Number 16 (2011)

Górecka, A., Szuster, A. (2011). On the spurious inevitability of self-evaluation while facing moral dilemmas: the role of the accessibility of other-focused standards and cognitive overload

32 views 7 lutego, 2011 admin_r 0

Anna Górecka,
Anna Szuster
Wydział Psychologii, Uniwersytet Warszawski

Abstract:
The study investigated effects of dispositional (accessibility of other-focused standards) and situational (cognitive overload) factors on the third person effect. The effect consists in attributing less desirable attitudes to others compared to oneself. The effect was measured in the context of moral dilemmas. We expected that lower accessibility of other-focused standards and a cognitive overload will intensify the third person effect. The interactive effect of both factors was also tested. Participants (N=86 ) were students of Warsaw universities. The results showed that situational factors which lead to cognitive overload increased the third person effect and thus helped maintain positive self-evaluation. It was also shown that higher accessibility of other-focused standards reduced the intensity of the self-esteem maintenance mechanisms. The interactive effect of dispositional and situational factors was also obtained: cognitive overload increased intensity of the third person effect only in subjects with high accessibility of other-focused standards but not in those with low accessibility. The latter finding may suggest that people with higher accessibility of other-focused standards habitually tend to employ more sophisticated criteria of evaluation.

Keywords: accessibility of other-focused standards, the third person effect, self-evaluation, moral dilemmas, cognitive overload

Cite this article as:

Górecka, A., Szuster, A. (2011). On the spurious inevitability of self-evaluation while facing moral dilemmas: the role of the accessibility of other-focused standards and cognitive overload. Psychologia Społeczna, 16, 34–48.
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