the effect of self-enhancement versus ‘other-enhancement’ on prejudice. In Study 1 (N=95), a repeated measures design showed that participants demonstrated less negative affect and less implicit bias after reflecting on another person’s positive traits relative to their own. In Study 2 (N=169), we extended this effect to outgroup enhancement. Participants who reflected on an outgroup strength showed less negative affect and less racism than those who reflected on an ingroup strength and those in a comparison condition. Study 3 (N=380) validated these experimental effects by showing that other-enhancement is negatively associated with racism and sexism, whereas self-enhancement is not. Study 3 also examined a theorized antecedent of other-enhancement – humility. We discuss the importance of enhancing others in reducing prejudice.
... This research aims to improve the understanding of how newcomers craft their work and develop insider status perceptions as possible ways to satisfy their self-enhancement needs during socialization. Building on self-enhancement research, which argues that individuals have a basic desire to think favourably of themselves and see their actions in a positive light (Sedikides, 1993;Sedikides & Alicke, 2019;Stephan et al., 2015), we propose that, based on their self-concepts, newcomers adopt individualized socialization tactics in the form of approach-oriented job crafting behaviours -that is, seeking resources that enhance opportunities for development and seeking challenges that create chances for achievement (Petrou et al., 2012) -as self-advancement strategies to ful ll self-enhancement needs during socialization. Approachoriented job crafting has been shown to yield bene cial outcomes for employees at work (for reviews, see, Lichtenthaler & Fischbach, 2019;Rudolph et al., 2017;Wang et al., 2016). ...
... This study contributes to the literature in the following ways. First, we contribute to a better understanding of CSEs in newcomer-driven socialization from a self-enhancement perspective (Sedikides & Alicke, 2019). We propose that as newcomers with higher CSEs have a more positive self-image, they are more strongly driven by self-enhancement motives, which re ect a basic desire to enhance the positivity or decrease the negativity of the self-concept (Sedikides & Strube, 1995). ...
... CSEs are individuals' fundamental self-evaluations of their abilities and control over their lives and include selfassessments of four speci c traits, i.e., self-esteem, general self-e cacy, emotional stability, and locus of control (Judge et al., 1998). Newcomers with high CSEs are likely to perceive a positive self-image, which, based on a self-enhancement perspective (Sedikides & Alicke, 2019), will prompt them to use self-advancement strategies that maintain or enhance such positivity. We propose that job crafting in the form of seeking resources and seeking challenges is a selfadvancement strategy. ...
Article
Full-text available
Building on a self-enhancement perspective (Sedikides & Alicke, 2019), we connect job crafting and organizational socialization research and propose that, based on their core self-evaluations (CSEs), newcomers use job crafting to create a resource-rich and stimulating work environment and construct a sense of organizational insider status during socialization. We hypothesize a reciprocal relationship between job crafting and insider status such that perceptions of insider status motivate newcomers to personalize their work through job crafting, and job crafting improves insider status perceptions. We also propose that leaders’ developmental coaching strengthens the positive effects of CSEs on job crafting and insider status. Survey data were collected from a four-wave sample of 125 newcomers at various organizations in China. The results showed that 1) positive CSEs were associated with more job crafting behaviors as well as higher perceptions of insider status, 2) job crafting and insider status were positively and reciprocally related to one another over time, and 3) leaders’ developmental coaching moderated the positive effect of CSEs on insider status, but not on job crafting, such that the association between CSEs and insider status was positive for higher levels of developmental coaching and non-significant for lower levels of leaders’ developmental coaching. These findings reveal a self-enhancement process during organizational socialization and the important role of leaders’ developmental coaching in such a process.
... This positivity bias is believed to play an important role in helping people maintain psychological wellbeing by enhancing pleasantness in memory . This proposal has strong intuitive appeal, and it is congruent with a variety of theoretical perspectives, such as the mobilization-minimization hypothesis (Taylor, 1991), the broaden-and-build theory (Fredrickson, 1998), and self-enhancement theory (Sedikides & Alicke, 2018). However, relatively little work has directly examined the link between the FAB and psychological distress variables in the form of depression, anxiety, and stress. ...
... From the perspective of self-enhancement theory, the FAB is one of many psychological mechanisms (e.g., mnemic neglect phenomenon) that bias memory processes to amplify individuals' positivity about themselves (Sedikides & Alicke, 2018). ...
... These activated resources also help to retain the healthy benefits brought about by pleasant feelings, which, according to the broaden-and-build theory (Fredrickson, 1998), can enhance the internal resources required to survive, socially engage, and maintain cognitive control. The robust FAB effect in the current study also supports self-enhancement theory in which the FAB is one mechanism that helps people accentuate the importance of pleasant experiences/emotions and downplay the importance of unpleasant experiences/emotions (Sedikides & Alicke, 2018). ...
Article
The fading affect bias (FAB) is defined by unpleasant affect fading faster than pleasant affect. The FAB persists across several cultures and event types, and it is positively related to healthy outcomes and negatively related to unhealthy outcomes. Although the notion of the FAB as a healthy process fits well with contemporary theoretical perspectives, such as self‐enhancement theory, few studies have 1) examined and established reliable relations between the FAB and psychological distress variables, and 2) established overall rehearsal as a mediator of these relations. We examined and found reliable, negative relations between psychological distress and the FAB for combined data from several studies examining different event types. We also examined and showed that overall rehearsal partially mediated these relations. These findings help legitimize the relation of psychological distress and FAB as a reliable scientific phenomenon, show that the FAB results from cognitive mechanisms, and support therapeutic emotional memory reinterpretation.
... Future studies may employ different research designs, such as grounded theory and case study, as well as other stakeholders in organizations to achieve this. Finally, protection motivation has two key motives, self-protection which aims to minimize the negative self-view and self-enhancement (e.g., selective self-memory, social desirable responding, overclaiming) which aims to maximize the positive self-view (Alicke and Sedikides, 2009;Sedikides and Alicke, 2019). Most protection motivation research like our study focuses on self-protection although both motives often operate in tandem (Sedikides and Alicke, 2019). ...
... Most protection motivation research like our study focuses on self-protection although both motives often operate in tandem (Sedikides and Alicke, 2019). Self-enhancement is more likely to be on routine patrol (i.e., looking for self-advancing opportunities) and self-protection is more likely to activate in response to self-threat (Sedikides and Alicke, 2019). Future studies may therefore control for the effect of selfenhancement on protection motivation, especially in survey questionnaires which may provide respondents with an opportunity to self-advance themselves both in terms of threat and coping appraisal. ...
... In social media, the way individuals are perceived within the groups or communities motivates them to reevaluate their presentation during each interaction (Wang & Skovira, 2017). Through self-enhancement, they tend to present themselves according to the most valued characteristics by certain groups (Sedikides & Alicke, 2018), taking advantage of the social media design and emphasizing the desired traits (Paulhus, 1998;Sedikides & Alicke, 2018). The self-awareness process allows individuals to be attentive to their behavior, understand emotions, feelings, and behaviors related to them and the others (Doas, 2017). ...
... In social media, the way individuals are perceived within the groups or communities motivates them to reevaluate their presentation during each interaction (Wang & Skovira, 2017). Through self-enhancement, they tend to present themselves according to the most valued characteristics by certain groups (Sedikides & Alicke, 2018), taking advantage of the social media design and emphasizing the desired traits (Paulhus, 1998;Sedikides & Alicke, 2018). The self-awareness process allows individuals to be attentive to their behavior, understand emotions, feelings, and behaviors related to them and the others (Doas, 2017). ...
Conference Paper
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This paper aims to investigate how a dynamic IT artifact as Social Media influences IT Identity construction. Therefore, it considers the intertwinement of the two broad ways to view identity, internal and external, as stated by Carter (2012). Drawing on identity (Becker, 2003; Goffman, 1959; Tajfel & Turner, 2004) and communication literature (Shannon, 1948; Walther, 2008; Westley & MacLean Jr, 1957) we propose a conceptual model to explain its building process.
... The self-enhancement motive drives people to seek positive feedback, while the self-protection motive motivates them to reject negative feedback or setbacks. Both motives lead to a positive self-view (Madden Dempsey & Madden Dempsey, 2009;Sedikides & Alicke, 2018). However, previous studies have suggested that the BTAE is greater for positive than negative traits, suggesting that the self-enhancement motive is more salient than the self-protection motive (El-Alayli & Wynne, 2015;Lee, 2012;Zell et al., 2019). ...
... Psycho-behavioral characteristics appear key to understanding the psychological mechanisms of the BTAE, and researchers have recently paid particular attention to the absence of a link between the two. Theoretically, the BTAE serves to obtain a positive self-view (Alicke et al., 1995) that is particularly influenced by the domain most important to the individual (Campbell et al., 2002;Gebauer et al., 2013;Sedikides & Alicke, 2018). For example, high self-esteem individuals have been shown to exhibit the BTAE in both the morality and competence domains, whereas, among narcissists, the BTAE appeared only in the competence domain; although morality is not important for narcissists, it is crucial for high self-esteem individuals. ...
