Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Scott T. Allison

Second Advisor

Dr. Jane M. Berry

Third Advisor

Dr. Ellie L. Francis


The egocentric bias, peoples' tendency to view themselves as better than others, has been found to exist in many different domains (Messick, Bloom, Boldizar, & Samuelson, 1985). Fejfar, Proudfoot, Allison, and Beggan (1994) uncovered evidence supporting two components to the bias: the motivation to be egocentric and the construction of strategies to fulfill this motivation. In the present research, this model was used to determine the biases inherent in depressive (as opposed to nondepressive) cognitions by having subjects list good and bad behaviors performed by themselves and others. Subjects directly or indirectly compared themselves to others (to test the motivation component) and listed behaviors under high or low cognitive load (to test the construction component). The egocentric bias and motivation effects were replicated. Possible explanations for the nonsignificant cognitive load and depression effects, as well as revisions in methodology for future research involving depression, are discussed.

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