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Reading: Self-Other Biases in Judgments of Ambiguous Performance and Corresponding Ability

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Research Article

Self-Other Biases in Judgments of Ambiguous Performance and Corresponding Ability

Authors:

William M. P. Klein ,

Department of Psychology, 3105 Sennott Square, 210 South Bouquet Street, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, US
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Justin T. Buckingham

Department of Psychology, Towson University, 8000 York Road, Towson, MD 21252-0001, US
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Abstract

People often are faced with ambiguous information about how they and others have performed in a domain. This ambiguity may stem from the need to collapse multiple pieces of performance information together into an overall evaluation, or perhaps from not having any available performance information. At other times, performance is easy to objectify, yet the inferences one can make from performance to native ability are themselves ambiguous. The presence of ambiguous performance information about self and others is likely to instigate two competing motives - a desire to see oneself in a positive light, and a goal of making rational and defensible judgments, in this paper, we review research on how people balance these two motives when faced with ambiguous performance information We summarize evidence showing that distortions of ambiguous performance are more likely to occur in ratings of one’s own performance than in ratings of others’ performance, and that people willingly acknowledge poor comparative performance yet downplay the extent to which such performance unambiguously represents actual ability. These tendencies may be moderated by the identity of the social comparison target, individual differences, and the timing of feedback. Finally, we consider the functional implications of asymmetries in judgments of ambiguous performance.

How to Cite: Klein, W.M.P. and Buckingham, J.T., 2002. Self-Other Biases in Judgments of Ambiguous Performance and Corresponding Ability. Psychologica Belgica, 42(1-2), pp.43–64. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/pb.985
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Published on 01 Jan 2002.
Peer Reviewed

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