Egotism and attribution

J Pers Soc Psychol. 1976 Apr;33(4):435-41. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.33.4.435.


Egotism is defined as the tendency to make attributions that put oneself in the best possible light, for example, the attribution of good outcomes to one's skill rather than to luck. An experiment was designed to demonstrate egotism. To rule out alternative explanations, the experiment compared the attributions of actors and observers for both good and bad outcomes. Theoretical considerations suggested that egotism might be especially likely at the conclusion of competition. Hence, subjects competed, won, or lost and then made attributions for their own and their opponents' outcomes. Evidence for egotism was clear. In addition, subjects made predictions of their opponents' attributions, which often turned out to be fairly accurate.

MeSH terms

  • Competitive Behavior
  • Ego*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Self Concept*
  • Social Perception*