Preprint
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People tend to perceive themselves in a positive light. Typically, they believe themselves to be better than average in accordance with the better-than-average effect (BTAE). The BTAE has been examined with respect to social values (morality and competence) and motivations (self-enhancement and self-protection). Moreover, “competence BTAE” was found to be associated with personality traits while “moral BTAE” was not. However, it is not known whether the BTAE in four domains correlate with certain psycho-behavioral characteristics, particularly moral BTAE. In this study, we recruited 667 Japanese participants (302 males; mean age = 25.80 ± 2.80 years) to assess self- and average other-evaluations in four domains. Self-enhancement and self-protective motives were examined using positive and negative adjectives. We further explored the relationship between BTAE and 22 psycho-behavioral characteristics. The results revealed that moral BTAE only existed in the presence of the self-protection motive. A worse-than-average effect was found in the context of both motives for competence. In contrast to the BTAE in the other three domains, which showed correlations with various characteristics, “negative moral BTAE” was not associated with any psycho-behavioral characteristic. Our results demonstrated that moral BTAE existed only in the presence of the self-protection motive and was “uniquely prevalent”, i.e., was not associated with any psycho-behavioral characteristics. Thus, the psychological mechanisms underlying the negative moral BTAE may differ from the other three domains, potentially reflecting different sociocultural dynamics.
... Several other biases are thought to contribute to the bias blind spot. At its core lies a general tendency toward self-enhancement, i.e., the motivation to maintain, pursue, or intensify one's positive selfimage even when indicators such as one's actual performance and other people's opinions suggest otherwise (Sedikides & Alicke, 2018). Self-enhancement drives a variety of selfrelated superiority biases. ...
... Self-enhancement drives a variety of selfrelated superiority biases. Central among these are the better-than-average bias in which people tend to rate themselves higher than the average person (Hoorens, 1993;Alicke et al., 2001) and the self-serving bias where people attribute success to their own abilities and failure to external factors (Sedikides & Alicke, 2018;Hoorens, 1993;Pronin & Kugler, 2007). Other biases such as the introspection illusion and naïve realism can also contribute to the bias blind spot (Pronin, 2009;Pronin & Kugler, 2007;Yan et al., 2016). ...
... The FAB may come about because biological, cognitive, and emotional resources reduce the harmful effects of unpleasant events (Taylor, 1991), which minimizes their importance by putting them in perspective (Ritchie et al., 2014). These same resources may also maintain or enhance positive self-perceptions by emphasizing the importance of pleasant events Sedikides & Alicke, 2018). In other words, the FAB seems to be a general healthy coping outcome/mechanism (e.g., Gibbons et al., 2015) that helps people feel good about themselves (Ritchie et al., 2014). ...
... The results showing rehearsals and false recognitions as moderators of the FAB are in line with arguments about the FAB being a healthy coping response (e.g., Gibbons et al., 2015) that enhances a person's positive perceptions of their events Sedikides & Alicke, 2018) and their selves (Ritchie et al., 2014). Moreover, these findings may identify the cognitive mechanisms that may be mobilized to produce these outcomes in the form of the FAB (Taylor, 1991). ...
Article
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Unpleasant affect fades faster than pleasant affect, and this phenomenon is referred to as the Fading Affect Bias (FAB). The FAB is moderated and mediated by many variables, including rehearsal and memory specificity, and researchers have emphasized the importance of memory for the FAB, but research has not evaluated the link of the FAB to objective memory measures. Using diary methodology across the span of 1 week, the current study examined the relation of event memory to the FAB for 1) social media events in Experiment 1 (n = 30) and 2) social media and non‐social media events with longer titles in Experiment 2 (n = 63) than in Experiment 1. The FAB was negatively predicted by false memories for 1) social media events in Experiment 1 and 2) both social media and non‐social media events in Experiment 2. These relations were mediated by rehearsals in both experiments. Implications are discussed. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... Based on the persistent FAB effects across cultures, Ritchie et al. (2014a) argued that the phenomenon may make life pleasant by reducing unpleasant affect and maintaining pleasant affect, which resonated with the assertions expressed in other FAB studies (Ritchie, Walker, Marsh, Hart, & Skowronski, 2014b;Walker & Skowronski, 2009;Walker et al., 2003b). This argument fits well with emotion regulation theories focused on selfenhancement (Ritchie et al., 2006;Sedikides & Alicke, 2018), which may occur through mobilized resources and minimized unpleasantness (Taylor, 1991). The FAB is an indicator of healthy processing because it positively relates to healthy outcomes, such as self-esteem (Gibbons, Horowitz, & Dunlap, 2017), mature death attitudes (Gibbons, Fehr, Brantley, Wilson, & Walker, 2016), as well as positive religious coping and spirituality (Gibbons, Hartzler, Hartzler, Lee, & Walker, 2015). ...
... The FAB has been argued to make life pleasant by reducing unpleasant affect and maintaining pleasant affect (Ritchie et al., 2014a(Ritchie et al., , 2014b, which is congruent with emotion regulation theories that emphasize enhancement of the self (Sedikides & Alicke, 2018). Therefore, the findings in the current study suggest that the elderly employ these strategies more effectively than young adults (e.g., Carstensen, 2006;Reed & Carstensen, 2012). ...
Article
The faster fading of unpleasant affect than pleasant affect is known as the Fading Affect Bias (FAB). The FAB generalizes across cultures and event types, it is positively related to rehearsals and healthy outcomes, and it is negatively related to unhealthy outcomes. Experiment 1 Objective, Sample/Population, and Method: We examined the importance of different rehearsal types for the FAB across self-defining and everyday events in 58 college age participants using a self-guided questionnaire procedure in Experiment 1. Experiment 1 Results: We found robust FAB effects across event types, FAB increased with both event age and event sharing (number of people), and rehearsals mediated these relations. Moreover, event sharing and talking about the event combined to predict the FAB. Objective, Sample/Population, and Method: In Experiment 2, we used the self-guided questionnaire procedure from Experiment 1 for 31 college students and 12 elderly participants 68 to 84 years old, as well as an interview procedure with 13 elderly participants 68 to 94 years old. Experiment 2 Results: We combined the elderly data because both groups showed similar FAB patterns. We found robust FAB effects across both event types, the FAB increased with event age and participant age, and it increased with talking rehearsals. Conclusions: The results extend the FAB to self-defining events and the elderly, they emphasize the importance of various rehearsal types, and they are in line with FAB research, age research, and research on several emotion regulation models.
... These results support the mobilization-minimization hypothesis, which suggests that biological, cognitive, and emotional resources are galvanized to reduce the harmful effects of unpleasant circumstances [23]. The FAB phenomenon persists across a variety of cultures, and it may help people seek pleasant experiences, avoid unpleasant ones [24], and put the unpleasant experiences in perspective [25], which enhances self-perceptions and regulates emotions [15,26]. In other words, the FAB seems to be a general healthy coping outcome that helps people feel good about themselves. ...
... The FAB is a form of general healthy coping because it is properly connected to healthy/unhealthy variables. Moreover, the FAB is a form of emotion regulation because it makes people feel good about their experiences, which enhances their perceptions of themselves [15], supporting self-enhancement theories (e.g., [26]). ...
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The Fading Affect Bias (FAB) is the faster fading of unpleasant affect than pleasant affect. Research suggests that the FAB is an indicator of general healthy coping, but it has not shown consistent specific healthy coping via differential relations of the FAB to individual differences across event types. Although previous research did not find specific healthy coping for the FAB across romantic relationship events, these researchers did not include non-relationship control events. Therefore, we examined the relation of the FAB to various relationship variables across romantic relationship events and non-relationship control events. We found general healthy coping in the form of robust FAB effects across both event types and expected relations between relationship variables and the FAB. We also found three significant three-way interactions with the FAB showing specific healthy coping for partner-esteem, which is novel for the FAB. Rehearsal ratings mediated all the three-way interactions.
... enhancement (Sedikides & Alicke, 2018). As rehearsal is positively related to the FAB and it mediates complex FAB effects across different event types, it may mediate complex FAB effects in the context of videogames, which produce both pleasant emotions (Russoniello et al., 2009) and unpleasant emotions (Funk et al., 2006). ...
... In combination with the robust general FAB effect and the weak FAB for videogame events in the current study, these results support arguments suggesting that the FAB enhances pleasant perceptions in memory Walker, Skowronski, & Thompson, et al., 2003b). Such a positivity bias fits well with current emotion regulation theories involving self-enhancement (Sedikides & Alicke, 2018). Self-enhancement may involve the activation and enlistment of mental, emotional, and physical resources that reduce the unwanted emotional effects of unpleasant events (mobilization-minimization hypothesis by Taylor, 1991) and/or broadened action plans and enhance internal resources (i.e., the broaden-and-build theory by Fredrickson, 1998). ...
Article
The Fading Affect Bias (FAB) is faster fading of unpleasant affect than pleasant affect. The FAB is negatively related to unhealthy outcomes and positively related to healthy outcomes. As videogames elicit strong emotions in players, we used retrospective methodology to examine the relation of the FAB to healthy and unhealthy variables for videogame and non-videogame events. We found robust FAB effects that were negatively related to unhealthy variables, which supported contemporary emotion regulation theories. Furthermore, the FAB was larger for non-videogame events than for videogame events, and frequent videogame play related to low FAB for videogame events; these results connected videogame play with poor emotion regulation. Unexpectedly, high levels of both gaming addiction and depression yielded high FAB. The complex FAB effects and the fact that rehearsal mediated them replicated past FAB findings across various events, and they extended these results to the context of videogames.
