The Egocentric Impact Bias: The Self’s Actions Are Believed to Produce Especially Strong Affective Responses
17 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2018
Date Written: September 25, 2018
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
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