Title

Economic Inequality is Linked to Baised Self-perception

Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

10-2011

Abstract

People’s self-perception biases often lead them to see themselves as better than the average person (a phenomenon known as self-enhancement). This bias varies across cultures, and variations are typically explained using cultural variables, such as individualism versus collectivism. We propose that socioeconomic differences among societies—specifically, relative levels of economic inequality—play an important but unrecognized role in how people evaluate themselves. Evidence for self-enhancement was found in 15 diverse nations, but the magnitude of the bias varied. Greater self-enhancement was found in societies with more income inequality, and income inequality predicted cross-cultural differences in self-enhancement better than did individualism/collectivism. These results indicate that macrosocial differences in the distribution of economic goods are linked to microsocial processes of perceiving the self.

Keywords

self-perception, self-enhancement, income inequality, culture, self-esteem, sociocultural factors, socioeconomic status

Discipline

Personality and Social Contexts | Social Psychology

Research Areas

Psychology

Publication

Psychological Science

Volume

23

Issue

10

First Page

1254

Last Page

1258

ISSN

0956-7976

Identifier

10.1177/0956797611417003

Publisher

SAGE

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797611417003

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