ERIC Number: ED243045
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Self-Serving Biases: Private Perception or Public Distortion?
On performance tasks, individuals tend to attribute success to their own ability and effort while attributing failure to task difficulty and luck. To investigate the possiblity that the asymmetry in causal attributions for positive and negative outcomes occurs independent of any bias resulting from self-presentation concerns, 80 female college students matched word associations under two experimental conditions: public/private and success/failure. In the public condition, subjects placed their names on test forms and had their scored forms returned by name. In the private condition, subjects used a number for identification and placed their tests in an envelope and box; scored forms were returned to the box and subjects individually removed their own forms. Subjects were randomly assigned to a task outcome condition, either success or failure. After distribution of the graded forms, subjects rated their perceptions of anonymity, success, and attributions of causality on a 7-point scale. An analysis of the results showed that asymmetrical causal attributions for success (internal) and failure (external) existed only when there was public knowledge of participants' performance. Subjects in this situation did not perceive success as internally caused and failure as externally determined, but presented a distorted view of causality in order to manage positive impressions to a significant audience. (BL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Self Presentations
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western Psychological Association (63rd, San Francisco, CA, April 16-20, 1983).