Nature of Self control: Jan 23
Mechanisms of Selfenhancement and Defense
• The better then average effect ( we posses more then the average person which makes us
– Has been exhibited with research having participants compare themselves to others on
certain traits ( as the trait became desirable, people said they have more of this
desirable trait then others. Link being kind or anything that is valued by culture)
– This belief persists when we are exposed to contradictory information (like if told
most people don’t have it ▯ but we still think we have more just to make us feel more
special in an individualistic society only if this is a desirable trait though) Data also
show that in high importance, we distance yourself more from the group.
• Implicit Egotism
– A nonconscious form of selfenhancement. An unconscious and subtle expression of
– People value the letters in their own names more favorably relative to other letters of
the alphabet (since it is part of our identity). This is also exhibited by birthday
numbers we hurt if people forget our identity or our birthdate)
– There’s a positive association with our names and positive stimuli, which in turn
makes us, feel good (like seeing your name in a movie). (Thus name preference is
because it is our identity and makes us feel good)
– For example there are more Mike’s and Michele’s in Michigan and Kenneth's in
Kentucky than would expected by chance alone. (not born their but just moved their.
There is a sudden positive association with K and K)
– Can also be reflected in career options. (More denise in dentist etc)
• Self serving beliefs and selfserving cognitions
– 1000 individuals asked to rate their chances and certain celebrities of going to
Heaven… (Mother Teresa, opera, Diana and Jordan. What they said about getting into
heaven for themselves was 87% of people said his is even more then mother Teresa).
This makes you feel good, decrease anxiety.
– In SAT people tend to inflat their scores. Also if the scores are really bad, the inflation
goes up a lot. Many said it is not reflection of our ability ( the reason is that if we think
we are really dum ▯ will make us feel bad and we don’t want that)
• Selfserving attributions: The fact that people take credit for their success ( I did well
because I am smart) but then distance themselves from the failure ( exam was bad mark , we
blame other like because of the exam itself, poorly written etc. as it protects our self esteem)
– We tend to be overly optimistic about our future (overly confident that our future will be
better then average individual. We overestimate experiencing good thing vs. underestimate
that something bad will happen. We are overoptimistic about our future)
• Participants read a list of 18 positive and 24 negative life events.
• This optimism appears to be based on illusions (my marriage is not gonna end in
divorce. The coolers effect: people decrease in desire overtime in marriage)
• SelfHandicapping: Behavior designed to sabotage one’s own performance in order to
provide a subsequent excuse for failure ( you engage in a behavior like hey I haven’t studied
for the exam ▯you end up actually doing bad ▯ you don’t feel as bad andstecreases anxiety)
– Think of selfhandicapping as being “ win win” for self esteem ( 1 win: if we do succeed
under these condition, this even makes us feel better this will increase our self esteem even
more. 2 : as mentioned, if you do bad, you have an excuse)
• SelfHandicapping Research: Berglas and Jones study (1978)…
–IV: Easy analogies vs. hard analogies. Then were given false feedbad in that All
participants were told they did well, and were going to take a similar test again soon.
( thus those doing hard exam in future were increased in anxiety) Nature of Self control: Jan 23
–DV: Which drug they choose before the 2 experiment ( two drugs: Activil which is
for increase performance. Pandocrin: impeded your performance before you do the test).
–Results: the hard analogy condition took the pandocrine (is a form of handicapping if
they don’t do well they can blame it on the exam)
• Basking in reflective glory (BIRG): to increase our selfesteem by associating with others
who are successful (we want to belong to other who are bigger then other.)
– Research: there was a research done to show the number of people that win a particular shirt.
If the team of the school won, people won more of those shirts in their university. We feel
good when our team wins. We derive our selfesteem from being part of the group. Things
like Olympics are also an example of this (nationalism/child being proud of their children’s).
Overall, to increase selfesteem by associating other.
– CORF or cut off reflected failure : (we won as we associate yourself with other vs they lost.
You don’t associate yourself with them thus to hold you selfesteem)
– Research: Participants completed a problemsolving task in groups and received feedback
regarding their performance.
–IV: Performed well vs. poorly vs. no feedback
–DV: they were interested in whether or not took a team badge home.
–Results: those that were told that they performed well will take the badge home as they are
proud (68%). In the no feedback condition, 50% ( equal rate as chance only). Those that
we told that did not do well only 9% took the bag (the CORF effect)
• The Selfevaluation maintenance model: Assumes that people want to