... Based on the persistent FAB effects across cultures [7], Ritchie et al. [7] argued that it may make life pleasant by reducing unpleasant affect and maintaining pleasant affect; these arguments resonated with the contentions already expressed in the FAB literature [17]. These arguments also fit well with emotion regulation theories focused on self-enhancement [18], which may occur through mobilized resources and minimized unpleasantness [19]. ...
... Specifically, once someone encounters an emotional experience, their body activates its resources (e.g., the release of endorphins and serotonin, as well as the decrease of epinephrine and cortisol) to diminish unpleasant experiences and heighten pleasant ones. These findings also fit well with work on the FAB suggesting that the phenomenon is an outcome of self-enhancement strategies that make life pleasant by increasing the pleasantness of past events [88,18]. Therefore, the emotionregulating and self-enhancing effect that is the FAB pervades, and yet differs, across the different religious affiliations. ...
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The fading affect bias (FAB) is a robust phenomenon where unpleasant affect fades faster than pleasant affect. The FAB is believed to be coping mechanism designed to make life appear pleasant in the face of hardships and adversities. The FAB persists across several cultures and many event types (e.g., alcohol, religious, and death), even though low FAB has been demonstrated for social media events, videogame events, and events labeled as religious, but not spiritual. Although religion is also believed to make life more satisfying by providing existential meaning and social connectedness for their followers, research to date, has not examined religious differences in the FAB. Therefore, we examined the FAB using 2 measures of fading affect across participants’ self-reported religious affiliations and we found robust FAB effects for all categories except for an extremely small sample of Islamic followers. The FAB effects were strongest for Jewish and Buddhist affiliations and they were weakest for participants who did not report a well-known religious affiliation. The findings extend the literature on the FAB to religious belief systems. Future research should replicate the current study, examine the FAB for larger samples of Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and Jews, and test explanations for differential FAB effects across religious affiliations.
... Much research has been dedicated to finding boundary conditions and explanations for the effect (for reviews, see Alicke & Govorun, 2005;Chambers & Windschitl, 2004;Moore & Healy, 2008;Sedikides & Alicke, 2012, 2019Sedikides & Gregg, 2008;Zell et al., 2019). Yet, to the best of our knowledge, no direct replications exist of the original finding by Svenson (1981). ...
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The better-than-average effect refers to the tendency to rate oneself as better than the average person on desirable traits and skills. In a classic study, Svenson (1981) asked participants to rate their driving safety and skill compared to other participants in the experiment. Results showed that the majority of participants rated themselves as far above the median, despite the statistical impossibility of more than 50% of participants being above the median. We report a preregistered, well-powered (total N = 1,203), very close replication and extension of the Svenson (1981) study. Our results indicate that the majority of participants rated their driving skill and safety as above average. We added different response scales as an extension and findings were stable across all three measures. Thus, our findings are consistent with the original findings by Svenson (1981). Materials, data, and code are available at https://osf.io/fxpwb/.
... These considerations can also be linked to theoretical and empirical research on self-enhancement. Research suggests that comparisons can be driven by the motive for self-enhancement(Wood, 1989;Helgeson and Mickelson, 1995;Sedikides and Gregg, 2008;Hepper and Sedikides, 2012;Sedikides and Alicke, 2020). ...
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Outstandingly prosocial individuals may not always be valued and admired, but sometimes depreciated and rejected. While prior research has mainly focused on devaluation of highly competent or successful individuals, comparable research in the domain of prosociality is scarce. The present research suggests two mechanisms why devaluation of extreme prosocial individuals may occur: they may (a) constitute very high comparison standards for observers, and may (b) be perceived as communal narcissists. Two experiments test these assumptions. We confronted participants with an extreme prosocial or an ordinary control target and manipulated comparative aspects of the situation (salient vs. non-salient comparison, Experiment 1), and narcissistic aspects of the target (showing off vs. being modest, Experiment 2). Consistent with our assumptions, the extreme prosocial target was liked less than the control target, and even more so when the comparison situation was salient (Experiment 1), and when the target showed off with her good deeds (Experiment 2). Implications that prosociality does not always breed more liking are discussed.
... Traits, such as selfprotection, are activated when a situation is relevant to the trait (Campbell & Sedikides, 1999;Lenton et al., 2013;Tett & Guterman, 2000). A transgression only threatens the positivity of the self when the transgression pertains to the self, but not when the transgression pertains to someone else (Gebauer et al., 2013;Sedikides & Alicke, 2019;Sedikides et al., 2016). Hence, in the former, trait self-protection is relevant to the situation, and should predict willingness to apologize, whereas, in the latter, trait selfprotection is irrelevant to the situation, and should not predict willingness to apologize. ...
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Although apologies are effective at promoting reconciliation, perpetrators often choose not to apologize because doing so can be threatening to the self. We hypothesized that dispositional self-protection would be negatively associated with willingness to apologize, but only when the transgression pertained to the self rather than another person. Only in that case would self-positivity be threatened, thereby activating the self-protection motive. In addition, we hypothesized that the negative association between self-protection and willingness to apologize for self-referent offenses would be serially mediated by responsibility-taking and guilt. This would be so because perpetrators can self-protect by lowering their felt responsibility and, in turn, reduce guilt for the transgression. The results were consistent with the hypotheses. We discuss implications of this motivational account for unwillingness to apologize.
... The awareness of naïve realism can involve some motivational aspects that directly affect people's identity. People generally have a tendency for self-enhancement as a strategy to preserve their self-esteem (see Sedikides & Alicke, 2019). In Study 3, we tried to explore this motivational process as a mechanism to explain the effect of the manipulation on intercultural attitudes. ...
Article
Acceptance of cultural differences can contribute to diversity. However, naïve realism-the conviction that one's views are objective whereas others' are biased-might hinder intercultural coexistence. We tested, in three experimental studies, whether a cognitive strategy based on raising awareness of the naïve realism, without any reference to culture and free of emotional involvement, can have a beneficial effect on cultural acceptance. Results revealed that participants showed more acceptance of cultural differences once they were aware of this bias (Study 1). The intervention had an indirect effect on acceptance via openness, especially for participants higher in prejudice (Study 2). Participants aware of this bias could not maintain an enhanced self-view, which mediated the effect of the manipulation on acceptance (Study 3). These findings suggest that strategies based on "cold" cognition, without an explicit emphasis on culture, might be beneficial for increasing the acceptance of cultural differences in an era of xenophobia.
... The BTAE is "the tendency for people to perceive their abilities, attributes, and personality traits as superior compared with their average peer" (Zell et al., 2020, p. 118). The BTAE, an indicator of selfenhancement (having unrealistically positive self-views; Dufner et al., 2019;Sedikides & Alicke, 2012), is particularly strong in personallyimportant domains (Alicke, 1985;Sedikides & Alicke, 2019). As an indicator of self-enhancement, the BTAE should be pronounced among dispositionally high self-enhancers, grandiose narcissists-and generally it is (Grijalva & Zhang, 2016;Sedikides & Campbell, 2017). ...
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People believe that they would disobey immoral authority in the Milgram experiment. We asked whether high (vs. low) communal and agentic narcissists would manifest a more pronounced better-than-average effect (BTAE) in their predicted disobedience. Participants (N = 348) estimated the moment at which they and the average peer would quit the Milgram experiment. High communal narcissists claimed that they would disobey the immoral authority and quit the experiment earlier (positively predicting the BTAE), whereas high agentic narcissists claimed that they, as well as an average other, would obey longer (negatively predicting the BTAE). Differences in the impression management component of socially desirable responding played a role in these links.
... Another selfefficacy practice is self-enhancement, which added to the earlier research by Bandura (2006). It is defined as the motive to preserve, pursue, or amplify the positivity of one's self-protection or selfviews as the motive to avoid, restore, or lessen the negativity of one's self-views (Sedikides & Alicke, 2018). 'Self-Enhancement' is associated with 'improvement' and 'self-control', which is a property of the self-efficacy practiced by the learners when performing oral presentations. ...
... SSB can be defined as the proclivity to attribute positive personal outcomes to oneself and negative personal outcomes to situational or external causes so as to protect one's self-concept (Campbell & Sedikides, 1999;Heider, 1958;Taylor & Brown, 1988). SSB is considered to be an adaptive heuristic of judgemental evaluations (Mezulis et al., 2004;Sedikides & Alicke, 2019;Shepperd et al., 2008). Still, in the context of therapeutic relationships, self-serving attributions on the part of the therapist are likely to hinder acknowledgement and remedy of problems, which consequently may encourage clients to prematurely terminate the relationship due to dissatisfaction with services (Manfred-Gilham et al., 2002). ...
