An Asymmetry in Self-Serving Impact Judgments Reflects Valence-Dependent Processing of Self-Relevant...
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An Asymmetry in Self-Serving Impact Judgments Reflects Valence-Dependent Processing of Self-Relevant Information. Neal Roese Simon Fraser University Ginger Pennington Northwestern University. Self-Serving Tendencies in Event Impact Judgments.

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An Asymmetry in Self-Serving Impact Judgments Reflects Valence-Dependent Processing of Self-Relevant Information

Neal Roese

Simon Fraser University

Ginger Pennington

Northwestern University


Self-Serving Tendencies in Valence-Dependent Processing of Self-Relevant Information

Event Impact Judgments

  • Negative events seen to influence others more than oneself: “Hurts others but not me.”

  • e.g., crime, weather, tight job market, etc.

  • Literatures: a) Person-group discrimination discrepancy; b) Third-person effect.


Outline Valence-Dependent Processing of Self-Relevant Information

  • Judgments of Event Impact

  • Motivated Self-Serving Patterns

  • The Valence Asymmetry

  • Internal vs. External

  • Valence-Dependent Trait Inference

  • Three Experiments

  • Conclusions


Motivated Event Impact Judgments Valence-Dependent Processing of Self-Relevant Information

  • Effect heightened by threat.

  • Effect attenuated by self-affirmation.

  • Effect moderated by trait SE.

  • (Pennington & Roese, unpublished)



Valence-Dependent Processing of Self-Relevant Information Tests

  • Negative: quick heuristic. “Bad = not me = doesn’t affect me.”

  • Positive: requires consideration of interplay between external forces and internal traits.

  • “Do sunsets affect me? Well, I’m artistic …”

  • Multifaceted opportunities to be self-serving; e.g., sensitivity vs. independence.


Study 1 (Fall 2000) Tests

  • Ratings of event impact: 7-pt scale.

  • Self vs. other is between-subjects.

  • Sensitivity items: sunsets, kittens, friends.

  • Independence items: counseling services, healthcare, social mixers.



Study 1 (Fall 2000) vs. Independence

  • Manipulation check worked for sensitivity but not independence.

  • More complicated pattern of self-serving judgment of positive than negative external events.


Valence-Dependent Processing vs. Independence

  • Does positive impact judgment differentially prompt access / consideration of self-relevant information from memory?

  • Use paired judgments: impact rating then trait ascription.

  • Does positive vs. negative impact judgment facilitate subsequent self inference?


Study 2 (July 2001) vs. Independence

  • Paired tasks: impact+trait self-ascription.

  • Target: “I am”: fill in blank.

  • Prime: Impact vs. Frequency (Control)

  • Valence: Pos vs. Neg

  • Total: 40 paired judgments.


Study 2 (July 2001), n=17 vs. Independence

Pos, t = 1.81, p = .05 (1-tail)

Neg, t = 0.08, p = .47 (1-tail)

RT

(ms)


Study 3 (Sept 2001) vs. Independence

  • Goal: replicate with improvements.

  • Reduced item set to 6 pos, 6 neg.

  • Total self trait ascriptions: 24

  • Prime judgment: 3-pt scale.


Study 3 (Sept 2001), n=20 vs. Independence

Pos, t = 1.26, p = .11 (1-tail)

Neg, t = 0.40, p = .35 (1-tail)

RT

(ms)


Conclusions vs. Independence

  • External impact judgments are unique.

  • New twist on explication of valence asymmetry in social judgment.


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