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A culpable control model is advanced to describe the conditions that encourage as well as mitigate blame and to assess the process by which blame and mitigation occur. The fundamental assumptions of the model are that evidence concerning harmful events is scrutinized for its contribution to personal control and spontaneously evaluated for its favorableness(More)
We define self-enhancement and self-protection as interests that individuals have in advancing one or more self-domains or defending against negative self-views. We review ways in which people pursue self-enhancement and self-protection, discuss the role of these motivational constructs in scientific explanations, argue for their importance in maintaining(More)
In 5 studies, the authors investigated the effects of comparison with an individual versus comparison with the statistical average on self-evaluations of performance and ability. In Studies 1 and 2, participants took a test of lie detection ability and were provided with the average score and the score of an individual coactor. Both types of feedback(More)
Many counterfactual reasoning studies assess how people ascribe blame for harmful actions. By itself, the knowledge that a harmful outcome could easily have been avoided does not predict blame. In three studies, the authors showed that an outcome's mutability influences blame and related judgments when it is coupled with a basis for negative evaluations.(More)
People have many ways of protecting themselves against unfavorable social comparisons. Sometimes, however, the unfavorableness of a comparison is too unambiguous to deny. In such circumstances, people may indirectly protect their self-images by exaggerating the ability of those who outperform them. Aggrandizing the outperformer is conceived to be a(More)
The tendency for people to evaluate themselves more favorably than an average-peer--the better-than-average effect (BTAE)--is among the most well-documented effects in the social-psychological literature. The BTAE has been demonstrated in many populations with various methodologies, and several explanations have been advanced for it. Two essential questions(More)
The local dominance effect is the tendency for comparisons with a few, discrete individuals to have a greater influence on self-assessments than comparisons with larger aggregates. This review presents a series of recent studies that demonstrate the local dominance effect. The authors offer two primary explanations for the effect and consider alternatives(More)
Mill's (1872/1973) method of difference prescribes that the lay scientist should use consensus information as a control condition for the person and distinctiveness information as a control condition for the stimulus when analyzing their causal effects on the occurrence of the target event. However, in studies of information acquisition, subjects have shown(More)