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In an often-cited study, Murdock et al. (2010) found that therapists are more likely to attribute premature treatment termination to client characteristics than to themselves, a finding that the authors interpreted in terms of a self-serving bias (SSB). We replicated and extended the study of Murdock et al. (2010, study 2). Psychologists and psychotherapists (N = 91) read two case vignettes about premature treatment terminations of clients that, in a between-subjects set-up, were either described as own clients or other therapists' clients. Next, participants used three attribution subscales (blaming therapist, client and situation) to evaluate potential causes for the premature terminations. This way, we tested whether participants would manifest SSB. We also investigated whether therapists' scores on self-confidence and need for closure were linked to SSB tendencies. Unlike Murdock et al. (2010), we found no overall SSB. However, a stronger need for closure was related to more SSB tendencies (i.e., less endorsement of ‘blame therapist’ attributions) in the own-client condition (r = −.35, p < .05, r2 = .12), but not in the other-therapist's-client condition (r = .17, p = .27). Our results suggest that SSB is not a ubiquitous phenomenon when therapists evaluate premature termination problems and that their willingness to attend to their own role depends to some extent on their need for closure.
... This motive is known as selfenhancement and works to nourish one's self-regard (Sedikides & Gregg, 2008). One of several self-evaluation motives (Sedikides & Strube, 1997), self-enhancement has received wide attention in the social/personality, clinical, developmental, and neuroscience literatures (Alicke & Sedikides, 2011), as well as in the education (Liem & McInerney, 2018), sports science ( Matosic et al., 2017), and organizational behavior (Ferris, Johnson, & Sedikides, 2018) literatures. A key reason for this attention is the psychosocial benefits to which the motive conduces such as well-being, goal pursuit, leadership selection, and sexual selection (Sedikides, 2018). ...
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Self-enhancement, the motive to view oneself in positive light, and its manifestations have received wide attention in behavioral sciences. The self-enhancement manifestations vary on a continuum from a subjective level (agentic narcissism, communal narcissism, narcissistic grandiosity) through an intermediate level (better-than-average judgments) to an objective level (overclaiming one’s knowledge). Prior research has established the heritability of self-enhancement manifestations at the subjective and intermediate levels. The present twin study demonstrated that (1) the objective level of self-enhancement manifestation is also heritable; (2) a common core, which is moderately heritable, underlies the three levels of self-enhancement manifestations; (3) the relation between self-enhancement (manifested at all three levels) and psychological well-being is partly heritable; and (4) environmental influences, either shared by or unique to family members, are evident through (1), (2), and (3). The findings deepen understanding of the etiology of individual differences in self-enhancement and their links to psychological well-being.
... The findings imply that allocentric goals can sometimes affect psychological processes underlying self-enhancement. Self-enhancement has been considered an unalterable primary motive for all human behavior (Dufner et al., 2019;Hepper et al., 2013;Sedikides & Alicke, 2019). Consistent with research on prosocial behavior, however, findings of this study suggest that people have motives not only concerning themselves but also with respect to others. ...
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During the first outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), many people expressed hatred toward others whom they believed were responsible for the situation. Such increase in negative affect could be resultant of the better-than-average effect (BTAE), which refers to the phenomenon of believing that one is superior to average others. This study investigated the relationship between the BTAE and emotional valence toward others and tested whether the relationship was moderated by allocentric goals (i.e., concerned with the interests of others rather than themselves) and culture. Participants from the U.S. (N = 210) and South Korea (N = 214) were asked about their perceptions on whether they were better than others at preventing the COVID-19 infection, how they felt about others regarding COVID-19, and for whom they were preventing COVID-19. The results indicated that people showing more BTAE in relation to preventing the COVID-19 infection reported more negative emotional valence toward others, but the relationship was moderated by allocentric goals. In particular, the U.S. participants with higher allocentric goals reported less negatively valenced emotions, while the same was not found in Korean participants. The findings suggest the power of allocentric goals in diminishing the BTAE in some cultures, which may possibly explain the negative emotions some people experience when following social distancing rules.
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We investigated the links between grandiose narcissism (agentic and communal) and social motives (social egosystem vs. social ecosystem). In Study 1, agentic narcissism was positively associated with egosystem (self-serving) motives, and was negatively associated with ecosystem (prosocial) motives, as assessed by explicit and more behavioral means. The pattern for communal narcissism was more complex, and depended on mode of assessment. Striving for egosystem (vs. ecosystem) goals interacted with longitudinal goal-attainment to predict increases in agentic narcissism over a 30-day period. Study 2 replicated this interaction pattern in a longitudinal experiment, which randomly assigned participants to pursue either egosystem or ecosystem goals during one semester. Study 2 also showed that assigned egosystem goals are generally less self-concordant and less well-attained than assigned ecosystem goals, that egosystem goals are more self-concordant for those initially higher in both forms of narcissism, and that agentic narcissism predicts increased thwarting of others’ needs over time, whereas communal narcissism predicts reduced supporting of others’ needs. We conclude that grandiose narcissism is associated with social goals that can maintain or even further augment narcissism.
Chapter
This final chapter reflects on the rich contributions within this Handbook of Motivation on diverse topics including self-regulation, biological mechanisms, awareness, defensiveness, and oppression, and the facilitation of engagement, learning, and behavior change. These processes are examined within broad theoretical frameworks, as well as in specific domains such as close relationships, physical activity, work, education, and psychotherapy. Building on these contributions, the chapter projects forward in time to ask the question of whether future scientists and practitioners will think these authors from the 21st century were asking the right questions. The chapter includes speculation on how developments in technology, research methodologies, big data, and globalization, among other trends, will reshape the science of motivation not only in its focus and efficacy, but also in its ethics and applications to the formidable problems likely to be faced by our species on a warming and crowded planet.
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This study is the first to examine how Islamists in different phases of radicalization perceive media influence. Based on interviews with 34 Islamist prisoners and 9 former Islamists, we found that radicalized individuals perceived themselves as being immune to influence by the news media, which they generally perceived as being hostile. In contrast, they believed that the media had a relatively strong effect on the general public, on political and media elites, and on judges and prison officials. Strong third-person effects can thus be interpreted as a symptom within a larger syndrome of radicalization. According to participants, these perceptions of media influence were intertwined with their exposure to propaganda that blamed the media for the societal rejection of their ingroup. Future research should therefore investigate the use of strategic communications attacking the mainstream media as both a cause and consequence of individuals’ media influence perceptions.
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Self-enhancement, the motive to view oneself in positive light, and its manifestations have received wide attention in behavioral sciences. The self-enhancement manifestations vary on a continuum from a subjective level (agentic narcissism, communal narcissism, narcissistic grandiosity) through an intermediate level (better-than-average judgments) to an objective level (overclaiming one’s knowledge). Prior research has established the heritability of self-enhancement manifestations at the subjective and intermediate levels. The present twin study demonstrated that (1) the objective level of self-enhancement manifestation is also heritable, (2) a common core, which is moderately heritable, underlies the three levels of self-enhancement manifestations, (3) the relation between self-enhancement (manifested at all three levels) and psychological wellbeing is partly heritable, and (4) environmental influences, either shared by or unique to family members, are evident through (1), (2), and (3). The findings deepen understanding of the etiology of individual differences in self-enhancement and their links to psychological wellbeing. <br/
Article
In three studies, this research found evidence for self-serving tendencies and a self–other asymmetry in the way people ascribe meaning to past behavior: Participants saw their past good deeds as more revealing of their present self than their past bad deeds (Studies 1–2), and they made infer-ences about their present personality from positive past behaviors, but not from negative ones (Study 3). In contrast, participants perceived the past behavior of others as diagnostic of their present personality (Study 2), and they made inferences about others’ present traits from that behavior (Study 3), regardless of whether it was positive or negative. In support of a moti-vational account, we also found evidence for moderated mediation of our effect (Study 2), such that the valence effect on ascribing meaning to the past was mediated by desirability only when self-relevance was high (i.e., for the self), not when it was low (i.e., for others). Implications of this self–other asymmetry are discussed.
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Observers dislike explicit self-superiority claimants (asserting they are superior to others) relative to implicit self-superiority claimants (asserting they are good). The hubris hypothesis provides an explanation: Observers infer from an explicit (but not implicit) claim that the claimant views others, and therefore the observers, negatively. We provided a novel test of the hubris hypothesis by manipulating the claim’s relevance to the observers’ identity. A self-superiority claim may imply a particularly negative view of observers, if an ingroup claimant compares the self to the ingroup. We predicted that (1) observers would particularly dislike an explicit (vs. implicit) ingroup claimant, who compared the self to their ingroup, and (2) observers’ dislike for an explicit ingroup claimant would be due to the inference that the claimant held a negative view of them. Two experiments, involving minimal (N = 100) and natural (N = 114) groups, supported the predictions.
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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 desired self-views. We argue that preserving psychological homeostasis (i.e., emotional equilibrium) is as important as preserving biological homeostasis, and indeed, that psychological and biological homeostasis are two aspects of one overarching balancing principle. We argue further that, although maintaining a favorable identity can sometimes lead to errors from normative models, the bias toward sustaining psychological homeostasis is just as adaptive as the bias toward sustaining a properly functioning physiology.
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Internet of Things (IoT) is an emerging trend referring to an interconnected network of ubiquitous intelligence. It is a revolution for Internet, computing and communication. Further extensions of IoT, Social Internet of Things (SIoT) provides a platform for people posting messages and photos, sharing knowledge, and connecting with each other. It is effective and efficient for people to manage their interpersonal relations through SIoT, but produces stress and tension issue coincidentally. Therefore, this study explores how users share knowledge through assessment and response under stress cognition. Three demand appraisals and three coping strategies are proposed to discuss user’s behaviour on knowledge sharing, and Smart-PLS is used to test the conceptual framework. Results show that self-protection, anxiety, and avoidance increase when members of the community are threatened or injured. Nevertheless, members with high self-efficacy could reduce anxiety production and improve self-protection. Consequently, the purpose of knowledge sharing is achieved. This study discusses users’ psychological perspectives when participating in the SIoT. It provides a better understanding of the human activities on the Internet through the SIot. Meanwhile, further prediction of users’ behavior of knowledge sharing provides benefits and opportunities for businesses to establish their marketing strategy.
