Examples of Self-Serving Bias

PSY3010 Social Psychology

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2 Examples of Self-Serving Bias

Attitude, Belief, and Self-Serving Bias

Examples of Self-Serving Bias

Self-serving biases lead to self-serving attributions—taking responsibility for your actions when the outcome is what you want and attributing the results to other factors when the outcome is not what you want.

Example 1

Football fans have favorite football teams. For serious fans, watching a football match of their favorite team is more than just a form of entertainment.

In 2007, the Dallas Cowboys lost to the New York Giants in a division play-off game. The New York Giants won the next two games as well, and were declared Super Bowl champions. However, the big story at the time was the relationship between Jessica Simpson (singer and celebrity) and Tony Romo (the Dallas quarterback). Most of the Dallas Cowboys bans blamed Jessica Simpson for the Dallas Cowboys’ loss. They considered her a symbol of bad luck for Tony and declared she caused too much distraction. They did not recognize even once the proficiency of the New York Giants or that Dallas Cowboys might not have performed as well as they could have.

Example 2

Writing essays and short- and long-term papers is a common practice in most educational programs. There are specific styles of writing that are considered acceptable: for example, the American Psychological Association (APA) format and style. Most assignments have 10-20 percent of the total points assigned for following the APA format and style when writing assignments, leaving 80-90 percent of the total marks for the content alone. If a student scores 35 out of 50 on an assignment, the student may blame the APA format for the score and not the fact that the student missed answering many of the questions.

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