Emotion and the Self-Serving Bias

Abstract

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.

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Correspondence to Martin D. Coleman.

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Coleman, M.D. Emotion and the Self-Serving Bias. Curr Psychol 30, 345–354 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-011-9121-2

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Keywords

  • Self-serving bias
  • Judgment
  • Emotion
  • Attribution