PSYC333 Lecture 5 - Jan. 24
•Most people have illusions about the self:
•Positively biased self evaluations
•Illusions of control
•More than what’s actually within their control
•Overconfident and often underestimate reality
•Such illusions are adaptive and associated with more positive outcomes (adjust-
ment to college, more effective coping, onset of symptoms and course of AIDS)
The Better than Average Effect
Feeling “Holier Than Thou”: (Epley & Dunning, 2000)
•False uniqueness about desirable qualities
•Cooperative, considerate, fair, kind, loyal, sincere
•Also true of specific behaviours (likelihood of rebelling in Milgram obedience
•People chronically feel “holier than thou”
•Is this because they:
•Harbor overly cynical views of their peers
•Or overly charitable views of themselves (and accurate views of their peers)?
•False uniqueness about desirable qualities:
•People consistently overestimated the likelihood that they would chose the
kinder course of action by an average of 32% (but only by 4% for others)
•People have a lifetime of information about themselves to draw upon, so why do
they have more difficulty predicting their own behaviour?
•What kind of information do people consider when making these judgments?
•Case based information
•Information relevant to the specific case or the person relevant to the specif-
•Would those individuals participate
•Base rate information
•Reference distribution of people’s behaviour in general in similar situations
or in situations of the past
•Although people are pretty accurate in perceiving, learning and reporting distribu-
tional information, they prefer to use case-based information when making predic-
•People prefer to use case-based information when making predictions
•“Internal approach to prediction”
•When making predictions about the self in relation to others, people must:
•Evaluate their own traits, dispositions and likely behaviour
•AND evaluate others’ traits, dispositions and likely behaviour
•4 studies: People overestimate the likelihood that they would choose the kinder
course of action by an average of 32% (but only by 4% for others)
•Strange finding: People have a lifetime of information about themselves to draw
upon, so why do they have more difficulty predicting their own behaviour?
•Conducted at Cornell university
•Asked students to purchase daffodil, proceeds go to Cancer Society
•5 weeks before event:
•“Will you buy at least one daffodil and, is so, how many?”
•Will your peers buy? What is the chance and how many will they buy?
•3 days after event:
•“Did you buy any daffodil? How many?
•Ps overestimate the extent to
•Self-serving attributions errors are more in self view than the predictive behaviours