Self-Serving Bias: A Review of Research on Variability and Outcomes
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Self-serving bias is a cognitive process by which an individual distorts reality in order to protect their ego. This bias frequently manifests as a tendency to attribute success to the self and failure to external causes, and it is nearly ubiquitous in its prevalence. Although appearing to be important in the maintenance of self-esteem, deviations from “preferred” levels of self-serving bias may lead to negative outcomes. This review investigates the literature on a number of facets of self-serving bias. The variability of the bias in different populations is examined, including differences in expression based on age, gender, culture, emotion, and psychopathology. In addition, both positive and negative outcomes of self-serving bias are considered, as well as the environments in which self-serving bias plays a key role.