Bias du Jour #6

by F.

When asked separately, husbands and wives both overestimated their contribution to the housework, students overestimated their contribution to classroom discussions, and basketball players overestimated their contribution to important turning points in games. This is

The Egocentric Bias: When engaging in activities with others, people tend to overestimate their contribution to the joint activity.

Part of the explanation may be due to availability: information about our own contributions are available to us (after all, we did it), while information about others’ contributions may not be (for instance, our spouse did the housework when we weren’t around).

Cite: Ross, M. & Sicoly, F. (1979). Egocentric biases in availability and attribution. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 37, 322-336; Kunda, Z. (1999). Social Cognition 93-94.

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