A self-serving bias is any cognitive or perceptual process that is distorted by the need to maintain and enhance self-esteem. When individuals reject the validity of negative feedback, focus on their strengths and achievements but overlook their faults and failures, or take more responsibility for their group’s work than they give to other members, they are protecting the ego from threat and injury. These cognitive and perceptual tendencies perpetuate illusions and error, but they also serve the self ’s need for esteem.
Copyright © 2008 Macmillan Reference USA. This book chapter first appeared in International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences.
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Forsyth, Donelson R. "Self-Serving Bias." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. Edited by William A. Darity. 2nd ed. Vol. 7. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2008.