The Rational Side of Egocentrism in Social Comparisons

42 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2006

See all articles by Justin Kruger

Justin Kruger

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; New York University (NYU); New York University (NYU) - Department of Marketing

Paul D. Windschitl

University of Iowa

John R. Chambers

St. Louis University

Jeremy Burrus

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Psychology

Florian Fessel

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Psychology

Date Written: September 1, 2006

Abstract

Prior work has found that when people compare themselves with others they egocentrically focus on their own strengths and contributions and pay less attention to strengths and contributions of the comparison group. As a consequence, individuals tend to overestimate their comparative standing when absolute standing is high and underestimate their comparative standing when absolute standing is low. The present research investigated a rational interpretation of this bias — namely, that people are egocentrically focused because they have more knowledge about themselves than about others. Support for this hypothesis was found in three studies, one concerning comparative judgments of responsibility and two others concerning confidence in competitions. These results suggest that there is a rational side to egocentrism in social comparisons.

Keywords: Social Comparison, Egocentrism, Judgment and Decision Making, Self-Assessment, Heuristics and Biases, Self-Enhancement, Unrealistic Optimism, Above-Average Effect, Overconfidence

Suggested Citation

Kruger, Justin and Windschitl, Paul D. and Chambers, John R. and Burrus, Jeremy and Fessel, Florian, The Rational Side of Egocentrism in Social Comparisons (September 1, 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=946232 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.946232

Justin Kruger (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

601 E John St
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New York University (NYU) ( email )

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

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Paul D. Windschitl

University of Iowa ( email )

341 Schaeffer Hall
Iowa City, IA 52242-1097
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John R. Chambers

St. Louis University ( email )

3511 LaClede Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63103
United States

Jeremy Burrus

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Psychology ( email )

601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

Florian Fessel

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Psychology ( email )

603 East Daniel
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

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