Title

Economic inequality is linked to biased self-perception

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Psychological Science

Publication Date

10-1-2011

Volume

22

Issue

10

First Page

1254

Last Page

1258

Keywords

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

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.

DOI

10.1177/0956797611417003

Print ISSN

09567976

E-ISSN

14679280

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2011 Sage Publications Ltd

Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Recommended Citation

Loughnan, S., Kuppens, P., Allik, J., Balazs, K., De Lemus, S., Dumont, K,…Haslam, N. (2011). Economic inequality is linked to biased self-perception. Psychological Science, 22(10), 1254-1258. doi: 10.1177/0956797611417003