Current Psychology

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 345–354 | Cite as

Emotion and the Self-Serving Bias

  • Martin D. ColemanEmail author


The influence of specific emotions (guilt and revulsion) on the self-serving bias was investigated. Participants were recruited from an undergraduate population. There were 360 participants (132 male) with a mean age of 19.41 years. Participants took part in an online study, which involved taking a ten-question test, completing an emotional induction, receiving test feedback, and making an attribution for test performance. Results revealed a significant effect of feedback (p < 0.001) indicating the self-serving bias. Results also revealed a significant effect of emotion over this self-serving bias. Both guilty and revolted participants made less self-enhancing attributions for success (p = 0.04), and less self-protecting attributions for failure (p = 0.006). The hypothesis that the valence of specific emotions influences the self-serving bias was supported. No support was found for the hypothesis that the appraisal dimensions of specific emotions influence the self-serving bias. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.


Self-serving bias Judgment Emotion Attribution 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentNorth Dakota State UniversityFargoUSA

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