Self-Esteem and Self-Serving Biases in Reactions to Positive and Negative Events: An Integrative Review

  • Bruce Blaine
  • Jennifer Crocker

Abstract

The self-serving bias refers to the tendency of people to interpret and explain outcomes in ways that have favorable implications for the self. The term bias often implies distorted or inaccurate perception that can be shown to be erroneous according to some objective standard. But according to the Random House College Dictionary (1975), a bias is also “a tendency or inclination of outlook; a subjective point of view” (p. 131). Similarly, the Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary (1976) defines a bias as “an inclination of temperament or outlook; esp. a highly personal and unreasoned distortion of judgment” (p. 106). In this chapter, we regard self-serving biases as judgments or interpretations of oneself, one’s behavior, and the behavior of others in ways that are favorable to the self, without requiring that such judgments be accurate according to some objective standard. We also begin with no assumptions that biases necessarily reflect motivated distortions in reasoning, rather than normal cognitive processes.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce Blaine
    • 1
  • Jennifer Crocker
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyState University of New York at BuffaloAmherstUSA

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