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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)
Social comparisons entail not only information about one's standing in a social group (intragroup or local comparison) but also information about the standing of the group in comparison to other groups (intergroup or general comparison). In Studies 1-3, the authors explored the relative impact of intergroup and intragroup comparisons on self-evaluations and(More)
Zell and Alicke (2009) have shown that comparisons with a few people have a stronger influence on self-evaluations than comparisons with larger samples. One explanation for this effect is that people readily categorize their standing in small groups as "good" or "bad," which supersedes large-sample data. To test this explanation, we created a situation in(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)
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)
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)