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Behind bars but above the bar: prisoners consider themselves more prosocial than non-prisoners

Behind bars but above the bar: prisoners consider themselves more prosocial than non-prisoners
Behind bars but above the bar: prisoners consider themselves more prosocial than non-prisoners
That people evaluate themselves more favourably than their average peer on desirable characteristics – the better-than-average effect (BTAE) – is one of the most frequently cited instances of motivated self-enhancement. It has been argued, however, that the BTAE can be rational when the distribution of characteristics is skewed such that most people lie above the mean. We addressed whether the BTAE is present even among people liable to be objectively below average on such characteristics. Prisoners compared their standing on pro-social characteristics – such as kindness, morality, law abidingness – with non-prisoners. Prisoners exhibited the BTAE on every characteristic except law abidingness, for which they viewed themselves as average. Given that prisoners are unlikely to be objectively above average on pro-social characteristics, the findings push for a motivational interpretation of the BTAE
better-than-average effect, self-enhancement, superiority judgements, prisoners, incarceration
0144-6665
396-403
Sedikides, Constantine
9d45e66d-75bb-44de-87d7-21fd553812c2
Meek, Rosie
018e0d68-7b66-483c-b769-1d4583cb4d85
Alicke, M.D.
e28ed309-ee40-4400-af66-17bcf2bc9439
Taylor, S.
6d790cd2-c00b-4666-91f6-5d1d9a0fa974
Sedikides, Constantine
9d45e66d-75bb-44de-87d7-21fd553812c2
Meek, Rosie
018e0d68-7b66-483c-b769-1d4583cb4d85
Alicke, M.D.
e28ed309-ee40-4400-af66-17bcf2bc9439
Taylor, S.
6d790cd2-c00b-4666-91f6-5d1d9a0fa974

Sedikides, Constantine, Meek, Rosie, Alicke, M.D. and Taylor, S. (2014) Behind bars but above the bar: prisoners consider themselves more prosocial than non-prisoners British Journal of Social Psychology, 53, (2), pp. 396-403.

Record type: Article

Abstract

That people evaluate themselves more favourably than their average peer on desirable characteristics – the better-than-average effect (BTAE) – is one of the most frequently cited instances of motivated self-enhancement. It has been argued, however, that the BTAE can be rational when the distribution of characteristics is skewed such that most people lie above the mean. We addressed whether the BTAE is present even among people liable to be objectively below average on such characteristics. Prisoners compared their standing on pro-social characteristics – such as kindness, morality, law abidingness – with non-prisoners. Prisoners exhibited the BTAE on every characteristic except law abidingness, for which they viewed themselves as average. Given that prisoners are unlikely to be objectively above average on pro-social characteristics, the findings push for a motivational interpretation of the BTAE

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 23 December 2013
Published date: June 2014
Keywords: better-than-average effect, self-enhancement, superiority judgements, prisoners, incarceration

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 365954
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/365954
ISSN: 0144-6665
PURE UUID: 75aa9d7b-448f-4dbb-9c33-3eb5e9d23f43

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 24 Jun 2014 09:34
Last modified: 30 Aug 2017 16:13

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Contributors

Author: Rosie Meek
Author: M.D. Alicke
Author: S. Taylor

University divisions

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