Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




The present study examined the psychological processes underlying the self-serving bjas, the tendency to portray one's own qualities as more favorable then those of others. Subjects were asked to predict future success on a behavioral task for themselves and for the average student at their university after receiving performance feedback on the same task. It was proposed that self-enhancing predictions would be moderated by subject's self-esteem (high or low), the verifiability of task performance (high or low), and performance feedback (success or failure). The results revealed that subjects with high self-esteem displayed a self-serving bias regardless of performance verifiability or feedback. Subjects with low self-esteem, however, self-enhanced only for tasks low in verifiabBity and showed a slight self-enhancing trend when receiving success feedback. The results are discussed in terms of depressive realism, verifiability theory, and self-consistency theory. Implications for teaching positive cognitive strategies to low self-esteem individuals are discussed.

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Psychology Commons