Chapter
Self-esteem refers to a person's evaluation of their own worth. The best-known form is global self-esteem: general, dispositional, and consciously accessible self-evaluation. Psychologists have argued that self-esteem is important because it signals how well accepted or culturally valued one is. Accordingly, people are motivated to seek and maintain high self-esteem using diverse strategies. Most people have relatively high self-esteem, although levels vary across the life span and depend on experiences of interpersonal acceptance. Although self-esteem was long assumed to dictate many life outcomes, the evidence is mixed: self-esteem level influences interpersonal relationships, well-being and some psychopathologies, but not other outcomes. For several outcomes, self-esteem fragility or narcissism are more relevant than self-esteem level. Understanding the complexities of self-esteem can be valuable for informing clinical treatment.
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We addressed explanations for why prisoners manifest the Better-Than-Average Effect (perceptions of superiority to the average peer), focusing on three biases: self-enhancing (social as well as temporal) comparisons, denial, and self-serving attributions. We tested the Better-Than-Average Effect in regards to prisoners’ perceptions of their worst trait, and assessed the relationship between the three biases and positive self-evaluations. Prisoners engaged in self-enhancing comparisons, differentiating themselves from other prisoners and their past selves who committed the crime, but also expected self-improvement in the future. Prisoners also demonstrated denial for intentions to commit the crime, planning of it, recidivism, and over-estimation of crime prevalence in the general population. Although prisoners made self-serving attributions by distancing their own character from their criminal behavior and reporting they had experienced more hardship relative to others, they did not attribute the cause of their crime to such hardship. More extensive self-enhancing temporal comparisons and denial predicted more positive self-evaluations of prisoners’ worst trait relative to the average community member. The strength of some of these biases varied with levels of narcissism and psychopathy.
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 posits that the influence of the self on social thought is contingent on both the content of the self-concept and the motives that work to maintain or increase the positivity of the self-concept. Two primary motives are self-enhancement and self-protection. The model further asserts that during social thought these motives affect, and are affected by, various cognitive processes and structures. Different chapter sections demonstrate that the Egocentric Tactician Model is empirically grounded, has a broad explanatory scope, is generative, and differs from other models in describing how the self affects social thought.
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This study explores how Jews in Germany perceive news coverage and its influence on third persons. Against the background of social identity theory, 29 semi-structured interviews with Jews demonstrated that they perceived sensationalist reports on antisemitism, overinsistent links to the Holocaust, the equation of Jews and Israel, and stereotypical portrayals of Jewish life. Such reports led participants to believe that non-Jews perceived Jews as strangers in society. Our findings underline the importance of nonstereotyped reporting on minorities and suggest that individuals’ contemplation about media coverage and its influence on society may be interpreted as a consequence of social identity threats.
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Increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks often systematically target organizational insiders. Their motivation for self-protection has therefore an important role in cybersecurity of organizations. Protection motivation studies in information security literature are largely based on the protection motivation theory (PMT) without proper adaptation to the organizational context. Additionally, only few studies consider the role of fear in protection motivation although PMT itself is based on fear appeals. This paper aims to revise PMT to better fit the organizational context of organizational insiders. A survey was conducted among academics (N = 255) at six Slovenian universities to reexamine threat appraisals of organizational insiders, and the mediating and moderating roles of fear of cyberattacks in protection motivation. CB-SEM analysis of survey data supports the distinction between appraisals of threats to the individual and to the organization. It also supports differentiating between perceived threats and fear of cyberattacks. Although we did not find support for the mediating role of fear of cyberattacks, perceived threats may mediate the association between perceived severity and vulnerability, and protection motivation. Only perceived vulnerability of the individual and perceived severity of consequences for the organization affect perceived threats. Perceived threats and measure efficacy influence protection motivation. Fear of cyberattacks dampens the positive relationship between self-efficacy and protection motivation. Self-efficacy influences protection motivation only when fear of cyberattacks is low. Interventions aiming to increase protection motivation need to focus on raising the perceived vulnerability of individuals, emphasizing the consequences for the organization, and increasing the efficacy of self-protective measures. Interventions aiming to improve self-efficacy may be effective only when there is low fear of cyberattacks and can be avoided when high fear of cyberattacks is expected.
Chapter
It is a widely held view that “nobody knows you better than yourself.” However, the low validity of self-estimates of intelligence and other abilities indicated by a considerable body of research does not support this notion. Individuals overestimate themselves and do so particularly for domains in which they perform poorly (the so-called Dunning-Kruger effect). Interestingly, intelligence estimates given by others are equally accurate or sometimes even more accurate than self-estimates. This chapter provides an overview of research on self- and other-estimates of intelligence and potential moderators of their accuracy. It also aims to bring the research lines on self- and other-estimates of intelligence together within the framework of the self-other knowledge asymmetry (SOKA) model proposed by Simine Vazire. The ability to predict for which intelligence subfactors one of the two perspectives might provide more accurate estimates has implications for both research and practical fields like vocational counseling.
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A prior meta‐analysis yielded a positive relation between self‐enhancement and psychological health. This article presents the first meta‐analysis of the association between self‐enhancement and physical health (k = 87; N = 22,415). The meta‐analysis relied predominantly on social desirability as an operationalization of self‐enhancement and secondarily on comparative judgement and narcissism. Further, the meta‐analysis operationalized physical health in terms of self‐rated health, symptoms and biomarkers. Overall, self‐enhancement yielded a near‐zero association with physical health, r = .01. However, this association was more pronounced for comparative judgement (r = .18, k = 6) than social desirability (r = .03, k = 41) or narcissism (r = −.0001, k = 8), and for self‐rated health (r = .09, k = 9) than symptoms (r = .01, k = 29) or biomarkers (r = −.13, k = 17). The association between self‐enhancement and physical health fluctuates across measures of both constructs calling for more focussed and nuanced investigations.
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People are known to evaluate science based on whether it (dis)affirms their collective identities. We examined whether personal identity concerns also bias evaluation processes by manipulating the degree to which summaries of ostensible scientific research about an unfamiliar topic manipulating whether summaries were or inconsistent with how participants thought about themselves. In three preregistered experiments ( N = 644) conducted across two continents, participants were more likely to believe the science when its conclusions aligned with prior understanding of their self, effects that were mediated through positive emotional reactions. Two of the experiments also tested a de-biasing intervention: prior to evaluating science, participants received a brief tutorial on the ecological fallacy (of which, self-related biases represent a special case). The tutorial did not mitigate identity-biased evaluations. This experimental evidence raises questions about whether it is possible to engage global citizens more fully in science consumption while not further triggering identity-based biasing processes.
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The better-than-average effect refers to the tendency to rate oneself as better than the average person on desirable traits and skills. In a classic study, Svenson (1981) asked participants to rate their driving safety and skill compared to other participants in the experiment. Results showed that the majority of participants rated themselves as far above the median, despite the statistical impossibility of more than 50% of participants being above the median. We report a preregistered, well-powered (total N = 1,203), very close replication and extension of the Svenson (1981) study. Our results indicate that the majority of participants rated their driving skill and safety as above average. We added different response scales as an extension and findings were stable across all three measures. Thus, our findings are consistent with the original findings by Svenson (1981). Materials, data, and code are available at https://osf.io/fxpwb/.
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Introduction Depression is one of the most important health problems in nurses. Despite the obvious protective role of some human abilities against psychological problems, there is limited information about the predictive role of self-compassion and resilience with depression in nurses. The purpose of present study was to determine the relationship of self-compassion and resilience with nurses’ depression. Method This descriptive correlational study was conducted on170 nurses working in Yazd Afshar Hospital selected by convenience sampling method. Data collection tool was a questionnaire, including demographic characteristics, Beck Depression, Neff Self-compassion, and Connor and Davidson resilience completed through self-report. The data were analyzed by SPSS using Pearson correlation coefficient and multiple regression analysis. Results Most of the subjects were female (62.35%) and had bachelor’s degree. Mean ± standard deviation of depression, self- compassion, and resilience scores were72/17 ±28/8; 65/31±46/1; 65/33 ±06/1, respectively. There was a significant relationship between depression and self-compassion, as well as depression and resilience. Furthermore, multiple regression analyses showed that self-compassion and resilience can predict depression (R=0.627). Conclusion The results indicated the importance and protective role of self-compassion and resilience against depression in nurses. Therefore, designing counseling systems and self-compassion and resilience educational programs are recommended to reduce the problems caused by the stressful conditions of the profession.
