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, 144 (5), 1003-20

Self-enhancement Diminished


Self-enhancement Diminished

Patrick R Heck et al. J Exp Psychol Gen.


Self-enhancement is a positive bias in self-perception, which may imply error. However, conventional measures of self-enhancement are difference scores that do not distinguish a positive bias from a self-enhancement error, that is, they fail to identify those individuals who hold an irrationally or inaccurately positive view of themselves. We propose 2 new measures to separate error from bias. In the domain of personality judgment, we estimate a defensible bias and an enhancement error from individuals' actual and perceived similarity with others. In the domain of performance, we adapt a decision-theoretic framework to distinguish those who falsely believe to be better than average from those who actually are better. We illustrate the properties of these measures in 3 empirical studies and computer simulations. Implausibly high majorities of people consider themselves to be above average on various dimensions.

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