Hepper, Erica G. and Sedikides, Constantine
Sutton, R.., Hornsey, M. and Douglas, K. (eds.)
Feedback: The Handbook of Praise, Criticism, and Advice.
Peter Lang Publishing Group.
Microsoft Word (Pre-peer reviewed version of in-press chapter (awaiting final editorial changes))
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The social world is rife with opportunities for feedback. People are surrounded with evaluative information from the moment they awake, through a day that may include any number of social interactions and displays of mastery (or lack of), to the moment they hit the pillow to sleep (Sutton, Hornsey, & Douglas, this volume). However, despite this wealth of available personal data, most healthy adults do not possess commendably accurate or objective views of themselves (Dunning, 2005). Moreover, this inaccuracy is not random: it is systematically biased in a self-flattering manner. Put another way, people usually see themselves through rose-colored glasses (Alicke & Sedikides, 2009; Taylor & Brown, 1988). At least three key questions are raised by this observation. First, why do people possess a positivity bias? Second, how do they maintain this bias despite the seemingly contradictory feedback available to them? And third, why does it matter: what consequences does this bias have for psychological and behavioral functioning? In this chapter, we will address all three questions, but will dedicate most of our attention to the second one. In so doing, we hope to illustrate the inventive ways that people use (and sometimes abuse) feedback for the sake of self-positivity
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