ERIC Number: ED369028
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993
Trait Ambiguity and Controllability in Evaluations of Self and Others.
Powell, Jack L.; Jacobson, Alan S.
Research has found that most people tend to rate themselves as above average on desirable skills or qualities and below average on undesirable qualities. Two factors have been found to influence this self-serving bias: (1) controllability or the perceived control one has over developing a trait; and (2) trait ambiguity in which a positive trait may be easily tailored to fit one's self-conception. In this study, 54 college students rated either themselves, a close friend, or an average college student on a list of 32 traits. Self-serving and group-serving biases were detected in the group. Subjects rated themselves and their friends higher than the average student on positive traits and lower on negative traits. Subjects did rate the average college student higher on positive traits than on negative traits overall, which may reflect a group-serving bias or a desire to appear fair. Nevertheless, the positive traits assigned to the average student possessed high ambiguity and low controllability so that the rater could continue to think that he or she was still better than the average student on those traits. (RJM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Convention of the American Psychological Association (101st, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, August 20-24, 1993).