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Self-protection and self-enhancement, once depicted as biases that impede accurate self-knowledge and hinder effective environmental control, have more recently been viewed as misbeliefs that can have fortuitous, adaptive consequences. I take the next step forward by construing identity protection and enhancement mechanisms as part of a routine, adaptive system. Whereas biological homeostasis regulates physiological processes, psychological homeostasis regulates the emotional states that threaten a desired identity. Ι elaborate on the nature of psychological homeostasis, the identity system that it modulates, and the immune system that safeguards it from harm. Ι discuss the construction of self-views and narratives in the ordinary stream of mental activity, as well as reparative responses to contemporaneous threats, similar to the immune system’s response to microbes that breach the body’s initial defenses. Using basic immunological principles, Ι distinguish between innate and adaptive psychological immunity, compare the spread of disease to that of threatening information among related self-views and narratives, and consider the “memories” of the biological and psychological immune systems to redress future threats. In addition, Ι offer a set of propositions that include predictions about various aspects of immunity, and end by considering the roles of awareness and self-deception in the immunity process.
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I clarify issues surrounding the homeostatic model of identity protection. These issues include the dynamic interplay between psychological homeostasis and environmental control; the relevance of interoception and nature of self-threat; the value of a single psychological immune system (rather than multiple ones); and the model’s applicability and implications. Various other observations the commentators made enrich aspects of the model.
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The present research investigated how different dimensions of narcissism (i.e., assertive, antagonistic, and vulnerable) and content-specific forms of assertive narcissism (i.e., intellectual ability, physical attractiveness, social dominance) are related to overclaiming bias (i.e., the tendency to illegitimately claim knowledge). In the data from a large-scale online study (N = 1,658), the associations between overclaiming bias and any kind of narcissism were smaller than in many previous studies. Furthermore, assertive narcissism was more positively related to overclaiming bias than antagonistic and vulnerable narcissism were. Intellectual-ability-specific and social-dominance-specific assertive narcissism were more positively related to overclaiming bias than physical-attractiveness-specific assertive narcissism was. Finally, multiple regression analyses suggested that the narcissism-overclaiming link is most robust for social-dominance-specific assertive narcissism.
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The motive to enhance and protect positive views of the self manifests in a variety of cognitive and behavioral strategies but its universality versus cultural specificity is debated by scholars. We sought to inform this debate by soliciting self-reports of the four principal types of self-enhancement and self-protection strategy (positivity embracement, favorable construals, self-affirming reflections, defensiveness) from a Chinese sample and comparing their structure, levels, and correlates to a Western sample. The Chinese data fit the same factor structure, and were subject to the same individual differences in regulatory focus, self-esteem, and narcissism, as the Western data. Chinese participants reported lower levels of (enhancement-oriented) positivity embracement but higher levels of (protection-oriented) defensiveness than Western participants. Levels of favorable construals were also higher in the Chinese sample, with no differences in self-affirming reflections. These findings support and extend the universalist perspective on the self by demonstrating the cross-cultural structure, yet culturally sensitive manifestation, of self-enhancement motivation
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Self-enhancement is a pervasive motivation that manifests broadly to promote and protect the positivity of the self. Research suggests that self-enhancement is associated with improved task performance. Untested, however, is whether that association is causal. The present research experimentally manipulated self-enhancement to examine its causal effect on task performance. Participants in 5 experiments were randomly assigned to self-enhance or not before completing a creativity task (Experiments 1–4) or pain-inducing cold-pressor task (Experiment 5). Results indicate that self-enhancing (but not self-effacing) on a dimension relevant (but not irrelevant) to the task facilitated performance. Furthermore, the data were consistent with the possibility that the performance facilitating effect of self-enhancement was mediated through task-relevant self-efficacy.
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We addressed phenotypic and genetic research questions regarding nostalgia and self-enhancement. At the phenotypic level (178 university students; Study 1), we found that nostalgia was moderately associated with self-enhancement. At the genotypic level (232 twin pairs; Study 2), we found that nostalgia, self-enhancement, and their relation were largely heritable. Our findings shed light on two heavily investigated traits and open up exciting research directions.
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In this chapter, the authors note that social and personality psychologists address the issue of behavior in rather different ways. Social psychologists tend to exploit behavior as a concrete outcome reflecting the difference in psychological state induced by an experimental manipulation. In contrast, personality psychologists view behavior as only one indicator of psychological constructs. The authors note that the traditional complaint against self-report measures is their vulnerability to self-presentation effects. The general tendency for people to self-enhance raises concerns that self-reports are just as likely to reflect presentation motives as actual personalities. One solution is to index selfenhancement via behavioral measures. The authors compare the full range of options from self-report to concrete behavioral methods. They also discuss the over-claiming approach, which taps the tendency to claim knowledge of non-existent items. They conclude with the response-latency approach, which is purely behavioral in nature.
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QOL research appears to show that in nearly all countries which have been studied almost all sections of the community rate their subjective well-being (SWB) above the mid-point of scales. This paper suggests a partial explanation of this puzzling finding. It is that almost all human beings explicitly believe that their own performance in major life roles is well above average. We label this the human sense of relative superiority (SRS). In the 1985 Australian Quality of Life survey (N = 584) respondents rated their performance in seven major roles on a 7 point scale running from “way above average” to “way below average”. The percentages rating themselves above average ranged from 85.9% for main job to 49.8% for main spare time activity. Percentages rating below average ranged from 1% for main job to 11.5% for keeping fit and healthy. The median respondent rated himself/herself above average in five of seven roles. Differences between men and women, young and old, higher and lower status people, were slight. The later sections of the paper are concerned with the adaptive mechanisms by which large majorities manage to feel SRS. Differential weighting of sub-roles in assessment of overall role performance and use of restricted reference groups are suggested as two such mechanisms. The concluding section discusses the benefits and costs of SRS. Benefits include enhanced self-esteem and SWB. Costs include failure to perceive one’s own poor performance and hence to take corrective action.
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Many psychologists still regard correlations with social desirability (SD) scales as evidence of the invalidity of measures, despite 20 years of research showing that this interpretation is usually unjustified. Although items or scales may be characterized as high or low in SD, there is little evidence that individuals differentially respond to this property when completing self-report questionnaires under normal instructional conditions. In an attempt to separate substance from style in SD scales, self-reports from 215 adult men and women were compared to the external criterion of spouse ratings on a range of personality traits in the domains of neuroticism, extraversion, and openness to experience. When self-reports were 'corrected' using scores from the Eysenck Personality Inventory Lie scale and the Marlowe-Crowne SD scale, validity coefficients decreased, rather than increased, in most cases. Both scales were shown to be substantively related to neuroticism and, to a lesser degree, to extraversion and closedness. These results suggest that correlations with SD scales should be given substantive rather than artifactual interpretations and that the widespread practice of correcting scores for lying, defensiveness, or SD should be questioned.
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The Over-Claiming Questionnaire (OCQ) aims to provide a practical and cost-effective method of assessing individual differences in the tendency to misrepresent oneself in self-reports. OCQ bias measures have strong theoretical appeal but limited empirical demonstrations of validity. Using a sample of 704 adult community members, we found minimal support for the OCQ as an assessment of misrepresentation. We assessed misrepresentation by comparing self-reports of personality and cognitive ability against other criterion indicators of these trait levels (peer reports of personality and performance on a cognitive ability measure). OCQ bias measures bore no relationship with either of these self-criterion discrepancy measures, and were also unassociated with self-deceptive enhancement scores. One OCQ index bore a modest relationship to narcissism. OCQ bias measures were instead consistently and sometimes even highly related to measures of careless responding. However, statistically controlling for careless responding only minimally improved the convergent validity of OCQ bias indices.
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164 undergraduates rated the degree to which various traits represented desirable characteristics and the degree to which it was possible for a person to exert control over each of these characteristics. From these initial ratings, 154 trait adjectives for which 4 levels of desirability were crossed with 2 levels of controllability were selected. 88 undergraduates then rated the degree to which each of these traits characterized the self and the average college student. Results support the prediction that self-ratings in relation to average college student ratings would be increasingly positive as traits increased in desirability and that in conditions of high desirability, self-ratings in relation to average college student ratings would be greater for high- than for low-controllable traits, whereas in conditions of low desirability the opposite would occur. Results are discussed in terms of the adaptive advantages of maintaining a global self-concept that implies that positive characteristics are under personal control and that negative characteristics are caused by factors outside of personal control. Mean preratings of desirability and controllability are appended. (29 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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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 be necessary for hypocrisy (e.g., the intent to deceive, self-deception), factors that may or may not be distinguished from hypocrisy (e.g., weakness of will), and factors that may moderate hypocrisy (e.g., the degree of discrepancy between the attitude and behavior, whether the attitude is stated publicly, and the nature and severity of the behavioral consequences). Our findings indicate that lay conceptions of hypocrisy are often at odds with philosophical speculation. We argue that a complete understanding of the criteria for hypocrisy requires consideration of how ordinary people construe the concept. In contrast to some concepts (e.g., physical causation), for which lay conceptions, while interesting, are largely irrelevant, hypocrisy is an essential component of social judgment. One could argue, therefore, that folk wisdom is the ultimate arbiter of what hypocrisy entails. We note limitations of our methodology and suggest avenues for future research. Mark Alicke is Professor of Psychology at Ohio University. Ellen Gordon is a graduate student at Ohio University. David Rose is a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University.
