The Egocentric Impact Bias: The Self’s Actions Are Believed to Produce Especially Strong Affective Responses

17 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2018

See all articles by Fausto Gonzalez

Fausto Gonzalez

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business

Minah Jung

New York University (NYU) - Department of Marketing

Clayton Critcher

University of California, Berkeley - Marketing Group

Date Written: September 25, 2018

Abstract

We document and investigate the egocentric impact bias — the perception that the social effects of the self’s actions will be affectively stronger than if those same effects were brought about by others. In Study 1, participants thought pleasant or aversive videos would elicit stronger reactions when participants themselves (instead of the random determination of a computer) selected the video for others. In Study 2, participants who considered how to divide (vs. how a computer would randomly split) $10 with another thought the other would react particularly positively or negatively to the self’s particularly generous or stingy allocations, respectively. The two studies found support for one of two possible mechanistic accounts. When the self was responsible for the selection, it experienced the stimuli as more affectively intense, thus explaining the bias. It was not the case that all intentional agents (e.g., another participant) were assumed to have more affective impact.

Keywords: social cognition, affective forecasting, egocentrism, emotional distancing, projection

Suggested Citation

Gonzalez, Fausto and Jung, Minah and Critcher, Clayton, The Egocentric Impact Bias: The Self’s Actions Are Believed to Produce Especially Strong Affective Responses (September 25, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3255254 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3255254

Fausto Gonzalez (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business ( email )

40 West 4th Street
New York, NY NY 10012
United States

Minah Jung

New York University (NYU) - Department of Marketing ( email )

Henry Kaufman Ctr
44 W 4 St.
New York, NY
United States

Clayton Critcher

University of California, Berkeley - Marketing Group ( email )

Haas School of Business
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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