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Is There a Universal Positivity Bias in Attributions? A Meta-Analytic Review of Individual, Developmental, and Cultural Differences in the Self-Serving Attributional Bias

Is There a Universal Positivity Bias in Attributions? A Meta-Analytic Review of Individual,... Researchers have suggested the presence of a self-serving attributional bias, with people making more internal, stable, and global attributions for positive events than for negative events. This study examined the magnitude, ubiquity, and adaptiveness of this bias. The authors conducted a meta-analysis of 266 studies, yielding 503 independent effect sizes. The average d was 0.96, indicating a large bias. The bias was present in nearly all samples. There were significant age differences, with children and older adults displaying the largest biases. Asian samples displayed significantly smaller biases (d = 0.30) than U.S. (d = 1.05) or Western (d = 0.70) samples. Psychopathology was associated with a significantly attenuated bias (d = 0.48) compared with samples without psychopathology (d = 1.28) and community samples (d = 1.08). The bias was smallest for samples with depression (0.21), anxiety (0.46), and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (0.55). Findings confirm that the self-serving attributional bias is pervasive in the general population but demonstrates significant variability across age, culture, and psychopathology. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Psychological Bulletin American Psychological Association

Is There a Universal Positivity Bias in Attributions? A Meta-Analytic Review of Individual, Developmental, and Cultural Differences in the Self-Serving Attributional Bias

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Publisher
American Psychological Association
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 American Psychological Association
ISSN
0033-2909
eISSN
1939-1455
DOI
10.1037/0033-2909.130.5.711
pmid
15367078
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Researchers have suggested the presence of a self-serving attributional bias, with people making more internal, stable, and global attributions for positive events than for negative events. This study examined the magnitude, ubiquity, and adaptiveness of this bias. The authors conducted a meta-analysis of 266 studies, yielding 503 independent effect sizes. The average d was 0.96, indicating a large bias. The bias was present in nearly all samples. There were significant age differences, with children and older adults displaying the largest biases. Asian samples displayed significantly smaller biases (d = 0.30) than U.S. (d = 1.05) or Western (d = 0.70) samples. Psychopathology was associated with a significantly attenuated bias (d = 0.48) compared with samples without psychopathology (d = 1.28) and community samples (d = 1.08). The bias was smallest for samples with depression (0.21), anxiety (0.46), and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (0.55). Findings confirm that the self-serving attributional bias is pervasive in the general population but demonstrates significant variability across age, culture, and psychopathology.

Journal

Psychological BulletinAmerican Psychological Association

Published: Sep 1, 2004

References