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The fading affect bias (FAB) refers to the negative affect associated with autobiographical events fading faster than the positive affect associated with such events, a reliable and valid valence effect established by researchers in the USA. The present study examined the idea that the FAB is a ubiquitous emotion regulating phenomenon in autobiographical memory that is present in people from a variety of cultures. We tested for evidence of the FAB by sampling more than 2400 autobiographical event descriptions from 562 participants in 10 cultures around the world. Using variations on a common method, each sample evidenced a FAB: positive affect faded slower than negative affect did. Results suggest that in tandem with local norms and customs, the FAB may foster recovery from negative life events and promote the retention of the positive emotions, within and outside of the USA. We discuss these findings in the context of Keltner and Haidt's levels of analysis theory of emotion and culture.
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The multifaceted-self effect is the ascription of more traits to self than others. Consensus is that this effect occurs for positive, but not negative, traits. We propose that the effect also occurs for negative traits when they can be endorsed with low intensity ("I am a little bit lazy"), thereby circumventing self-protection concerns. In Experiment 1, the multifaceted-self effect occurred for positive, but not negative, traits on a high-intensity trait-endorsement measure. However, it occurred irrespective of trait valence on a low-intensity trait-endorsement measure. In Experiment 2, the multifaceted-self effect occurred for positive, but not negative, traits on a strong trait-endorsement measure. However, it occurred irrespective of trait valence on a diminuted trait-endorsement measure-a finding conceptually replicated in Experiment 3. In Experiment 4, participants spontaneously adopted diminutive terms ("a little bit") when describing their negative traits. Individuals reconcile negative self-knowledge with self-protection concerns by expressing it in muted terms.
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OVERVIEW Socially desirable responding (SDR) is typically defined as the tendency to give positive self-descriptions . Its status as a response style rests on the clarification of an underlying psychological construct. A brief history of such attempts is provided . Despite the growing consensus that there are two dimensions of SDR, their interpretation has varied over the years from minimalist operationalizations to elaborate construct validation . I argue for the necessity of demonstrating departure-from-reality in the self-reports of high SDR scorers : This criterion is critical for distinguishing SDR from related constructs. An appropriate methodology that operationalizes SDR directly in terms of self-criterion discrepancy is described. My recent work on this topic has evolved into a two-tiered taxonomy that crosses degree of awareness (conscious vs . unconscious) with content (agentic vs . communal qualities) . Sufficient research on SDR constructs has accumulated to propose a broad reconciliation and integration .
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People selectively forget feedback that threatens central self-conceptions, a phenomenon labeled mnemic neglect. Such forgetting serves to protect the self-system, but its rigid application may be associated with liabilities such as failing to learn about one's weaknesses. Two experiments tested the extent to which mnemic neglect is rigid or flexible. In Experiment 1, where self-improvement strivings were primed, mnemic neglect was absent: threatening and non-threatening feedback was recalled equally. In Experiment 2, participants received feedback either from a stranger or a close relationship. Participants recalled poorly threatening stranger feedback but recalled well threatening close-relationship feedback. Self-protection is flexible and strategic. Individuals recall well self-threatening feedback when they are concerned with self-improvement and when the feedback has ramifications for long-term relationships.
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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 others with the same faults, claimed that others have done worse things to them than they have to others, and indicated that others are more likely to repeat the same bad behaviors in the future than themselves. Observers who read actors’descriptions of their own misdeeds and those of others also saw the things that were done to actors as worse than the things actors had done.
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People overestimate themselves in domains that are central to their self-concept. Critically, the psychological status of this “self-centrality principle” remains unclear. One view regards the principle as an inextricable part of human nature and, thus, as universal and resistant to normative pressure. A contrasting view regards the principle as liable to pressure (and subsequent modification) from self-effacement norms, thus questioning its universality. Advocates of the latter view point to Christianity’s robust self-effacement norms, which they consider particularly effective in curbing self-enhancement, and ascribe Christianity an ego-quieting function. Three sets of studies examined the self-centrality principle among Christians. Studies 1A and 1B (N = 2,118) operationalized self-enhancement as better-than-average perceptions on the domains of commandments of faith (self-centrality: Christians ≫ nonbelievers) and commandments of communion (self-centrality: Christians > nonbelievers). Studies 2A–2H (N = 1,779) operationalized self-enhancement as knowledge overclaiming on the domains of Christianity (self-centrality: Christians ≫ nonbelievers), communion (self-centrality: Christians > nonbelievers), and agency (self-centrality: Christians ≈ nonbelievers). Studies 3A–3J (N = 1,956) operationalized self-enhancement as grandiose narcissism on the domains of communion (self-centrality: Christians > nonbelievers) and agency (self-centrality: Christians ≈ nonbelievers). The results converged across studies, yielding consistent evidence for Christian self-enhancement. Relative to nonbelievers, Christians self-enhanced strongly in domains central to the Christian self-concept. The results also generalized across countries with differing levels of religiosity. Christianity does not quiet the ego. The self-centrality principle is resistant to normative pressure, universal, and rooted in human nature.
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This research extends the better-than-average (BTA) effect commonly observed in judgments of abilities and personality traits to the domain of attitudes. Participants reported their attitudes toward 18 sociopolitical issues and estimated the attitudes of most other people toward these issues. Consistent with the research on pro-norm and anti-norm deviance, for issues high (vs. low) in the injunctive norm, participants perceived their attitudes to be more supportive (vs. deprecatory) than the attitudes of the majority. This effect was stronger for issues that participants judged to be personally important as well as when participants estimated others' attitudes before indicating their own attitudes.
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Are religious people psychologically better or worse adjusted than their nonreligious counterparts? Hundreds of studies have reported a positive relation between religiosity and psychological adjustment. Recently, however, a comparatively small number of cross-cultural studies has questioned this staple of religiosity research. The latter studies find that religious adjustment benefits are restricted to religious cultures. Gebauer, Sedikides, and Neberich (2012) suggested the religiosity as social value hypothesis (RASV) as one explanation for those cross-cultural differences. RASV states that, in religious cultures, religiosity possesses much social value, and, as such, religious people will feel particularly good about themselves. In secular cultures, however, religiosity possesses limited social value, and, as such, religious people will feel less good about themselves, if at all. Yet, previous evidence has been inconclusive regarding RASV and regarding cross-cultural differences in religious adjustment benefits more generally. To clarify matters, we conducted 3 replication studies. We examined the relation between religiosity and self-esteem (the most direct and appropriate adjustment indicator, according to RASV) in a self-report study across 65 countries (N = 2,195,301), an informant-report study across 36 countries (N = 560,264), and another self-report study across 1,932 urban areas from 243 federal states in 18 countries (N = 1,188,536). Moreover, we scrutinized our results against 7, previously untested, alternative explanations. Our results fully and firmly replicated and extended prior evidence for cross-cultural differences in religious adjustment benefits. These cross-cultural differences were best explained by RASV. (PsycINFO Database Record
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The mnemic neglect model predicts and accounts for selective memory for social feedback as a function of various feedback properties. At the heart of the model is the mnemic neglect effect (MNE), defined as inferior recall for self-threatening feedback compared to other kinds of feedback. The effect emerges both in mundane realism and minimal feedback settings. The effect is presumed to occur in the service of self-protection motivation. Mnemic neglect is pronounced when the feedback poses high levels of self-threat (i.e., can detect accurately one’s weakness), but is lost when self-threat is averted via a self-affirmation manipulation. Mnemic neglect is caused by self-threatening feedback being processed shallowly and in ways that separate it from stored (positive) self-knowledge. The emergence of mnemic neglect is qualified by situational moderators (extent to which one considers their self-conceptions modifiable, receives feedback from a close source, or is primed with improvement-related constructs) and individual differences moderators (anxiety, dysphoria, or defensive pessimism). Finally, the MNE is present in recall, but absent in recognition. Output interference cannot explain this disparity in results, but an inhibitory repression account (e.g., experiential avoidance) can: Repressors show enhanced mnemic neglect. The findings advance research on memory, motivation, and the self.
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Do self-enhancement/self-protection and self-esteem reflect fundamental human motivations or are they culturally bound occurrences? The debate on universalism versus cultural relativism of self-motives and self-esteem shows no sign of abatement. We advance the debate by proposing the extended self-enhancing tactician model. The model aspires to account for two seemingly contradictory phenomena: cross-cultural invariance (equivalence of self-motive strength and self-esteem desire across cultures) and cross-cultural variability (differential manifestations of self-motives and self-esteem across cultures). The model's four foundational tenets address cross-cultural invariance: (1) The individual self is panculturally valued, and it is so over the relational or collective self; (2) The self-enhancement/self-protection motives are equally potent in East and West; (3) The structure of self-enhancement and self-protection strivings is similar across the cultural divide; and (4) the desire for self-esteem is pancultural. The SCENT-R model's four key postulates address cross-cultural variability. First, Easterners assign relative importance to, and report higher, liking-based self-esteem, as well as consider collectivistic attributes important and self-enhance on them, whereas Westerners assign relative importance to, and report higher, competence-based self-esteem, as well as consider individualistic attributes important and self-enhance on them. Second, when constraints on candid self-enhancement are lifted, Easterners behave like Westerners: they report higher modesty and lower self-esteem than Westerners, but, controlling for modesty, differences in self-esteem disappear; they self-enhance in competitive, but self-efface in cooperative, settings; they profit from other-mediated than own-initiated self-enhancement. Third, implicit self-esteem is similarly high across cultures. Fourth, self-esteem and self-enhancement/self-protection confer parallel benefits in East–West, depending in part on domain relevance. Self-enhancement and self-protection, as well as self-esteem, reflect fundamental human motivation
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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 blaming others or situations for failures), the better-than-average effect (considering the self superior to the average peer), and selective self-memory (disproportionately poor recall for negative self-relevant information). Nonmotivational factors (e.g., expectations, egocentrism, focalism, individuated-entity versus aggregate comparisons) are not necessary for the emergence of these strivings. Instead, the strivings are (at least partially) driven by the selfenhancement and self-protection motives, as research on self-threat and self-affirmation has established. The two motives serve vital functions: They confer benefits to psychological health and psychological interests (e.g., goal pursuit).
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Four experiments supported the hypothesis that people see themselves as having rich, multifaceted, and adaptive personalities that result in the perceptions that they possess more traits than other people and are less predictable than other people. Experiment 1 showed that people perceived themselves as having more of opposing pairs of traits than they perceived others as having when they rated both self and an acquaintance on each trait in the pair separately, (e.g., serious and carefree). When the ratings were made on bipolar scales (e.g., serious vs. carefree), the self was rated as closer to the midpoint than was the acquaintance. Experiment 2 showed that the latter result reflects people's belief that they possess both traits in opposing pairs. Subjects in Experiment 2 also rated their behavior as less predictable than that of others. Experiment 3 replicated Experiment 2 and showed that people perceive that they have both members of pairs of opposing traits independent of the social desirability and observability of the traits. Experiment 4 indicated that familiar and liked persons are perceived to have more traits than unfamiliar and disliked persons.
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Three investigations are reported that examined the relation between self-appraisals and appraisals of others. In Experiment 1, subjects rated a series of valenced trait adjectives according to how well the traits described the self and others. Individuals displayed a pronounced “self-other bias,” such that positive attributes were rated as more descriptive of self than of others, whereas negative attributes were rated as less descriptive of self than of others. Furthermore, in contrast to C. R. Rogers's (1951) assertion that high self-esteem is associated with a comparable regard for others, the tendency for individuals to evaluate the self in more favorable terms than they evaluated people in general was particularly pronounced among those with high self-esteem. These findings were replicated and extended in Experiment 2, where it also was found that self-evaluations were more favorable than were evaluations of a friend and that individuals with high self-esteem were most likely to appraise their friend...
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The previously reported negative correlation between intrinsic religion and racial prejudice could be an artifact of social desirability. To test this proposition, 51 undergraduates interested in religion participated in a study. Racial prejudice was measured in two ways, in a standard questionnaire session and in a situation where responses had clear behavioral consequences. Consistent with previous research, intrinsic religion correlated negatively with the questionnaire measure of prejudice. But as expected, intrinsic religion also correlated positively with a measure of social desirability. When the effects of social desirability were controlled, the negative correlation between intrinsic religion and prejudice either diminished (psychometric control) or disappeared (behavioral control). Another orientation to religion, religion as quest, correlated negatively with racial prejudice even when social desirability was controlled.
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Man is a rational animal—so at least I have been told. Throughout a long life, I have looked diligently for evidence in favor of this statement, but so far I have not had the good fortune to come across it, though I have searched in many countries spread over three continents. On the contrary, I have seen the world plunging continually further into madness. I have seen great nations, formerly leaders of civilization, led astray by preachers of bombastic nonsense. I have seen cruelty, persecution, and superstition increasing by leaps and bounds, until we have almost reached the point where praise of rationality is held to mark a man as an old fogey regrettably surviving from a bygone age. All this is depressing, but gloom is a useless emotion. In order to escape from it, I have been driven to study the past with more attention than I had formerly given to it, and have found, as Erasmus found, that folly is perennial and yet the human race has survived. The follies of our own times are easier to bear when they are seen against the background of past follies. In what follows I shall mix the sillinesses of our day with those of former centuries. Perhaps the result may help in seeing our own times in perspective, and as not much worse than other ages that our ancestors lived through without ultimate disaster. Aristotle, so far as I know, was the first man to proclaim explicitly that man is a rational animal. His reason for this view was one which does not now seem very impressive; it was, that some people can do sums. He thought that there are three kinds of soul: the vegetable soul, possessed by all living things, both plants and animals, and concerned only with nourishment and growth; the animal soul, concerned with locomotion, and shared by man with the lower animals; and finally the rational soul, or intellect, which is the Divine mind, but in which men participate to a greater or less degree in proportion to their wisdom. It is in virtue of the intellect that man is a rational animal. The intellect is shown in various ways, but most emphatically by mastery of arithmetic. The Greek system of numerals was very bad, so that the multiplication table was quite difficult, and complicated calculations could only be made by very clever people. Nowadays, however, calculating machines do sums better than even the cleverest people, yet no one contends that these useful instruments are immortal, or work by divine inspiration. As arithmetic has grown easier, it has come to be less respected. The consequence is that, though many philosophers continue to tell us what fine fellows we are, it is no longer on account of our arithmetical skill that they praise us. Since the fashion of the age no longer allows us to point to calculating boys as evidence that man is rational and the soul, at least in part, immortal, let us look elsewhere. Where shall we look first? Shall we look among eminent statesmen, who have so triumphantly guided the world into its present condition? Or shall we choose the men of letters? Or the philosophers? All these have their claims, but 1 think we should begin with those whom all right thinking people acknowledge to be the wisest as well as the best of men, namely the clergy. If they fail to be rational, what hope is there for us lesser mortals? And alas—though I say it with all due respect—there have been times when their wisdom has not been very obvious, and, strange to say, these were especially the times when the power of the clergy was greatest.
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This research provides evidence for the generality of the Muhammad Ali effect (Allison, Messick, & Goethals, 1989), demonstrating that Dutch participants believe that the trait honesty is more descriptive of the self than of others, whereas the trait intelligence is believed to be equally descriptive of the self and others. Congruent with proposed explanations for the Muhammad Ali effect, participants regard honesty as more desirable, more controllable, and less verifiable than intelligence. Mediation analyses indicated that the Muhammad Ali effect is stronger among participants who view honesty as more desirable than intelligence. © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
The attribution of causation to favourable and unfavourable events has been implicated in both clinical disorders (e.g. depression) and achievement motivation (e.g. sports and commercial success). The aim of the present study was to examine the role of attributional style in a motivationally challenging occupation, namely financial services sales. The Seligman Attributional Style Questionnaire (SASQ) was administered to 130 experienced salespeople and found to correlate with: (a) sales (defined in monetary terms) and (b) performance ranking (within the sales force). In contrast to USA data, but confirming other results obtained in the UK, high positive attributional style (CoPos) was more important than low negative attributional style (CoNeg) in predicting successful sales performance.
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Self-enhancement denotes a class of psychological phenomena that involve taking a tendentiously positive view of oneself. We distinguish between four levels of self-enhancement-an observed effect, an ongoing process, a personality trait, and an underlying motive-and then use these distinctions to organize the wealth of relevant research. Furthermore, to render these distinctions intuitive, we draw an extended analogy between self-enhancement and the phenomenon of eating. Among the topics we address are (a) manifestations of self-enhancement, both obvious and subtle, and rival interpretations; (b) experimentally documented dynamics of affirming and threatening the ego; and (c) primacy of self-enhancement, considered alongside other intrapsychic phenomena, and across different cultures. Self-enhancement, like eating, is a fundamental part of human nature. © 2008 Association for Psychological Science.
Article
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 people lie above the mean. We addressed whether the BTAE is present even among people liable to be objectively below average on such characteristics. Prisoners compared their standing on pro-social characteristics - such as kindness, morality, law abidingness - with non-prisoners. Prisoners exhibited the BTAE on every characteristic except law abidingness, for which they viewed themselves as average. Given that prisoners are unlikely to be objectively above average on pro-social characteristics, the findings push for a motivational interpretation of the BTAE.
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The current research examines social psychologists' beliefs regarding the probability of self and others to engage in desirable and undesirable actions relevant to solving dilemmas of academic practice (e.g. openly discussing versus concealing complex effects in a paper). Consistent with hypotheses, results revealed that social psychologists believed that others are more likely than they themselves to engage in undesirable actions and less likely to engage in academically desirable actions. Moreover, the probability of undesirable actions by both self and others was perceived to be greater under conditions of low rather than high perceived traceability (i.e. when others within the field are believed not to verify the appropriateness of the actions). Interestingly, but unexpectedly, this latter result was observed among faculty members but not among individuals with less research experience (i.e. graduate students).
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Two studies show the importance of culturally determined modesty for measured self-enhancement level. The first study shows differences between three self-enhancement measures in their sensitivity to modesty: The measure of academic self-enhancement was found to be the most sensitive to modesty. The above average response was less sensitive, whereas the correlation between criteria for inclusion in a desired group and self-characteristics was found not to be sensitive to the modesty response (n = 346). The second study compared the level of self-enhancement among three cultural groups: Singaporeans (n = 166), Israeli Druze (n = 177), and Israeli Jews (n = 206). The magnitude of cross-cultural differences for the different measures corresponded to their sensitivity to the modesty response. The role of modesty in measured cross-cultural differences in self-enhancement is discussed.